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Author Topic: NewBee Classic ?: Keeping Smokers Lit  (Read 4082 times)
sawdstmakr
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« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2012, 12:32:45 PM »

When the bees are at the farm, I build the smoker with pine needles as per below and if I plan to keep it lit for a long time I put a piece of dried cow patty on top of the pine needles. Most of the time it is still in there and has to be snuffed out. If it is good and dry, it doesn't smell bad and it lasts a long time. I'm sure your local farmers would not mind if you asked if you could stock up some.  grin
Jim
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NasalSponge
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« Reply #21 on: April 18, 2012, 08:55:48 PM »

I start mine with some waded up newspaper (using a self lighting propane torch like BTSW) slam in a wad of burlap and shazam...nice cool smoke for hours.
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morb
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« Reply #22 on: April 18, 2012, 10:45:25 PM »

Two words.

Baling twine.

Sisal or plastic? Don't really see sisal much any more
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beyondthesidewalks
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« Reply #23 on: April 18, 2012, 11:50:15 PM »

"I put a piece of dried cow patty on top of the pine needles"

I've got plenty of that lying around but hadn't tried it in my smoker yet.  I've read stories of indians using buffalo chips and pioneers using cow patties but have never tried it.  How's the aroma and how do the bees take to it?
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indypartridge
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« Reply #24 on: April 19, 2012, 07:21:05 AM »

Quote
Two words.

Baling twine.

Quote
Sisal or plastic? Don't really see sisal much any more
Definitely not the plastic! And if you've got sisal, you want to be SURE it's not the treated stuff. Most baling twine has been chemically treated. Sometimes treated twine is colored green or orange, but not always. Probably not a good idea to smoke your bees with sisal that was treated with pesticides and rodenticides.
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beyondthesidewalks
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« Reply #25 on: April 19, 2012, 09:53:00 AM »

"Brazil smoker is the biggest smoker I can find."

http://s155.photobucket.com/albums/s313/Tomas_fotos/?action=view&current=smoker.jpg

Another large smoker for you.  Check out the rest of this album.  It gives a very neat insight to beekeeping with AHB.  Also, I admire the industriousness of these beekeepers, making what they need in a country where you can't just go down the road and purchase it.
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Grandpa Jim
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« Reply #26 on: April 19, 2012, 10:50:34 AM »

Like Sparky said..Put a can inside the smoker.  Find a can that will fit inside with some slop space around it.  Use an old type can opener (the kind that makes a triangle hole) and put a few holes in the botom and sides.  Light as stated stuffing fuel into the can...Air can get around fuel and it will stay lit.
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sawdstmakr
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« Reply #27 on: April 19, 2012, 11:34:59 AM »

"I put a piece of dried cow patty on top of the pine needles"

I've got plenty of that lying around but hadn't tried it in my smoker yet.  I've read stories of indians using buffalo chips and pioneers using cow patties but have never tried it.  How's the aroma and how do the bees take to it?

It doesn't smell bad to me. Just don't use the fresh stuff.  grin That's a different story.
Jim
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WPG
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« Reply #28 on: April 20, 2012, 12:21:37 AM »



Quote
I like the idea of bailing twine.   I'm a yarn dyer and I have a lot of spare yarn.   I'll bet with
a little practice, I could use that. 


If the yarn and dye is plant based it may be ok.
Animal based usually smells like burning hair and is obnoxious to the bees and keeper.

Most parks have some pine trees. Gather up the fallen needles and save them in an old bucket.
Twine scraps, burlap, dried leaves, brown grass any thing that is well dried.

And of course practice.

Goodluck
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David McLeod
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« Reply #29 on: April 20, 2012, 07:14:31 AM »

Untreated sisal if you can find it.
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« Reply #30 on: April 23, 2012, 01:45:07 PM »

Eric lit the smoker yesterday with the torch.   It had a charcoal briquette, some dry sumac berries, some toilet paper, some pellets, and some cardboard in it from previous attempts.  He ventilated it like crazy and we had fabulous smoke for hours.   

Thanks for all the help!
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edward
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« Reply #31 on: April 23, 2012, 04:33:24 PM »

I use my smoker only when needed, and then i want it to work at once.

The easiest to get lighted and smoke from fast is the soft boards that they make bulletin boards of. Its a soft fibrous material made from sawdust and wood shavings.

Part and fray a corner and light with 1-2 matches and your off  grin fast easy never fails  happy campers

mvh edward  tongue
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #32 on: April 23, 2012, 11:42:51 PM »

>A classic question from a NewBee: how does one keep a smoker lit?

