Is liquid smoke useful or dangerous for calming honey bees?


Many beekeepers forego a bee smoker in favor of liquid smoke. However what’s liquid smoke and is it protected to spray on a colony of honey bees?

Inside: In some circumstances, liquid smoke diluted with water works nicely as an alternative to a conventional smoker. Study the nice and not-so-good attributes of smoke in a bottle.

What’s liquid smoke?

Liquid smoke is a product made by burning wooden chips and capturing the smoke. The producers run the smoke tough a condenser that separates the burned wooden particles from the encircling air. Because the smokey air cools contained in the condenser, the smoke particles adhere to water droplets. The gear collects the droplets and sheds the nice and cozy air to the outside, very similar to an air conditioner.

Historically, liquid smoke is used to make marinades, barbecue sauce, cheese, bacon, baked beans, roasted nuts, and anything that advantages from a smokey essence. Completely different flavors outcome from burning completely different species of wooden, reminiscent of hickory, mesquite, applewood, and pecan. You’ll find liquid smoke within the grocery retailer, shelved alongside ketchup and barbecue sauce.

The liquid smoke offered in grocery shops may include different components, together with molasses, vinegar, and caramel coloration. Though some bee provide shops promote their very own model of liquid smoke, all of the beekeepers I do know use the grocery retailer manufacturers. A beekeeper-prepared batch of smoke goes a great distance and might preserve for months.

How does liquid smoke management honey bees?

Beekeepers add concentrated liquid smoke to a twig bottle of water. When this spray replaces precise smoke, it has a relaxing impact on bees much like the true factor. Uncovered to the odor, honey bees go into survival mode, stuffing themselves with honey to arrange for powerful instances forward.

How a lot liquid smoke so as to add to the water is as much as you, however many beekeepers suggest beginning with two tablespoons (one ounce) for each 16 ounces of water. As a result of manufacturers of smoke, sprayers, and beekeepers differ, you will want to experiment to search out the correct focus for you.

As a substitute of puffing smoke, you spritz the water above the bees beneath the lid of the hive. This slows down their aggression for at the very least two causes. Identical to common smoke, the odor warns the bees that hazard is close to. As well as, damp wings make flying harder, so they’re much less more likely to fly at you.

The nice, the dangerous, and the smelly

Some beekeepers love this product and others received’t contact it. Personally, I consider liquid smoke is not a substitute for a smoker however another for sure conditions.

The most typical criticism is that the odor lasts a very long time, particularly whenever you spray it contained in the hive. Some individuals don’t like the concept that the odor lingers within the hive for longer than mandatory, persevering with to alarm the bees.

One other criticism is that the smoke can taste the honey and the beeswax, making them unpalatable—or at the very least disagreeable. I can attest as a comb honey producer that even an everyday smoker can provide comb honey an undesirable forest hearth taste, so I might by no means use it throughout a nectar stream.

Good makes use of for bottled smoke

Nonetheless, beneath sure circumstances, bottled smoke works nicely. For instance, some beekeepers use it to spray robbing bees. If a hive is aswirl with robbers, spray the world across the exterior of the attacked hive: above, beside, and beneath. The odor along with moist wings works nicely to discourage robbers.

In case you are in peril of brush fires, liquid smoke is safer than lighting a smoker. Normally, by the point hearth season arrives, the key nectar flows are previous, so that you don’t want to fret about open honey cells getting tainted by the aroma of smoke.

Beekeepers who attempt to preserve their interest a secret from their neighbors additionally might go for liquid smoke as a result of it doesn’t go away a telltale plume.

As well as, some beekeepers prefer to smear a number of drops of concentrated liquid smoke on their arms and arms, or anyplace they steadily get stung. Apparently, it really works as a dependable repellent, retaining these stings at bay.

What’s your expertise?

When you have expertise with liquid smoke—good, dangerous, or detached—please share. It could be an under-used useful resource, particularly when taking part in with hearth won’t be the only option. How do you employ it? What do you suppose?

Honey Bee Suite

About Me

My love of bee science is backed by a bachelor’s diploma in Agronomic Crops and a grasp’s in Environmental Research. I’ve written extensively about bees, together with a present column in American Bee Journal and previous columns in Two Million Blossoms and Bee Craft. In recent times, I’ve taken a number of programs in melittology and made in depth identifications of North American bees for iNaturalist. My grasp beekeeping certificates issued from U Montana. Extra right here.


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