The Foragers continued their outdoor meeting format for the July meeting. We started with our business meeting. We discussed the update of the club hive, member record books, and project books for the hive inspection.
Afterwards, we had our program, which this month was Lighting a Smoker since our members will need this skill for performing inspection on our club hive. Our members gathered in groups of three with a smoker. Mr. Hodgie led the program and started with a background on the importance of a smoker, which is two-fold. One, it helps keep the bees busy since the presence of smoke is like a forest fire and puts them in a survival mode in which they start preparing to leave the hive by storing their honey stores in their bodies. Honeybees full of honey are going to be less likely to sting, which could be because stinging means dying, which means the honey they are storing is a wasted resource and/or because a full be is less likely to be aggressive (think about how likely you would want to engage in a fight right after eating Thanksgiving dinner). Two, honeybees communicate through pheromones, and in the case of a honeybee sending out an alerting pheromone to warn the colony, the smoke will mask the pheromone and stop the communication.
Mr. Hodgie went through his process of starting his smoker, which he does by lighting burlap and then putting it in the smoker. After this, he added two or three handfuls of wood pellets. On top of the pellets, more burlap gets layered for the purpose of preventing the hot pellets from falling out of the lighter and onto the bees if it is turned sideways. Even though some of the members had trouble the first time getting the smoker started, after a reset, all of our groups had a successfully lit smoker at the end of the program.
And after, our club members did get to have a little fun with some snacks and chasing the chickens and Nugget, the sassy turkey.