One of the primary reasons that beekeepers use a smoker is to calm the bees. When bees sense that their hive is being disturbed, they release a pheromone called alarm pheromone. This pheromone signals to other bees that there may be a threat and causes them to become defensive. By using a smoker, beekeepers can mask the alarm pheromone and help to keep the bees calm while working in the hive.
The smoker itself works by producing smoke, which is created by burning a fuel source such as pine straw. The smoke is then directed into the hive through the use of a bellows. When the smoke enters the hive, it stimulates the bees to start eating honey in preparation for a potential hive relocation. This behavior helps to keep the bees calm and focused on eating rather than defending their hive.
It's important to note that the smoke from a smoker does not harm the bees. In fact, the smoke helps to protect the bees by masking the alarm pheromone and distracting them from the beekeeper's presence. As a result, the smoker is an essential tool for beekeepers, helping to ensure their safety and the safety of the bees.