How Does Smoking Bees Calm Them Down and Why Does Smoke Interrupt a Bee Colony’s Defensive Response?

Beekeepers use smoke to get bees to calm down and not sting them.

When bees encounter smoke, they begin a feeding frenzy, thinking their hive is in danger from fire, and prepare to flee.

When they are fully fed, their bellies are distended and they do not sting as easily or readily.

The smoke also masks alarm pheromones that are released by guard bees or bees that are injured during a beekeeper’s inspection.

The fact that smoke calms bees has been known since ancient times, and smokers have been used in beekeeping for almost as long.