The Buzz: The Smoking Habit

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Conventional Smoker

This is a picture of a conventional Smoker, used by beekeepers to generate cool smoke to puff into beehives prior to opening up the hives for inspection. The smoke placates the bees, whose deep instinctive reaction to smoke is to gorge on the hive’s honey stores, in case “where there’s smoke” there really may be fire.  With a communal belly-full of honey, a colony of bees has a chance to relocate and rebuild the wax comb for a new brood nest – but they’re as heavy and as passive as a Christmas pudding.  So that’s basically why we use a little smoke when we pay a visit to our bees.

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Unconventional Smoker

This is a picture of Shard hive (the cedar box under the chimney on the roof-top of the blue/grey warehouse) with a very unconventional kind of Smoker in the foreground. On Saturday evening, this black taxi cab had been jacked up opposite the Bermondsey Street Bees’ apiary and has had its exhaust system removed and substituted with a shisha (hookah) pipe system for passers-by to puff on. Yes, really ! See more on:

Luckily, Shard hive’s bees were all tucked up for the evening, so no bees were involved in this avante-garde performance art. Who knows: a couple of puffs on the mint shisha, and they could have been sluicing down the raki until the small hours on a girls’ night out on Bermondsey Street – and in no fit state to receive their new Queen on Sunday morning.

Hung-over or not, by mid-week we’ll know how her kiwi majesty got on with her new sarf London ladies-in-waiting….