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Author Topic: corn cobs for smoker fuel  (Read 904 times)
sterling
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« on: February 21, 2013, 06:48:12 PM »

I was stumbling around the internet and saw this on the West Virginia Beekeepers news letter. What do you think?

Did you know? Using corn products (cobs, husks, leaves) as smoker fuel is detrimental to your bees !!! They produce a smoke that kills bees hours to days after exposure. Commonly used fuel sources include: burlap bags, rags, cardboard, wood chips/pellets, compressed cotton, pine shavings, eucalyptus leaves, and broken pine needles.
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hardwood
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« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2013, 07:42:10 PM »

When I worked with REDBEE for they honey season in S.D. corn cobs soaked in old motor oil was all we used. As far as I know they were all that were ever used over 30yrs. Lighting the smoker was a learning curve but once lit, they would burn a good while. I sure didn't notice any harm being done to the bees.

Scott
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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2013, 07:58:31 PM »

like Scott said every commercial beekeeper in the mid west that I know uses corn cobs and have for over 50 years ,we use to bring drums filled with cobs to Texas for smoker fuel because they worked so well and could be picked up anywhere in the corn belt

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Vance G
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« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2013, 10:12:22 PM »

I like pine straw (last years needles) it is always available under any longneedles evergreen.  My favorite is old gunny sacks/burlap/jute bags.  Not enough corn cobs here for the outhouse and penny's just dropped their catalog.  Hard times coming. 
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greenbtree
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« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2013, 10:58:13 PM »

Maybe somebody got a contaminated batch.

JC
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rwurster
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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2013, 01:24:15 AM »

I gather a trashcan full of cobs and a trashcan full of husks out of our field every year for use as smoker fuel.  That's pretty much all i've ever used in my apiary.
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10framer
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« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2013, 07:37:54 AM »

i would say that pine straw has been used for at least 100 years down here in the south.  too much of any kind of smoke is bad for the bees and probably kills some.  a couple of puffs in the entrance followed by one or top as you open the top should be all you need to get through most hives.
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Moots
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« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2013, 07:41:43 AM »

OK...I'm not in Virginia and will probably never have the opportunity to use corn cobs as smoker fuel.  

That being said, things like this spike my curiosity.... grin

I shot an email off to the president of the WVBA along with a link to this thread explaining that this bit of information seemed to be new news to everyone here.  Asked if he could supply some further information as to theory or science to support this recommendation.  

When/if I get a response, I'll be sure to post.  Smiley
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fshrgy99
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« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2013, 09:51:44 AM »

Although I am a newbee I have talked to a lot of the commercial producers locally and hear over and over again that our bee populations in Ontario are decimated the week they plant the corn. The suggested cause is seed corn treated with pesticide. Since this is a modern innovation I wonder if these cobs used in smokers might also be affected by traces of the same pesticide? (Just wondering 'out loud')
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Intheswamp
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« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2013, 10:19:05 AM »

Well fshrgy99, the same thoughts were passing through my mind...primarily neonicotinoids possibly being present in the cobs.  Research has found that a liquid given off by young corn plants whose seed has been treated by neonicotinoids is deadly to honey bees (but thankfully the bees don't really care much for it...as long as other nectar sources are present) so I could see have chemicals could end up being in the cob.  Having said that, cotton is heavily poisoned and many folks use trash that is gleaned from harvested fields...I've heard cautions given about using it but never an outright report of it harming some bees.  Making burning it neutralizes the poisons?  Like 10framer said, though, too much of any kind of smoke isn't good for the bees.

Ed
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