After the mild trauma of my first inspection, I decided to leave it a week or two before I poked around in the hive again. I did observe that the traffic in and out of it seemed a bit more settled after a day or two and I came to the conclusion – rightly or wrongly – that I’d simply been a bit hasty in bothering them so soon after they’d got here.

What I also decided to do was make use of my smoker this time. Now opinion is divided – as it is on practically everything in the beekeeping world (get two beekeepers in a room together and you will have at least three opinions) – as to the efficacy of smokers. Some people swear by them, others never bother.

Well, I’d bought one, so I thought I’d better give it a try. This is what it looks like:

P9060060

Basically you put stuff that burns into the body of it, set light to it, close the pointy lid and pump the bellows:

P9060061

Easy, huh? Except that if you decide to use the stiff brown paper from some packaging that was lying around as your material (and not – as I’ve since found out – more durable burners such as wood shavings, grass and so on), you will find that by the time you get to use the smoker, it will have gone out.

Worse than that, you will also find that when you pump the bellows at your bees in order to calm them down, instead of smoke, it will pump cold air in their direction. Unsurprisingly, they find this massively annoying, with the result being the precise opposite of the one intended.

The other annoying thing is that by the time you have finished messing about with your smoker, you will find that you have That Song By The Sodding Steve Miller Band lodged in your head for the rest of the day.

And, almost certainly, so now will you.

Sorry about that.