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smoker fuel

 
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Adriaan
Guard Bee


Joined: 18 Jan 2016
Posts: 95
Location: central Belgium

PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 2:03 pm    Post subject: smoker fuel Reply with quote

Hi All,

When working with my bees I prefere to use smoke (moderately) to calm down the bees, it is volatile so bees don't have to work hard to get rid of it after the job is done (instead of water that they have to remove physically).

I have tried lots of fuels for my smoker in the past, often I just pick up some dry organic matter. I used tobaco which smells nice. Lately I tried dried tansy and that really calms down the bees but all of these materials burn quickly or die off if you don't use the smoker every few minutes.

Today I did my last inspection of the year on my second apiary, att my small (2 acre) organic vegetable farm: it was really looking good, most hives had allready enough honey to get them trough winter, the bees are healthy and busy collecting pollen and nectar on phacelia and yellow musterd that are in bloom right now.

Att the farm we grew a few thousend kilo's of onions that are now in the process of being dried before getting cleaned and stored.

Today I used dried onion peals and -leaves as smoker fuel for the first time. This was a real eye-opener.
It burns with a nice thick smoke, very slowly, and keeps burning if the smoker is left alone for a while.
One filling lasted for over an hour and half of it was not even burnt.

Just thought I'd let all of of you onion growing beekeepers know.

friendly greetings

Adriaan
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AndyC
Scout Bee


Joined: 04 Jul 2014
Posts: 302
Location: Uk/Horsham/RH13

PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find smoke tends to panic the bees rather than calming them.

Sprayed rainwater on the other hand is just part of life's rich tapestry for them.

When I rarely do use smoke for feisty bee management and my own protection I use egg boxes and dried teabags.

Is that the onion tops and leaves?
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Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1581
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I usually make cartridges from corrugated cardboard boxes cut into strips and rolled up, but I sometimes use a handful of semi dried grass. I would have expected the onion tops to be quite acrid but may give it a go next time, although I don't grow enough onions to have that many dry trimmings.
I personally prefer smoke to water spray, but usually I light it and but don't actually need to use it. Always better to have it on hand than get half way through an inspection and suddenly find you need it and have to start fiddling about lighting it..... even if it is just to help close up because the weather has suddenly changed.

I have a friend who uses a chunk of bark from her Wellingtonia tree in her smoker.
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BBC
Scout Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2012
Posts: 398
Location: Bicker, Lincolnshire, UK

PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting - unfortunately I don't have a supply of onions ... !

What I do have is lots of sawdust and shavings, and so that's what I burn in the smoker. I've discovered one guaranteed way of starting the smoker is NOT to empty out the ashes, but to always leave half inch or so at the bottom. Then drop in a lighted tissue or shavings, add a couple of square inches of old wax comb, and then top up gradually with sawdust. That's then good for a couple of hours.

I don't usually use much smoke during an inspection, sometimes none at all - but ALWAYS have a smoker with me, lit and ready to use - and often find just a gentle puff of smoke can be very handy when replacing crown boards.
Colin
BBC
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biobee
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1055
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

German beekeepers often use dried heads of tansy as smoker fuel.

My recently retired bee inspector always used hemp horse bedding.
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jetam
House Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2013
Posts: 22
Location: Slovakia/Prievrana

PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:49 pm    Post subject: Re: smoker fuel Reply with quote

ciao...
...onion? it must smell horribly Smile (I love onion to eat, but when it burns....)

I tried either water, either smoker....I prefer smoker...(but always have water at disposal - after stings, when hands get sticky...etc. )
For smoker as a fuel Im using punk wood. Mostly from spruce, beech, alder-tree. One bag of punk wood is enough for whole bee-year. It burns slowly and smells wonderful...
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AndyC
Scout Bee


Joined: 04 Jul 2014
Posts: 302
Location: Uk/Horsham/RH13

PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excuse my ignorance but don't know the term punk wood.
Just looked it up and not much the wiser.
Is it just partly rotten wood of those tress you mention?
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jetam
House Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2013
Posts: 22
Location: Slovakia/Prievrana

PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sorry for my english....Im not native Englishman Smile

I wrote in translator "prachnive drevo" and it found:
brittle wood
punk wood
rotten wood

than Ive put these three one by one into google search....and according pictures I chose punk wood Smile
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dolmen
House Bee


Joined: 16 Jun 2007
Posts: 19
Location: Ireland

PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This year I've been using dried cow dung, I used a coal shovel and bucket to gather some semi dried cow pats earlier this year dried them in the greenhouse and break them up and add to some news paper in the smoker its a long lasting and very agreeable smoke.
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AndyC
Scout Bee


Joined: 04 Jul 2014
Posts: 302
Location: Uk/Horsham/RH13

PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jetam wrote:
sorry for my english....Im not native Englishman Smile

I wrote in translator "prachnive drevo" and it found:
brittle wood
punk wood
rotten wood

than Ive put these three one by one into google search....and according pictures I chose punk wood Smile


Great thanks - guess dry rotten wood is best translation.
Thanks again, will try it out.
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