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Author Topic: What is a reccommend smoke material  (Read 4121 times)
garlicfarmer
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« on: September 08, 2012, 01:39:16 PM »

I am looking for adviice for an abundant smoke material that will not stay in the honey and is cool to the bees.  I am also seeking advice on feeding the bees in the winter.  I have been researching brewers yeast does any one any expereince with brewers yeast.  Thanks Tom
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Joe D
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« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2012, 01:51:32 PM »

People use hay, grass, pine needles, wood chips, most anything.  I just give them a couple of puffs in the entrance and a puff or two under the lid, wait a minute and open hive.  I haven't used brewers yeast, but I used to make some wine and just used baking yeast it was easy find.  On the feeding bees in the winter, if their stores are low you feed or lose them.  I try to leave plenty honey for my bees.  Good luck with yours.



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mikecva
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« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2012, 04:22:17 PM »

I use pine needles to get things started and burning well. I then add grass to help cool the smoke down. If I am going in the hive for only a few minutes, I use a spray bottle with 1:1 sugar water. I never use smoke within a week of pulling the honey.  -Mike
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« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2012, 07:49:53 PM »

I am looking for adviice for an abundant smoke material that will not stay in the honey and is cool to the bees.  I am also seeking advice on feeding the bees in the winter.  I have been researching brewers yeast does any one any expereince with brewers yeast.  Thanks Tom

I see you are in Michigan and you are going to feed bees in the winter oh bees do not fly will at 40F or so



     BEE HAPPY Jim 134 Smiley
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T Beek
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« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2012, 08:45:42 AM »

I've used 'unprinted' rolled cardboard as a smoke medium for several years now.  Cut to size and rolled to fit tightly inside the smoker.  Start w/ a few scraps of lit paper placed in bottom of smoker, placing roll inside while puffing.  It lights easy, 'always' sends out cool smoke, never goes out and can last for over an hour once started.  

Discovering this method changed my beekeeping life for the better.

Feeding;  Leave them the majority of any honey after mid-August, maybe later in your region, not sure.  As Insurance at winter wrap up, I pour dry sugar (5-10lbs) above/around the inner cover, hole open and inside an empty super with 2" rigid insulation on top of sugar, then covered by telescoping cover.  Sometimes by Spring they get to the sugar, sometimes they don't, but its just insurance and hopefully they have enough honey instead.

t
« Last Edit: September 09, 2012, 08:57:31 AM by T Beek » Logged

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AllenF
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« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2012, 08:48:51 AM »

Leaves right off the ground out of the woods from around the hive.
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yelnifok
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« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2012, 12:08:43 PM »

Not to get anyones knickers in a twist but if your a hobby beek and working/inspecting your own hives you might try it without the smoke a few times. I don't us smoke ,on my hives period... I watch thee barometer- if it is changing ,I'll work on a canoe or something. Once the bar. stabilizes I go to work on them and seldom get stung but these are my bee's and I believe they know me and know I'll go slow and steady- Ive been caught talking to them. Don't know if this approach is "it" or not but they claim -plants grow better, so why not honeybees'. And just so it don't get started- NO I don't know all their names' beat a dead horse grin
   lee
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T Beek
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« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2012, 01:00:00 PM »

I must agree w/ yelnifok.  Use smoke sparingly and only if needed.  That said, and after a few bad days, I never enter my beeyard w/out a lit smoker.  Sometimes I need it, sometimes I don't, but its no fun for me or my bees if I have to go running back up to get a smoker, leaving my bees exposed. 

Having it lit and nearby is a comfort.  I've been stung just once this season, back in April when one of my bees got tangled in my hair and I wasn't wearing a veil (I don't do that too often, go w/out a veil that is).

t
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Lazy W
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« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2012, 11:54:58 PM »

I use Good ole hay. It's plentiful and easy to get going.
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danno
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« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2012, 08:04:56 AM »

garlicfarmer
If you want to stockpile a good free long burning fuel in our area try summac berries.  Just break the red pods off and let them dry in a bucket over winter. 
I dont feed pollen in fall.  The bee's in our area have so many natural pollens to haul home I dont believe they need more.  Spring is a different story.   I pull supers early giving them half of august, all of sept and oct to work golden rod and aster.  If they are still light I give them a couple of gallons of heavy syrup in early oct but this seldom happens.   I give every colony a candy board or 2 and abit of insulation on top.  Add a mouse guard and wish them luck.   This year I setup a new yard of 20 colonies and put a excluder above the first hive body.  I checked a few of these last weekend and they have very heavy second stories.  Next month I will pull these excluders and should have bee's and food right where I want it
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KD4MOJ
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« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2012, 10:36:34 AM »

Pine straw works well for me. rake it up, store it dry and it's always there for me.

