If I ever had any doubts about how useful a smoker is to a beekeeper, today’s inspection put those to rest. Today was a clear cool day, and when I arrived to check on the hive, I realized I didn’t have matches to light my smoker. I decided to press on anyway thinking the cooler weather would keep the girls docile for a quick fall looksee. My main goals today were to verify they still had plenty of honey frames as well as to make sure Large Marge was still around and laying eggs.
When I removed the inner cover, I caught a huge whiff of bananas which is not something you want to smell as a beekeeper. Technically it is called Isoamyl acetate, and it is a pheromone marker that tells other bees to converge on the area and attack the bad man opening the hive. Things got dicey pretty quickly, and I was forced to put the cover back on and go ask a nice neighbor for some matches so I could light the smoker. Once I had the smoker lit and in use, the girls calmed down nicely, and I was able to proceed with my inspection normally.