With the smoker, you have a fair chance of a successful trip. Without it, you will either get many stings, or, your clothing will receive many stings, resulting in many dead bees. Either way, an unsuccessful trip.
I always smoke first, check hive temperament, and don veil only when needed. Retreating would be just as easy on those rare occasions.
Definitely veil! Dr. Connor and others recommend a minimum of smoke when working with queens. Unless conditions are absolutely terrible, my bees are so gentle I need neither a veil nor smoker. When the latest group of new beekeepers from USFBG join the forum they will tell you! Am I right Crackerbee?
I'm w/ iddee. Definitely the smoker. I have worked plenty of hives w/out a veil. I would never work a hive w/out a smoker. Purely foolhardy in my opinion.
What can you do w/ a veil that you can do w/ a smoker?
Use of a smoker to me is like going to see a neighbor. I always knock on my neighbors' door before entering. Even if I knock and then letr myself in, I always knock. It's just polite.
Smoking at the entrance of a beehive is like knocking at the door. It lets the bees know you are coming in. I can't do that w/ a veil.
I noticed nothing other than a veil or a smoker was mentioned. So, if one chose the veil, how much work could you do in a hive w/out a smoker and GLOVES. Could you open the lid, remove the top box, look thru all the frames in each box to find the queen, find her, and put everything back together before you took so many stings you would want to give up on bees?
I've worked 80 hives at a time w/out a veil. No way I would have tried w/out a smoker. Whatever floats your boat.
One answer to Omies question, would depend on the time of year,i've seen times during a flow you could work them in your bathing suite? and during robbing, you better have a full suite. I always wear a veil, if the bees are hot i back off. I always have a smoker going if needed, and have worked hives that a smoker made things worse. I like to get buy with using a spray bottle of 1 to 1 sugar water, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't. With the many years of taking stings, i'm sticking with the veil ( i like my eyes):mrgreen: Jack