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Author Topic: Bees and bonfire smoke, side effects ?  (Read 280 times)

Offline charentejohn

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Bees and bonfire smoke, side effects ?
« on: October 02, 2020, 11:25:53 am »
Just noticed my neighbours are building up a medium size pile of scrubby branches, again, which they will burn sometime.  They did it earler in the year and some smoke kept drifting over the hives.  Since the idea of smoking bees is to make them move but there is also the idea that they will start to eat honey if there is too much smoke.

So, the fire is about 12m (40') away and can generate smoke for a couple of hours. It is slightly downwind of the hives.  It drifts near to and above the hives, first we know is we can just about smell smoke in the house about 60m (250') away as the residual smoke fills the air. 

What do bees do when they smell smoke like that, I would hope they send scouts to see what is happening before panicking ?  Or am I asking too much of them, I would hope they say, I smell smoke and take a look then report back that not nearby.
I have open floors so some will enter that way, but not much.  Last time they were fine with it but that was spring, first year of hives here.
I know they won't gorge and abscond in a couple of hours but will they start to eat stores and generally move off brood or similar.  Heading into winter and they need all they have.

Bees will often be near bonfires or such.  I read another post here were someone was on an allotment which is a prime place for burning and bees in the same place.
I can put up a 2m fence behind them which would deflect most anyway, and will do it when the weather improves, just wondered at what point and density smoke would be a problem.

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Offline beesnweeds

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Re: Bees and bonfire smoke, side effects ?
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2020, 07:13:28 pm »
  Not to worry.  My kids have bonfires during the summer and a few in the fall with their buds about 50' feet away from my hives.  Never had a problem.
Everyone loves a worker.... until its laying.

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Bees and bonfire smoke, side effects ?
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2020, 09:38:29 pm »
I agree. No need to worry. Bees deal with forest fires all the time. As long as the Fire doesn?t reach the hive they will bee fine. They will fill their bellies with honey when the smoke gets real thick in the hive. They will put it back.
Jim Altmiller

Offline charentejohn

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Re: Bees and bonfire smoke, side effects ?
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2020, 10:33:33 am »
Thanks for the reassurance, hopefully they will leave lighting it till spring as using up stores now would be a bad idea.  Last year they lit it late May so not a problem.
I remember some smoke drifting about last time, none directly at the hives and the bees came and went as normal.  That in itself is a good sign, business as usual.  Just nice to know it should be no real problem, I will ask them to ensure the wind is in the right direction and am sure they will be fine.  I don't want to get into don't do it as not reasonable, but think about it is ok.
You must be the change you want to see in the world - Mahatma Gandhi