Beekeeping Smoker Fuel Lighting And Use

     Beekeeping Smoker Fuel Lighting And Use

Beekeeping Smoker Fuel Lighting And Use is designed as an aid in helping new beekeepers get their smokers lit. Many different smoker fuels can be used in a bee smoker.


Beekeeping Smoker Fuel Lighting & Use

Beekeeping Smoker Fuel Lighting And Use:

Beekeeping Smoker Fuel Lighting And Use is a step by step guide for lighting and using a beekeeping smoker. Smokers are by far one of the most important pieces of equipment any Beekeeper can own. A Smoker can be the difference in opening a hive with little to no problems or having the entire colony go ballistic. A properly lit Smoker should burn a cool white smoke which a Beekeeper lightly puffs two or three times into the entrance of the hive and then just under the inner hive cover as the cover is being removed to calm the Bees. Using the wrong kind of smoker fuel can cause several problems that can affect the colony as well as the Honey that is removed from the hive. As mentioned above the Smoke produced by a Smoker should be cool, not HOT. Never use a fuel that burns so hot that fire comes out the Smokers tip when puffed. You also want to use a fuel that burns clean and does not smell or leave a residue. Smoke that smells foul can affect the honey that is removed by leaving a smoke taste in the honey so always be sure that the fuel you use has a light non offensive odor.

 Smoker Fuel:

Caution:  Dried Cow or Horse Manure –  I cannot stress enough to never, ever use any type of animal manure/feces for Smoker Fuel even though it smolders extremely well. Animal manure contains Ecoli Bacteria which when the Smoker is puffed can be transferred from the Smokers burn chamber to the surface of the Honey Comb. The Bacteria can be transferred from the surface of the honey comb when uncapping which will contaminate equipment and the final product.

Manufactured Pet Bedding: This is by far my favorite smoker fuel as it’s easy to light and it burns clean with a cool white smoke. This is not the pellet form but a recycled shredded material as shown in the picture below. This bedding contains no harmful by-products that will harm the Bees or the Honey. When the fuel is properly lit and packed, it will burn for up to an hour and a half without having to add additional fuel and will easily re-start by giving the bellows a few quick puffs.

Beekeeping Smoker Fuel Lighting & Use  Beekeeping Smoker Fuel Lighting & Use  Beekeeping Smoker Fuel Lighting & Use

To see this fuel being lit scroll down to –

 “Step by Step How to properly Light a Smoker

Manufactured Smoker Pellets Smoker Pellets once lit can be a good choice as they produce cool, light smoke and will burn for a relatively long time. It can be a pain getting the pellets and generally requires the use of wadded up paper or some other quick lighting fuel to get them started.

Burlap: By far the the favorite of many Beekeepers. This fuel is easy to light, burns cool and produces a smoke that is non offensive. The only downside is burlap is it burns fast and often times requires adding additional burlap relighting during inspections.

Wood Chips: Wood Chips will work but are dependent on the type of wood used. Most woods when lit burn too hot and do not produce the desired amount of smoke required. Never use saw dust or wood chips from processed lumber such as treated wood or wood that has been treated with wood sealers. Negatives include being hard to light, hard to keep lit and burns to hot.

*Wood Shavings & Wood Chips*: This is actually what we use in our smokers and it burns quit well, is easy to light and produces a cool white smoke and it will smoke for hours. For anyone needing a smoker for extended use this is by far the way to go.

Grasses, Pine Needles & LeavesThese fuels all belong in the same category as they are naturally produced, for the most part abundant and do not cost anything. In a dried state these fuels light easily but often times do not produce a clean cool white smoke and burn quickly. Many times these fuels produce a rather large amount of soot which requires frequent cleaning of the smokers burn chamber.

Step by Step How to properly Light a Smoker

Step 1.  Place smoker on a non flammable surface and check area for flammable liquids and other fuels. Once area is clear open Smoker and inspect burn chamber for excessive soot and tar build-up, clean as necessary. Inspect the smoker bellows and make sure bellows are operating properly.

Step 2.  Place one to two wadded up sheets of thin paper in the bottom of the smokers burn chamber. This fuel will be used to light the main fuel you will be using in your smoker.

Note:  If you use waxed foundation save the waxed paper that is used in-between the sheets of foundation that prevents them from sticking together as these sheets wadded up are great for starting your main smoker fuel.

Step 3.  Before adding any of your smoker fuel light the wadded up pieces of paper and puff the smoker until flames appear. After the paper is lit start adding small amounts of the main fuel while lightly puffing on the smoker. This is a step that takes a little experimenting. Adding to much fuel at one time will smother the flames while adding to little will allow the paper to burn up before the main fuel is lit.

Beekeeping Smoker Fuel Lighting & Use

Step 4.  Once the main smoker fuel is lit, puff on the smoker until flames again appear. At this point you will have very little smoke and should have flames and a fare amount of heat being produced. Start adding larger amounts of smoker fuel while puffing on the smoker until a fair amount of smoke starts to appear. Once the smoker is lit and smoke is being produced without puffing on the smoker add additional fuel lightly packing fuel into the burn chamber (Note: To keep the smoker burning for a longer period of time pack more fuel into the burn chamber, for short inspections limit the amount of fuel being added. This process will take some experimenting to find the right amount required).

Beekeeping Smoker Fuel Lighting & Use   Beekeeping Smoker Fuel Lighting & Use  Beekeeping Smoker Fuel Lighting & Use  Beekeeping Smoker Fuel Lighting & Use

Step 5.  Close the smoker lid and occasionally puff when not in use to keep the fuel burning.

Beekeeping Smoker Fuel Lighting & Use

Caution:  Always remember that a lit smoker can cause fires and may violate burn bans in some areas. Smokers can cause severe burns and extreme caution should be used to prevent children from touching the burn chamber or any exposed metal parts. Always extinguish the smoker by emptying the lit contents and extinguishing with water. Never Place A Lit Smoker inside a Vehicle!!!!!!!!