Beekeepers ‘gas’ their bees into submission using smoke.

The worse example I’ve seen of this particular nugget of mis-information is in a video produced by an wildly popular young female vegan vlogger, in which she likens beekeeping to a Nazi concentration camp; cross-flashing images of beekeepers smoking bees with historic footage of Jews entering the gas chambers, in a video deliberately intended to enrage.  smoker.jpgI have to say without doubt this is total rubbish; a propagandist fantasy postulated on a glaring lack of any real knowledge or experience of actual beekeeping.  The reality of the bee smoker is that, again, all we are doing is replicating the bees own natural behaviour.  In the wild, bees have a natural survival instinct against fire.  Alerted by the smell of smoke, a colony of bees will prepare to leave their home, and instinctively they ‘pack up’ the one thing they need to survive – food.  Gorging on their honey stores until their honey stomachs are full, the sudden rush of sugar makes them peaceful and drowsy.  As beekeepers we utilise this natural behaviour, calming the bees with a few gently puffs of smoke, in preparation for opening the hive – making the whole experience more enjoyable for all involved – also lessening the risk of being stung.  The bees are not harmed, and the beekeeper is protected: win-win.