What Substance Do You Like Best For Smoke In Your Smoker?

Discussion in 'Beekeeping' started by Hee Haw, May 31, 2006.

  1. Hee Haw

    Hee Haw Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    107
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2006
    Hello Fellow Beekeepers,
    What sustance do you like best for smoke in your smoker? I like to roll up burlap,it makes a good steady smoke that stays lite,burns longer and seems to be a cool smoke that dont seem to up set the bees. The only problem is I am out of it and cant seem to find any. Feed stores around here dont use it anymore.
    What works but for you?
     
  2. Ol'Reb

    Ol'Reb aka Mr T-Bone

    Messages:
    76
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2006
    Location:
    Piney Hills of Louisiana CSA.
    I use a combination of shavings from my planer and crmbled up rotten wood.
     

  3. KSALguy

    KSALguy Lost in the Wiregrass Supporter

    Messages:
    8,821
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2006
    Location:
    S.E.Alabama
    most times you can find Burlap at Walmart in the fabric section or other fabric stores and buy it by the bolt, cant remimber how much but i am sure it shouldnt be too much, i havent seen a burlap feed sack sence we used to get some horse feed that was a sweet flake stuff kinda pale in color, its been so long ago and i was just a kid i cant remimber lol
     
  4. btai

    btai Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    45
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2006
    Location:
    Georgia
    I like pinestraw if I've got it, but usually I start out with newspaper then throw in some sticks and cram it full with dried leaves
     
  5. deaconjim

    deaconjim Appalachian American Supporter

    Messages:
    10,639
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2005
    Location:
    SW VA
    I had the chance to try some of the wood pellets from Dadant last night. I couldn't get the things lit, so I had to use a piece of burlap, which worked quite well. Does anyone know of a good use for the wood pellets?
     
  6. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

    Messages:
    2,246
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2004
    Location:
    Northeastern Minnesota
    A rolled up ball of bindertwine from my Jerseys hay bales. Lots of smoke and lasts forever.
     
  7. beaglady

    beaglady Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,224
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2002
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Keeping my smoker going is my downfall. I have the best luck with dried leaves I find blown onto the garage floor. I've tried those pellets & they only work if you have a nice fire going already. I've tried the pressed cotton fibers you get from one of the bee suppliers. Same thing. Twine works ok once you get it started.

    Getting the thing started is the trickiest part. I keep thinking that I can just stuff some 'whatever' in there, light and go. It never stays lit, but when I remember that I am 'building a fire', I do ok.

    I've gotten used to working bees without much smoke, which isn't really a bad thing.
     
  8. Haggis

    Haggis MacCurmudgeon

    Messages:
    2,246
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2004
    Location:
    Northeastern Minnesota
    I fetch a walnut sized hot coal from Herself's cookstove to put in the bottom of my smoker, and then just put some bindertwine on top of it.

    Herself says I could just use a single piece of self-lighting charcoal, let the fumes burn off, and then throw the bindertwine in.

    In either case the hot coal will smolder a very long time, and the bindertwine is the prince of smoke producers.
     
  9. Chickieeeee

    Chickieeeee Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    133
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2006
    Location:
    Northern CA
    We have lots of eucalyptus leaves and dried bark around our property. So I usually break the dried bark up into small pieces and light the dried leaves and it makes a long lasting, cool smoke.

    I am too cheap to purchase something. I was constantly trying new things until I stumbled upon this combo.
     
  10. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper keeper of the bees Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    8,820
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Location:
    Michigan
    I started with pine needdles from our White pine plantation. Didn't like it very well as it seemed to run out when I needed it most.
    Switched to Sumac berries and love this stuff, read in one of the bee magizines a month or so latter it is a minor treatment againest mites. I also use Cedar wood chips I clean from the Dogs houses.
    I got tired of messing around with lighting my smoker with the newspaper and now place a wad of sumac or wood chips in the bottom and use my hand torch to light it once going good I add more fuel till I have enough to finish the yard I am working in. I plug the smoke stack and put the smoker in a smoker box when going to the next yard.

    I try to just use syrup most of the time though. I take the outer cover off then spray some thru the intercover hole then crack that and spray some more. With the Itialians that is normally all I need do.

    :D Al
     
  11. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,693
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
  12. renee7

    renee7 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    72
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2003
    Location:
    Indiana
    Al, I never heard of this, but it seems that it might be a good idea. This is my first time raiseing bees.

    I put a piece of towel paper in the bottom of the smoker. lit it then loosely put in some cotten materail, a piece of an old cotton sheet. No problem with the smoker.

    But it seemed that the smoke just upset the bees, more. Maybe I didn't use enough.
     
  13. alleyyooper

    alleyyooper keeper of the bees Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    8,820
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Location:
    Michigan
    Bees do not like smoke that's a fact. Best to give them a puff or two thru the entrance and thru any vent holes Like my 3/4 inch holes just below the hand holds. Lift the outer cover andf give them a puff or two also. Now wait for 5 minutes before opening the hive. If you take the intercover off then smoke them they will flare up to get away from it most times.