...DOUG
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d_fixitman
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« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2012, 08:59:20 AM »

Rolled strip of cardboard the drop in pine shavings that you buy for pet bedding. A five pound bag has lasted all summer and still have plenty. For feeding just google fondant or candy board. You will find a bunch of options and many opinions.
Do your own thing and remember there will always be a wise 4$$ telling you your doing it wrong.

Good luck. Dwayne
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T Beek
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« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2012, 09:04:34 AM »

 Smiley
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danno
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« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2012, 12:44:56 PM »

      "there will always be a wise 4$$ telling you your doing it wrong"
this statement just rubs me wrong coming from a guy that has 5 colonies and 4 months experience
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hardwood
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« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2012, 12:50:37 PM »

BTW, you're doing it wrong...everone knows that you spell it "wize azz"  grin

Scott
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danno
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« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2012, 02:56:03 PM »

BTW, you're doing it wrong...everone knows that you spell it "wize azz"  grin

Scott
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rober
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« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2012, 06:08:23 PM »

i find my bees are truly calmed when i smoke them with pot. problem is they keep following me & the smoker around afterwards & get lazy.......actually i put several small pieces of natural charcoal & coarse sawdust from a planer or jointer not from a saw & light it with a propane torch
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T Beek
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« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2012, 06:15:35 PM »

 cool, never thought of pot.  It would be a real drag to go to jail for what,,,,contributing to bees?

t
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danno
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« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2012, 06:40:09 PM »

here again your doing it wrong.  If you smoke with pot they eat to much
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Lazy W
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« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2012, 11:12:15 PM »

Yeah They can't get any Twinkies so they will have to munch out on honey. :mrgreen:LOL
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annette
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« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2012, 11:46:37 PM »

I use pine needles, but now I am using nothing at all. I never did get the apiary weed wacked down properly and I was afraid of starting a fire, so I did not smoke them.

My friend Joanne doesn't smoke them either and yesterday I helped her with her bees and got stung about 20 times in my gloves. A few of the stingers got through my thick leather gloves. With no smoke to use on my gloves, they just kept coming.

I love pine needles though.

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JP
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« Reply #21 on: September 14, 2012, 08:20:23 AM »

Been using burlap for a while but been buying big rolls of it. The price just about doubled. Been using pine needles but in a jam as others mentioned just about any dry fuel will work. I would stay clear of pine bark though, lots of resin there making for a super hot burn, too hot!

I did a removal a few years back and there was a guy on site smoking whacky tobaccy. I had him smoke the hive with it out of curiosity. Wink I did not see anything out of the ordinary. They acted as if they were smoked with any other fuel. Not even one twinkie request.  grin


...JP
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T Beek
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« Reply #22 on: September 14, 2012, 08:40:48 AM »

Did their eyes get bloodshot?  Wink,

I've used most of the materials mentioned on this page but always return to rolled cardboard, sized to fit tightly, lit from the bottom w/ a few scraps of paper, lights easy, stays lit for an hour or more and always blows cool smoke.

t
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Finski
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« Reply #23 on: September 14, 2012, 09:52:59 AM »


The best here is rotten birch. It debends on mushroom species, what makes it suitable.

All which make strom smoke, like grass or needle, makes much tar. It glues the smoker, and even worse it gives odor to honey.

Tar vapour condensates on the surfaces of the hive. You may taste the odor  of smoke in the cappings' honey and it is not pleasant.


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T Beek
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« Reply #24 on: September 14, 2012, 11:11:05 AM »

I keep my smoker clean by flaming it w/ a propane torch between every couple uses.  Tar scrapes off easily afterwards.

t
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« Reply #25 on: September 14, 2012, 01:29:13 PM »

.
My smoker has no tar because I use  such fuels .

I do not rember how old is  my recent smoker, perhaps  15 y old,
but it has no running tar. And the  cap does not  glue itself locked.
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JP
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« Reply #26 on: September 15, 2012, 10:06:42 AM »

If a smoker lasts me two seasons I am lucky. Four years I would be ecstatic! 15 years, what I put them through would be a miracle!  Wink


...JP
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« Reply #27 on: September 15, 2012, 11:36:18 AM »

If a smoker lasts me two seasons I am lucky.

my friend here nearby drive with car every year over one smoker.

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« Reply #28 on: September 15, 2012, 12:22:53 PM »

I'm just a hobby beek but using a tin can insert w/ some holes drilled through bottom will have your smokers lasting many years (just replace the can insert each year). 

I've got a 'large capacity' copper one from the early 70's that I still use if I need to visit several colonies in a day, might only use it once or twice per season though.

t
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JP
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« Reply #29 on: September 16, 2012, 01:35:38 AM »

If a smoker lasts me two seasons I am lucky.

my friend here nearby drive with car every year over one smoker.

