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Author Topic: Smoker material  (Read 4087 times)
Lone
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« on: October 27, 2008, 09:55:14 PM »

Hello,
We have been using hessian sack in the smoker, but I read somewhere that there might be chemicals in the hessian these days which are lethal to the bees.  Would anyone know if it is a problem to use the hessian?

Lone
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BEES4U
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« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2008, 11:50:04 PM »


I use baled wood shavings. Easy to light, good heavy cool smoke, and easy to use
Ernie
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« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2008, 05:52:48 AM »

I use Straw from wheat or other such crops sold locally for feed for horse's as our local timber mills us a lot of tanalising chemicals and wouldn't trust the wood shavings. Haven't tried the bales shavings for animal bedding but may do next year as I'm sure wood shavings would last longer in the smoker.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2008, 05:56:24 AM »

I get old burlap coffee bags.  They are food so they are not treated.  I don't know about seed or feed bags as far as being treated.  I have resorted to buying burlap at the fabric store.
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Michael Bush
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BjornBee
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« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2008, 06:23:40 AM »

I think burlap, twine and old bags, just plain stink.

My favorite is pine needles but I'm always out.

So I buy the pine shavings bales (for animal bedding, etc.) l mix them with cedar shavings, both sold at tractor supply stores. The cedar burns too hot, but mixed with the pine, gives good burn and a pleasant smell. About 5 dollars a bale. And for anyone having a few colonies, two bales will be enough too last a few years.

If your hessian is from a known source and new/clean, then I would use what's available. But if they have been used or from unknown sources, there are to many other safer things to burn.
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Koala John
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« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2008, 06:37:13 AM »

I use hessian too, seems to stay alight pretty well, is easy to get, and store/transport. Bees seem happy with it too - I don't see any lethal results.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2008, 06:51:19 AM »

Way too early this morning....hit the wrong button.  shocked
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« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2008, 07:12:40 AM »

I have used cardboard with a handful of green grass on top
to cool the smoke but I like wood shavings mixed with sawdust
to slow down the burn and I put the green grass on top of that.
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« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2008, 07:24:55 AM »

I've been using hardwood pellets (the kind they sell for pellet stoves).  They are cheap, clean, and stay lit.  Just don't get them wet rolleyes
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rast
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« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2008, 06:05:50 PM »

 I use a mixture of pine needles and shavings from my wood joiner. Free. I have not tried the wood pellets yet, but will if all the pines around me die. I did try the cardboard rolls a few times, worked fine, just harder to get lit than pine needles.
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BeeHopper
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« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2008, 06:14:20 PM »

I use untreated burlap from home depot, but not as good as pine needles.  grin
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pdmattox
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« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2008, 07:15:35 PM »

Pine needles here. no chems grin
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2008, 07:57:38 PM »

If I had a convenient supply of pine needles I'd probably use them a lot more... they do smell nice, but they don't last nearly as well as the burlap.

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Michael Bush
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johnnybigfish
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« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2008, 08:17:24 PM »

 I used burlap for awhile but I got a lot of sticky residue in my smoker lid and it was getting sticky.
 I just started using hamster cage cedar shavings(the red kinds) and that works really good! Puts out tons of smoke and stays lit pretty much too!
your friend,
john
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Pond Creek Farm
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« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2008, 08:21:21 PM »

A mentor of mine suggested punky wood.  My place has a lot of forest, so punky wood is abundant.  I lgith it from the bottom with a long lighter or sometimes from the  top with a torch if I am in a hurry.  I will lay a wet pice of burlap on the top to stop any sparks and to cool the smoke.  It works great, and I have not had my smoker go out since switching.  I used to use bailing twine or the cotton stuff from Mann Lake, but I wans constantly facing an unlit smoker situation.
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« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2008, 08:32:31 PM »

First try with wood pellets didn't go so good (I may have stoked it too hot), but I recently tried them again and they work well.  Just stuff the spout with grass or something so the hot pellets don't roll out and into the hive.  Like Robo said don't get them wet they'll swell to 10x and be a real mess.  I like the way barley straw burns(with seedheads intact, I don't know if it matters), although it does burn out a bit quick.  Old blue jean scraps smoke well also.  A relative of mine grows herb plants, at the end of the year I get the extras.  Dried thyme or rosemary (just cut off and stuff the whole dried/dead plant in) smoke great and smell wonderful too.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2008, 08:46:07 PM »

BTW, if you use one of those self igniting torches, it greatly simplifies lighting the smoker, and if you get residue, just use the torch to turn it to ash.
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Michael Bush
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Brian D. Bray
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« Reply #17 on: October 30, 2008, 08:23:40 PM »

I have a barrel into which I put my smoker fuel. It contains bailing twine, burlap sacks, punky wood (Partly rotten), old sheets, shirts, and towels. I figure if something will burn slow (smolder) its good for smoker fuel.  My favorite fuel is anythng that smolders and will stay lit.
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« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2008, 11:47:43 AM »

I have always used burlap....bought a pallet of coffee bean bags from a local mill for pennies. I intend to try pine needles, however there is a huge pine tree die off going on here.... huh
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beemused
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« Reply #19 on: November 01, 2008, 09:46:17 PM »

I use cedar bark. Comes off in strips that are easy to stuff in and are near all my hives so I can always get a refill. One less thing to not have with me when I need it.  rolleyes

Bruce

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Lone
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« Reply #20 on: November 02, 2008, 11:36:27 PM »

Thanks so much everyone for their useful information.  There are certainly a lot of options I see, some more readily available than others.  We have some grass straw in the shed.  I suppose it's worthwhile trying out to see how it smokes.  I believe burlap might be the american term for hessian.  I like the suggestion about having a barrel of fuel ready to go, too.  Someone also suggested palm tree bark to me yesterday.  Wood chips are not readily available here, nor are pine needles, but I think some people might use she-oak needles.  What is the reason you should keep the smoke cooler? 

No-one has suggested the other smoker my old offsider uses....puffing away at a marlboro when he's playing with bees!
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Irwin
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« Reply #21 on: November 03, 2008, 09:08:43 AM »

Need to keep the smoke cool so you don't burn the bee's or start a fire in the hive a spark from the smoker might start a fire.


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mathispollenators
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« Reply #22 on: November 03, 2008, 11:03:38 AM »

Believe it or not Lone I have heard of tobacco being used. It is said to run hive bettles out.  Thinking of giving it a try myself sometime & see.  But really you can use most anything that burns slow and rather cool.  Cool of course because of a fire hazard.  rolleyes I also have a smoker tray in the fiberglass bed of my truck now and a nuc box I fixed up for a bee tool box.  rolleyes 
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« Reply #23 on: November 03, 2008, 08:27:50 PM »

 hey Irwin!
 Are those your beehives???
 I have 7 hives too!
your friend,
john
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Lone
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« Reply #24 on: November 04, 2008, 07:02:13 AM »

Thanks Irwin. 

Mathispollenators:  I probably won't take up smoking on account of the small hive beetle.  We leave a couple of cane toad guards at the bottom of the hive stand instead.  Now, a smoking toad would be a real tool against the beetle..!
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Irwin
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« Reply #25 on: November 04, 2008, 07:51:12 AM »

hey Irwin!
 Are those your beehives???
 I have 7 hives too!
your friend,
john
No They are some pic's I found on the net there is some more but that was the best one. Only one hive had a little melted wax in it.
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mathispollenators
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« Reply #26 on: November 04, 2008, 10:46:45 AM »

LOL Lone I think they were putting in the smoker itself.  I thought I may try it with some of the cheap flavored cigars I see.  Kinda break one or two up and mixed in with some pinestraw. I know it sounds stupid but if I'm open to try it at least once. Maybe twice if it looks like it may work.
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Irwin
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« Reply #27 on: November 05, 2008, 08:59:11 AM »

Same fire
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ikeepbees
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« Reply #28 on: November 06, 2008, 10:22:32 AM »

I'm on the Gulf Coast, so pine needles are abundant and free. The smoke has a pleasant smell, too. as Michael pointed out it doesn't last as long as some other fuels, but if you pack it tight it does pretty well.

No clue on your original question, Lone, about the Hessian sack.
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josbees
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« Reply #29 on: November 18, 2008, 10:01:18 AM »

I get empty coffee sacks from our nearby gourmet grocery store.  They're happy to get rid of them, but I know once they realize all the local beeks are using them they will suddenly start charging an arm and a leg (or the cost of an extra large latte) for them. 

When I cut the sacks down, they're great for the smoker.  And they smell good in my basement too....
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