Oxygen is the secret.

http://www.bushfarms.com/beesmisc.htm#smokerinsert

> Besides bellows failure, do smokers wear out?

They get clogged with creosote.  A torch will burn it out...

>I inherited two old but usable smokers, but they fail to keep going. Each lasts about the time for one hive's observation. Then I have to relight every time I move to the next hive which of course is a pain.

Good fuel is also essential.  Burlap is my favorite but the ability to stay lit is an important aspect of fuel.  Cool burning is another.  Starting a fire with small dry sticks and letting it burn down to coals makes a nice basis that stays lit.
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beyondthesidewalks
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« Reply #33 on: April 24, 2012, 12:57:28 AM »

Eric lit the smoker yesterday with the torch.   It had a charcoal briquette, some dry sumac berries, some toilet paper, some pellets, and some cardboard in it from previous attempts.  He ventilated it like crazy and we had fabulous smoke for hours.   

Thanks for all the help!

Glad it worked out.  Sounds like y'all had a little bit of every kind of fuel imaginable in that smoker.
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hardwood
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« Reply #34 on: April 27, 2012, 06:06:52 PM »

Lighting a smoker with pine straw fuel


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jataylor
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« Reply #35 on: May 25, 2012, 11:16:23 AM »

>Every spring I encourage new beekeepers to practice with their smokers before their bees arrive. It's a skill. Different fuels work differently, and some work better for me than others. The basics are to start the fire at the bottom, keep adding fuel and pumping the bellows until it's really burning, then pack it down. But it takes some practice to actually make it work!

This is probably the best advice I've seen.  There is nothing like practice.   Wink
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yockey5
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« Reply #36 on: May 26, 2012, 12:22:56 PM »

I use discarded frames (broken up of course), and pine needles.
I have 2 gunny sacks of wood shavings in the barn, but have not used any of them yet.
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CapnChkn
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« Reply #37 on: May 26, 2012, 12:30:20 PM »

I have a small smoker, and have never had problems keeping it lit for hours on end.  The secret is to use a heat source.  When you build a wood fire, there will be charcoals in the ashes when it's cool.  Collect those and use a handful when you light the smoker.  Put them in a metal flat container, light one with a flame, blow on them until they're red hot, and dump them in the bottom of the smoker.

Pack your smoking material on top.  I usually break a bunch of small twigs to help replenish the coals when they burn down, and stuff the top full of dry leaves or grass.  Pine needles, wood shavings, pulverized manure, anything that will insulate.  Don't try sawdust, it just blows out when you pump the bellows shooting little coals around.

The formula, as any good scout can tell you, is the "fire triangle."  Heat, Fuel, Oxygen.  The coals supply the heat, the dried fuel material insulates against the coals cooling, and the bellows supply the oxygen.  Once the twigs are lit I have no trouble keeping anything actually smoking.  In fact, I have to keep moving the smoker to keep the smoke out of my lungs.

Should the inspections last longer than the smoker, I simply open and drop more twigs in, catch them on fire and reload with whatever's handy.
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carlfaba10t
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« Reply #38 on: May 26, 2012, 04:03:13 PM »

 Lots of post here so here,s mine; I think the smoker i have is considered small,but seems to work well.The first time i tried it i used some grass i had mowed 3-4 days before it was fairly dry on top but still showed a little green on bottom.So first lite tite wadded up ball of paper towel and lower to bottom,mine has metal piece with holes and 4 spring loaded straps to hold up until you push it down,then cram dry grass on top and pump until lots of smoke and [sparks from bottom hole ] now cram dry mixed with some not so dry grass on top and shove it in tight.pump some more until lots of smoke.With a little pump about every 15-20 min mine was still going after sitting unattended for 1 hr.Had to cork it to put it out.Not bad for first time i guess. Like behondthesidewalks says get rough with it. grin
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Beeboy01
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« Reply #39 on: May 26, 2012, 10:09:57 PM »

I use pine needles mainly because there are a lot of pine trees around my property. One thing that works is taking the ends of pine branches that are loaded with pine needles and hanging them out to dry, I use the fence around the bee yard to hang them on till they turn brown and then bag them up. One of the guy's in the local bee club brought in a gizmo which he uses to bundle smoker fuel with. It was a piece of PVC tubing cut lenght wise and slotted for twine. It looked like you laid the twine down in the piece of tubing and then piled pine needles or whatever in the tubing. Once it was packed tight it got tied up with the twine into a nice smoker sized cartridge which could be lit from one end and dropped into the smoker.
  The bottom grate needs to be kept clear of ashes and really needs to be in the smoker the right way. If it is upside down the fuel can't get any air. Guess how I figured that one out grin Pratice, Pratice, Pratice 
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