    With the syrup sprayed on them they just get to busy cleaning each other off to notice you. I also only recommend this with colonies that are not hot to begin with. Hot colonies get smoke, and if the queen isn't some thing great a new one of those too.

    :D Al
     
  14. Queen Bee

    Queen Bee Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    6,735
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2004
    Location:
    NC
    I use parts/pcs. of old demin. Jeans/overalls are great. I cut a strip off the leg about 3 inches wide roll it up and light it, when it is going pretty good I place some pine needles on top... I have also used the purchased smoker fuel on top of the demin..
     
  15. Tabitha

    Tabitha greenheart

    Messages:
    1,751
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2006
    Location:
    Ky
    back in the old days at home, beekeepers used those dry mushrooms that grow on trees, (sort of like little consoles). I have not tried it myself. If I find one though I will.
     
  16. MichelleB

    MichelleB Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    116
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    I typically light a small strip of burlap, get it flaming out the top of the smoker, put in a couple small pine cones, and once those are ignited, I cram in more burlap. Trick is remembering to puff the smoker every few minutes. But once I get it going, it will burn for a couple hours.

    If I do have hot coals handy, I definitely go that route--but not if the coals have been doused in lighter fluid, or if they're the "easy-light" type.

    The pinecones or a small matt of twigs in between the starter burlap and the rest of the burlap helps keep some air in there, I think. But I'm still experimenting.

    I, too, have heard good stuff about sumac berries! I'll need to gather some...
     
  17. Mountaineer

    Mountaineer Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,058
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2006
    Corrugated cardboard. It can get hot, but it's always handy when I'm running out. OWrks for up to 4 hives. Could be time wasting if you had any more than that.
     
  18. Mike in Ohio

    Mike in Ohio Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,143
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2002
    We use all sorts of things.

    Our first preference is to avoid smoking and spray sugar solution on the bees. They get to licking and let us do our thing.

    If we are smoking I use used cheesecloth (we use a lot for straining our honey). I also use binder twine. If we have old 100% cotton sheets or towels we'll use that as well. I've tried black walnut bark (old timer suggestion) and it works but can be a bit messy storing and using it.

    Mike
     
  19. Jack Parr

    Jack Parr Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    68
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2005
    If ya'll see one those outfits going around trimming trees for power line right of ways ask for some of their chippings. They will surely be happy to give you all you want. The chippings contain wood and leaves which dry very fast and make excellent smoker fuel.

    However there seems to be a follow the leader concerning smoking bees. Personally I rarely use smoke and find that there is little, if any, difference in the bees action with or without smoke. The bees always seem to be the same to me. The trick is to be well protected if stings are a problem.

    I have two feral bee hives, with probably 40-50 thousands bees, maybe more, that are definately not impressed with smoke. I tried a little smoke, medium smoke, lotsa smoke, sugar water and nothing. Nothing really worked, so I just go into those hives cold turkey and endure a very impressive display of bee aggression or defensiveness, whichever. I wear the jacket and head piece zipped together and still those bees find a way in. I don't think that Africanized bees could be worse. Then at other times they are not so bad. In any event whenever I decide to go into those two hives, I go. I will re-queen those two hives soon, hopefully. But they do make lotsa of honey.

    My other hives, six, are queened by Italians and Russians. The Italians are very mild and one really does not need smoke to work with them IMO. The Russians are about the same to me although opinions vary on them, however I don't use smoke either

    The sugar water sprayed onto the hives or top frames coat the house bees and they are not yet agressive so they don't do anything. The agressive bees are the guard bees and the more populous the hive, the more guard bees there are and sugar water does not impress them.

    I really think that folks use smoke because other folks use smoke but serioulsy, I really don't see any difference, so, I don't waste time fooling around with a smoker.

    I now use latex gloves and the bees don't sting my hands or rarely. The latex is hot though and tends to be slippery if coated with honey so I keep a five gallon bucket of water nearby for bee use and rinsing my gloves.. I used to use cotton polka dots but the bees attacked those too much and managed to sting through them. I also tried no gloves but got stung and that wasn't too good either so I just use the latex and sweat.

    What folks should do is try going smokless and observe how that works over a period of time. It could be that bees are more aggressive at different times however I don't really know about that and have no opinion to offer.

    Jack Parr
     
  20. rwjedi

    rwjedi Member

    Messages:
    24
    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Location:
    Missouri (or is it Misery)
    I haven't seen my fuel mentioned so I thought I would throw my 2 cents in. I use Cedar shavings sold for pet bedding. I throw a piece of newspaper in the bottom, light it, let it get burning, slowly throw in the cedar shavings, pumping to get the cedar shavings burning,then I cover with a layer of shavings that aren't burning on top. Nice cool smoke that smells awesome. Smoker should stay lit for a long time.