.

I ran over the one before last with my trailer. That was a first, hopefully a last. embarassed

I drop them from ladders quite a bit.  tongue


...JP


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hjon71
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« Reply #30 on: February 18, 2013, 04:53:12 AM »

It's all new to me but I get thick cool smoke from dried leaves. They are plentiful and free smiley
If my smoker gets weak I pop the top pack more in pump a few times then close the top. Works best if you pack it tightly.
I may have to try the can idea just to see...
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Simon
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« Reply #31 on: February 18, 2013, 06:53:17 AM »

I'll second JP's burlap idea.  I have only ever used burlap or hessian, usually old potato bags rolled up tight and chopped off into appropriate lengths with the axe - lasts pretty well and if the fuel gets low, you can chuck in another roll of spud bag and keep on smoking.  I've got a stash of nice thick stuff in the shed ready for future use.  I still have my Grandfather's smoker (used hard commercially by him) and it is in great condition except for needing new leather on the bellows (beyond duct tape now  Cry ).  The barrel is made of brass, so maybe that has contributed to it's long life or maybe the potato bag fuel, ...that and not being used for the last 20 years,  but it is probably 60+ years old.
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10framer
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« Reply #32 on: February 18, 2013, 08:02:03 AM »

pine straw.  i haven't been to michigan in almost 40 years so i don't remember if you guys have a lot of pine trees.  if not i would think you could buy it by the bail at garden centers.
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« Reply #33 on: February 18, 2013, 08:14:01 AM »

also, you can work the bees with no smoke during a good honey flow.  if the field force is sitting around the hive with nothing to do they get a little "stingy".  this also depends on the attitude of the the individual hive.  most of my bees are fairly easily stirred right now and i like somewhat defensive bees.  if they are geared toward defending the hive i want to think they are focused on hive beetles as well as bears and beekeepers.
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Finski
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« Reply #34 on: February 18, 2013, 08:18:11 AM »

pine straw.  i haven't been to michigan in almost 40 years so i don't remember if you guys have a lot of pine trees.  if not i would think you could buy it by the bail at garden centers.

That is the worst what you can imagine. The smoke is gaseous tar. It condensates on comb surface and makes to  the honey chimney odor.
It is not good to bees either.

Pine wood, if you have not seen them

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D Semple
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« Reply #35 on: February 18, 2013, 10:06:50 AM »

I get nice thick heavy burlap for free from a local coffee company that brings in fresh beans. If you have a local coffee roaster knock on their door.

The same coffee bean bags can also be gotten from pipe fitters on commercial building sites who use them for shipping smaller parts.

Don
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« Reply #36 on: February 18, 2013, 07:21:04 PM »

Pine needles mixed with dried grass works great for me. I pick it up after mowing the yard and let it sun dry for a few days. Sometimes it is hard to keep lit so I will drop a lighted charcoal bricket in the bottom of the smoker before loading the rest of the fuel. In a pinch dried leaves or anything else laying around the bee yard.
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« Reply #37 on: February 19, 2013, 09:20:19 AM »

I'll use just about anything as long as it's 100% plant material.  I always start the smoker with newpaper.  Like Don, I was using free coffee jute sacks but my source dried up.  Be careful getting burlap, it's normally treated with a petroleum of some sort as a preservative.  Smell it, if it smells like oil of any form you don't want to use it.  Coffee bags are safe as fuel as coffee roasters don't want their beans smelling of petroleum.

Lately I've been using worn out 100% cotton blue jeans (cut into 3" strips) and T-shirts (cut into quarters) as the main smoker fuel.  It's easy to wad up and carry a few, it's free, and a wadded strip or two seems to last for hours, even multiple lightings.   In a pinch a tight wad of weeds and leaves from around the hive works fine but it doesn't seem to last very long.
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« Reply #38 on: February 19, 2013, 09:45:55 AM »

New beek here myself, last summer was my first season ... rarely smoked the bees, there was no need to ... they were so focused on what they were doing, they never gave me the time of day.  I used a spray bottle with 1:1 syrup and it worked great. I know from another beek that the rolled up cardboard works really nice.  I've also heard that wood pellets work great too.  Now come the fall, it was every man for himself ... the girls really didn't like to be worked on at all.  Very aggressive most of the fall ... seemed like there was nothing I could do to keep them happy.  I think they were on guard given the wasps that were around.  There was no robbing that I could tell but I was chased a couple of times up the laneway. 
One should also purchase the bigger of the smokers too, much easier to light and keep going!   
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« Reply #39 on: February 19, 2013, 09:49:48 AM »

The right amount of smoke is very little.  The wrong amount is none or a lot....
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