Alternatives to smoking bees

Hi I have been beekeeping for a few months now and am wondering whether there are any alternatives to smoking the bees which have similar effects but kinder on the bees.
Thank you,

I’m curious too - not so much because I am worried about the effect on the bees but because I don’t like the smell on my clothes…

very true it’s so annoying.

Frederick Dunn’s latest Q&A video on You tube mentioned he is now using 1:1 sugar syrup sprayed on the bees instead of smoke, I’m intrigued but haven’t had the nerve to try it yet. I did an inspection today and got smoke in my eyes more than I would like. Maybe next time I check just the super I’ll try to see what kind of reaction I get without disturbing the entire colony for a general inspection.

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@quilterbk I tried sugar water today based off Fredrick Dunn and John from Baddest Bees You Tube channel. Here is a video of my hive inspection which was done this morning without smoke.

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Hiya Dylan, looks like your colony is progressing nicely and once they’ve drawn all the frames and it has a population of 60-80000 I’m guessing you’ll be back on the smoke though. :sunglasses:
Are you feeding?

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@skeggley yes I’m feeding our girls. I’m feeding them heavy sugar water so they can draw comb.

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Hi there Hugo Thompson One Two Three.

I live in bushland. From spring onwards, the land around me is a bushfire risk area. One of the first things I enquired about when I started keeping bees was an alternative to lighting a smoker, and consequently my neighbourhood. I tried the sugar spray, in various concentrations and I can assure it does not work anywhere as good as smoke.

I haven’t seen Fredrick Dunn’s video and I am at this stage convinced that nothing works as good as smoke. Putting it another way, smoke works something like 5 times as good as sugar spray in my limited experience.

When my hive was angry, what I used to do was to cover the frames I’m not working on with some boards so they won’t be disturbed as much. It’s a bit fiddly but helps a bit, though I do not really bother with that anymore. I just try to be quick.


May I suggest the equally-effective and less fiddly @Dawn_SD recommendation: tea towels. Tea towels can drape gently over the whole exposed box and folded back as you go, and they can’t hurt the bees.


Probably best to avoid the ones made from terry towelling or you’ll be plucking bees out :crazy_face:

Right Stevo, because those are also not tea towels :wink: