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Author Topic: Smoker fuel  (Read 4962 times)
patook
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« on: June 12, 2009, 02:17:38 PM »

I know this has been hashed out and many use a variety of things at hand. However, I need something I can buy cheap that is a decent smoker fuel. When I started out, I got some dadant fuel in my kit, which was great, but expensive. I tries a bag of cypress mulch from Homedepot but it does not want to stay lit.

Does anyone buy anything in bulk that is readily available and works as a good fuel?

Thanks
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Bennettoid
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« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2009, 02:32:03 PM »

Burlap is the best I've found so far, but dried grass and leaves do in a pinch.
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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2009, 02:42:28 PM »

I like sumac berries for a really long burn.  I also use ceder chips (animal bedding).  They burn fast but light easy
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« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2009, 03:06:02 PM »

Burlap is the best I've found so far, but dried grass and leaves do in a pinch.

I have heard burlap is good, but where can you buy it?
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« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2009, 03:10:14 PM »

my beekeeping supply place sells it, but i got a batch of burlap coffee bags from the military surplus place.  they are big and heavy duty. 
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« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2009, 03:16:30 PM »

In Ohio the bridge const co's are a good FREE supply.  They are required by the state to cover the cement with burlap for a couple of days.  Afterwards they just throw it out.  It is not that dirty and I cut to the size I want.  I have probably received about a p/u load in the last two years grin!
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« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2009, 03:32:05 PM »

I use hay or pine needles, a small bale of hay from the feed store kept dry lasts a long, long time.
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« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2009, 03:55:39 PM »

You can buy burlap at home depot as well, I am a burlap person.....tried some compressed cotton I got from somewhere today but I don't like the way the smoke smells....has a chemical smell to it. I need to find some coffee bean bags again.....better, thicker brulap than HD's.
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« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2009, 04:20:13 PM »

I second the pine needles.
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« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2009, 04:38:06 PM »

I third the pine needles - I buy a bale and keep it in the carport so it's always dry and available.  Works great with nice cool smoke.

Linda T who can finally in year four light a smoker every time!!!!!!!
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G3farms
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« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2009, 04:46:23 PM »

I use a combination of burlap bags (coffee bean bags that we get that has fabricated pipe in it), and the bark off of cedar trees that have been cut for a little while (fence post). the burlap lights quick and easy and the cedar bark will smolder for a long time.

In a pinch......hay, dead grass, pine needles, sisal baling twine, anything natural just look around.

When I had some really hot bees I would go to the barn and get some left over tabbacco leaves and add that also, seemed to work really well for calming them down a notch or two.

G3
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« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2009, 04:54:14 PM »

I third the pine needles - I buy a bale and keep it in the carport so it's always dry and available.  Works great with nice cool smoke.

Linda T who can finally in year four light a smoker every time!!!!!!!

Linda

Where do you purchase a bale of pine needles??  Never heard of this. I have just started to burn pine needles, but I have to have my friend at work bring in bags of it from her yard.

I just love using the smoker since I went from burning burlap to burning pine needles.
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« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2009, 04:58:58 PM »

Quote
Linda T who can finally in year four light a smoker every time!!!!!!!

you are doing well.  mine usually lites, but requires massive verbal stimulation to keep going.   evil
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« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2009, 05:47:47 PM »

If you can get the real kind of baling twine, it makes a good smoker fuel also.  I wrap a bunch of it around my hand then tie it into a knot.  Light 1 or more of the loose loops and the knot will smolder for a long time.
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« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2009, 05:48:32 PM »

annette, we can buy bales of pine needles, like a square bale of hay, hey use it for a decorative mulch in flower beds and around trees. Look at some of the landscaping places or even home depot or lowes might have it. I just pick it up off of the ground.

Good luck on finding it.

G3
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see my swarms and cut outs at https://www.youtube.com/user/soapy22bullet?feature=mhee

those hot bees will have you steppin and a fetchin like your heads on fire and your @ss is a catchin!!!

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« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2009, 05:55:11 PM »

annette, we can buy bales of pine needles, like a square bale of hay, hey use it for a decorative mulch in flower beds and around trees. Look at some of the landscaping places or even home depot or lowes might have it. I just pick it up off of the ground.

Good luck on finding it.

G3

Thanks for the info. I do get it from my friend from work, but I like to be independent if possible.  I will check it out, thanks again

Annette
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Beaver Dam
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« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2009, 06:18:52 PM »

I pick up twigs out of my yard. I like to use pecan because it smells good to me. I like the campfire smell.
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fermentedhiker
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« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2009, 06:43:25 PM »

pellet stove fuel works, a bit hard to light but it stays lit once you do.  Plus at under 6 bucks for a 50lb bag that'll last a whole season it's not too expensive a proposition.
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« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2009, 07:53:36 PM »



  I use cedar shavings, the dog kennel kinda stuff. I can not stand the smell of burlap burning, acrid and nasty. The cedar smells great and is so much cheaper than buying burlap. Wally world has is for about $6.50 for a big ol bail.

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Jim 134
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« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2009, 08:19:47 PM »

I like sumac berries for a really long burn.  I also use ceder chips (animal bedding).  They burn fast but light easy


   Stag Horn Sumac & pine needles & dry rotten wood put green grass on top to cool the smoke.



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« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2009, 08:35:58 PM »

I like using dried up cow patties they are hard to get going but last a long time.  I usually use burlap on the bottom and cow patties on top.The burlap lights them.  I dont think they smell to bad and they are all over my corral plus the price is right if you know what I mean. STeve
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« Reply #21 on: June 12, 2009, 09:05:56 PM »

Quote
Where do you purchase a bale of pine needles??

Annette,  I get them like G3Farms said, from Home Depot or Pike's (landscaping). 

I actually have plenty of pine in my own yard - pine is plentiful here in the heart of Dixie - but I don't have the time to pick all the sticks out of what I can gather on the ground and when I think of doing it, it's usually wet from the last rain - so having a cheap, dry bale in my carport is fast, efficient and always available at the drop of a hat.  A full bale only costs about $4 - $5 - well worth it, I'd say.

Linda T in Atlanta
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« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2009, 10:20:23 PM »

was useing pellets ,, but hate it when they roll out in to the hive ....
was going to work and saw a tree trimmer putting trimmings into a chipper
stopped and asked for some chipps ,,  for me thats what I'll be useing ...
 a ltttle straw in ,, lite ,,   chipps ,,, lots of smoke
if there still green ,, put them in the sun on a small tarp ...
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« Reply #23 on: June 12, 2009, 10:22:36 PM »

Annette,

Lowe's keeps a couple of trucks of pine needles at the end of the building.  Pay at the register and they will have someone load it into your car/truck.  It only costs about $4.00.  As others have said, it is very convenient and effective.

I also mix in some green leaves sometimes to provide a nice cool smoke, it works nicely.

I was surprised that with so many posts nobody mentioned newspaper.
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« Reply #24 on: June 12, 2009, 10:32:23 PM »

I take cardboard and saw it on the table saw to get the right size, then roll it up, tape it and keep a bag of them on hand. I put a hand full of grass on top.
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« Reply #25 on: June 12, 2009, 11:08:01 PM »

why do you smoke?
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« Reply #26 on: June 13, 2009, 04:32:46 AM »

I use pine needels but kind of pricey. It's attached to the MORTGAGE Wink!
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« Reply #27 on: June 13, 2009, 07:53:42 AM »

why do you smoke?


This calms the bees down a bit and makes them gorge on honey, thinking their home is on fire and they will have to leave, also is a very good way to move bees around. A little smoke will go a long ways.

Some people wear gloves and some don't, you can smoke your hands a little before going into the bees and they will leave them alone for the most part.

If a bee stings you or your clothes just puff a little smoke on the spot after you pull the stinger, this will help to mask the attack pheromone.

Other will chime in and add to this.

G3
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those hot bees will have you steppin and a fetchin like your heads on fire and your @ss is a catchin!!!

Bees will be bees and do as they please!
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« Reply #28 on: June 13, 2009, 08:04:40 AM »

I have my own little system that works great and stays lit for a very long time!  I start the smoker with one piece of crumpled newspaper, and bring this to an aggressive flame.  Then add another piece of crumpled newspaper and again bring to an aggressive flame.  The newspaper burns down and the smoker begins to get hot.  We're about 1 minute into the process now.  Then add 1 handful of woodchips.  They don't have to be 100% dry, slightly damp is ok. Puff again until you have flames.  You will be almost choking on the smoke. then fill the smoker the rest of the way with wood chips and puff until you have a good cloud of smoke coming out.  It will be traveling across your yard and over to the neighbors'  rolleyes

Now close the lid and head to the hives.  It takes about 2-3 minutes to light, and I get through 4-5 hives before having to add fuel.  Adding fuel takes only 1 minute because the smoker is already hot.  You want the hot embers in the bottom of the smoker, and the damp chips on top to cool the smoke, which is why I add after 4-5  hives.  At that point if I go too much longer, the smoke gets hot, and the chips inside will eventually ignite, and you will have a flame thrower!

justgojumpit
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« Reply #29 on: June 13, 2009, 11:07:20 AM »

I use pine straw, around here you just pick it up by the hives or you can go to a thicket and fill a garbage bag full for free....
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« Reply #30 on: June 13, 2009, 02:25:05 PM »

I like burlap and bailing twine also. I scrounge around at the coffee shops and get free sacks. I know enough farmers that usually change twine spools every year rather than worry about old twine breaking in the machine as it is tied off and will give it to me instead of throwing it away.If you want to by new, any farm co-op will have it.
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« Reply #31 on: June 13, 2009, 08:26:38 PM »

I use pine needles but kind of pricey. It's attached to the MORTGAGE Wink!



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« Reply #32 on: June 13, 2009, 08:40:57 PM »

I've been using saw dust and wood shavings left from making pine hive boxes. Sometimes I also use the wood mulch that I put down in the yard.

I did use newspaper to start it up and had a whole method for trying to keep the thing going, now I just use the blow torch, works great. Starts it right up, then I keep it on hand in case I need to relight the smoker, no muss no fuss. I think that I read about it on the forum. I think that someone had said that they went on inspections with one of the BIG GUYS, like Michael Bush or someone, and that's what they were doing. It made so much sense..
Alfred
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« Reply #33 on: June 13, 2009, 10:16:20 PM »

Thanks again for the info. I am going to look at Home Depot first since it is close to my home, then Lowe's.

Good information,

Sincerely
Annette
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« Reply #34 on: June 13, 2009, 10:56:10 PM »

I used wheat straw and a little paper. It doesn't last to long but it does put out a lot of smoke. Good for a short work time.
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« Reply #35 on: June 13, 2009, 11:03:40 PM »

to the question, why do you smoke?

I don't really.  I light the smoker to use it to let the bees know I'm about to inspect the hive so I give a short puff or two at the door and then set the smoker down and don't pick it up again until I'm ready to move to the next hive.

I do like to have it lit since I occasionally have had a catastrophe occur - like dropping a frame full of bees or picking up the box and the inner cover is stuck to it and it drops, crushing bees.  Things like that seem to rile up the hive pretty badly and I am glad then to have the smoker to calm things down.


We've been doing teaching inspections at the Blue Heron and the participants are amazed that I don't smoke the bees but we have great inspections and so far, knock on wood, nobody has been stung.

Linda T in the N Ga mountains for the weekend
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« Reply #36 on: June 14, 2009, 02:39:38 PM »

 wood pellets for horse bedding work real well but if you have cedar trees around they constantly drop and blanket the ground rake this up or scoop it up it works great makes lots of smoke and best of all it's free. My bees are next to cedars so I use it often and it smells good at least I think so.
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« Reply #37 on: June 14, 2009, 11:16:46 PM »

Pellet stove fuel is hard to light but gives off good smoke and lasts a LONG time.  Put some grass on top of it to keep it from pouring out the spout.  Cedar shavings (pet bedding product) work well and smell good  Smiley but the smoke can get a bit hot if the bellows are pumped excessively.  Barley straw works very good but doesn't last long.  Grass clippings work good but stink.
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« Reply #38 on: June 15, 2009, 05:31:07 AM »

Some baler twine is chemically treated.
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« Reply #39 on: June 15, 2009, 06:57:32 AM »

PIne needles , my yard is  over full of them. They work great, I don't bag em, probly should but they dry out  pretty quick after a rain.
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« Reply #40 on: June 15, 2009, 08:01:33 AM »

Hessian (or burlap in your part of the woods) is my media of choice. Easily started with a blow torch and stays alight until it is fully burnt (usually)

I am smoking less and yesterday did a full inspection of 1 hive, another super only and today another super only with no smoke and veil only. The girls were less happy but not cantankerous.. only 1 headbanger and no stiings. Think I will stay with a little smoke

Mick
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« Reply #41 on: June 15, 2009, 05:03:23 PM »

I use pine needles.  I just scope out some areas along roads or in my neighborhood with alot of pine trees and fill up a bucket.  It lasts for several weeks. 

Also, you could consider going to a lunder yard or saw mill and picking up shavings.  I use shavings as well.  Sawdust does not work so well but shavings do. 
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« Reply #42 on: June 15, 2009, 05:17:40 PM »

Pine chips,

sold in big bags at the pet store for hamster cages for a couple of bucks.  Lights well, stays lit, smokes well.
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« Reply #43 on: June 16, 2009, 11:23:36 AM »

I use paper to start my smoker then dry grass and good wad of hemp bailing twine. to bad the us goverment does not alow the growth of hemp in the states it legal to have and buy. But to many people think hemp is the same as its cousin Pot. had to clairify what hemp is so not to make every one think I am a druggie also burlap is 100% hemp.
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« Reply #44 on: June 16, 2009, 01:07:20 PM »

Interesting to see the full variety of fuels used. 

When I started one of my mentors got me started using cut up 100% cotton jeans with some green grass thrown on top.  I like the cool smoke that this produced, but the sap/moisture from the grass gummed up the lid and made it harder to close.  I did stick with this for quite a while, and the only drawback was that when I did my larger yard, I wanted my small-capacity smoker to go a little longer before burning out.

Recently, I switched to the dark side and tried some pieces of dried out hard and soft maple, along with the dead bark.  I think I really hit on something with hardwood, because the dried bark lights with a candle lighter torch, and if you get it going well, it's really easy to get the dry hardwood going too, and once you throw the lid shut, it makes great smoke with that awesome hardwood smell.  Pack the smoker full of chunks of this, and it will go for much longer than some of the other items, and still burns hot enough that it's easy with a few good squeezes of the smoker to get new chunks going.  Squeeze repeatedly until you have a good high roaring flame, throw the lid shut, and enjoy your time with the bees!
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« Reply #45 on: June 16, 2009, 05:50:47 PM »

I used wheat straw and a little paper. It doesn't last to long but it does put out a lot of smoke. Good for a short work time.


try twisting the straw to form a kind of rope it will last a lot longer , ... good cool smoke
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