From Day One, bees have lived in a hollow tree in the woods.
Often a lightning strike sets a woods on fire. Bees smell the smoke and not wanting to be burned to death, they prepare to fly away to some new home if necessary.
However, there are no restaurants along the way for them to get lunch “on the road”, so they carry their own provisions to their new home; and hence they go to the honey stored in their own hive and GORGE themselves with honey.
Now I ask you, “How do you feel after a big meal?” You don’t want to “run any races”, but you would rather snooze in a big chair while watching a football game on TV.
This is the case with a bee that has their honey stomach filled with honey – They are not very active and are much more placid.
A SMART man uses this to his advantage when working bees. You approach the colony that you want to inspect, and blow several whiffs of smoke directly into every entrance that the bees may have into the hive.
NOW, YOU DO SOMETHING EXTREMELY DIFFICULT FOR MOST BEEKEEPERS – YOU GO AWAY, HAVE A COKE, WATCH THE BIRDS, OR LOOK FOR 4 LEAF CLOVERS FOR AT LEAST 60 SECONDS, BUT 2 MINUTES IS BETTER.
When you return to the hive, you carefully blow a tiny whiff of smoke in the entrance, remove the inner cover, allow a whiff of smoke to drift across the bees on top of the frames and began frame removal for inspection.
TOO MUCH SMOKE FORCES BEES TO FLY INTO THE AIR, AND THEY ARE MAD, SO THEY MIGHT STING YOU.
Use just a little smoke often to keep them quiet and placid; and use nice, COOL, white, smoke, not hot, blue smoke with flames that BURN the bees and MAKE THEM STING.
So many people have told me that they have watched their bee inspectors look at their bees, or observed commercial honey producers working colonies and they DON’T do any WAITING.
There is a difference: These people are paid by the hour to do a job and they get enough stings every year that stings don’t bother them as much as a hobbyist, so they work in a hurry and get a few stings.
The choice of methods is up to you. I work my bees to have FUN, enjoy myself, and commune with nature.
When we have our FIELD days in April, I will show you how to “light a smoker and PACK it tightly with a lot of fuel so it will not go out”, WHICH IS VERY IMPORTANT.
The PROPER use of a smoker and the choice of smoker fuel are vital to good beekeeping, and unfortunately, too many people are not well skilled in the use of smoke.
BTW, rather than matches, I use a propane fireplace lighter to light my smoker, and that is so much easier than fooling around with matches that might be wet from sweat or forgotten