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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.

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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: