How Do Beekeepers Calm Bees?

Ever wonder how beekeepers are able to work around tens of thousands of swarming honeybees at once? Firstly, they wear a bee veil, which guards against painful stings. Secondly, they add smoke, which make handling the bees manageable. Although the smoking technique has been around for thousands of years, we still don't know the full extent of its effects on bees. We do know a few reasons why pumping hives full of smoke calms the bees: for one, it masks the pheromones of the guard bees that would excite the hive. The smoke also makes them think there's a fire nearby, which motivates them to start feeding in case they need the energy for an evacuation. Just like people, bees that have recently gorged on food are slow and lethargic. Learn more about the science of bees in the videos below.

A Day In The Life Of A Beekeeper

See what it's like to keep your own hive.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. A bee veil is one of the essential items for beekeepers. 00:53

  2. Pumping smoke into beehives call down bees filled with honey. 01:05

  3. Thousands of bees cooperate in single hives. 01:59

How Do Bees Make Honey?

It's made from flower nectar, but that's just the first step.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. The Western Honeybee pollinates 3/4ths of the fruits, nuts and vegetables we eat. 00:03

  2. Forager bees will vomit the nectar into a worker bees mouth, who will then regurgitate it into the mouth of another bee, passing it along the hive. 00:59

  3. Foragers dance do the "waggle dance" to signal to the other bees where to find food. 02:30

Why Bees Are Important

Explore what would happen if the bees died out.

Written by Curiosity Staff December 8, 2015

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