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Author Topic: Okay let's flame about smokers  (Read 14166 times)
JMN
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« Reply #60 on: July 03, 2007, 01:37:05 PM »

Hi everyone.  In reading all the comments about smoker fuel, I don't see anybody mentioning horse pellets.  In my opinion it is the best, it is cheap and readily available.  The only disadvantage I find is that it cannot be used freshly made.  Once it is dry it lights easy and burns a long time.  Try it you may like it.

JMN
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« Reply #61 on: July 03, 2007, 02:04:16 PM »

JMN:

That is interesting, I'm thinking horse pellets as in Cow-patties now (even if you aren't) I had a hive once on a small farm - I'll never forget that their dog couldn't wait for their horse to dump before chowing down on it  rolleyes I'll never forget the owner saying, "Okay, I know it's gross, but I feed two pets for the price of one!" - lol.

I never found anything objectionable about horse patties - it goes in and out of the horse so quickly I don't think it has much going on in their besides hay and alfalfa (I think it is the alfalfa the dog really liked) I imagine it might be great fuel, cow patties sure heated many a cowboys dinner.

I'm blown away that this post has made it 5 pages long now. It is interesting to see what people can and do burn in their smokers. I'm lucky to get free burlap, cleaned and ready to burn. It's a cool and long lasting smoke, you just need to be sure you get the fire out first, or you have a blowtorch on your hands.

Good posts everyone!!!!!
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« Reply #62 on: July 03, 2007, 02:06:27 PM »

sean, i use the pellet stove pellets sometimes also.  i have no problem with tar buildup.  maybe the answer is to buy the higher grade pellets?  our pellet stoves are our only heat, so we buy the good pellets by the ton.
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« Reply #63 on: July 03, 2007, 02:35:58 PM »

don't wanna destroy such a nice tread but i just want to add my 2 cents.
i don't use a smoker, i just can't get it lit, but heck...i just use a piece of beech tree fungus or a thing that you can buy around here, called "smokey". i think it's just paper treated in a way that it doesn't really burn, much like carboard.
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BEE C
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« Reply #64 on: July 04, 2007, 12:48:55 AM »

I use shredded paper because I have to get rid of it anyway.  Spagnum moss over that to cool the smoke.  I have a really bad tar buildup though on the smoker.  How long is a smoker supposed to last?  Mine has lasted from last year but I might retire it soon due to tar buildup. 
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« Reply #65 on: July 04, 2007, 07:20:37 AM »

Bee C
Leave the lid open with plenty of air,put in some paper and when the fire is warm enough it will burn off the tar. you can scrape a lot of it away with your hive tool too.
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sean
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« Reply #66 on: July 04, 2007, 09:19:28 AM »

SHORT STORY

Finished up at the apriary one day, hooked my smoker in the back of the pickup as i normally do and drove off. I am there driving along. this truck comes up behind me and begins to blow. thinking he just wants to pass i ignore him and continue, he eventually passes. Another vehicle comes up and does the same thing. I come to a stop light and a driver shouts to me there is smoke in the back of the van. I say "Yeah man i know" and start driving again. Shortly after i notice smoke wafting past. A couple seconds later it occurs to me that thats a lot of smoke. Needless to say by the time i stop and get out, the bedliner is on fire and i have no water.  Luckily somebody selling on the roadside had some water which we got to put out the fire.

a tad off topic but i thought i would share. Oh, I use cardboard or wood chips. which ever is drier and closer at hand
   
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« Reply #67 on: July 04, 2007, 02:40:27 PM »

I once heard someone saying that using tobacco in the smoker is a good way to 'stun' varroa mites. Is there any truth in this?

Tobacco smoke is frequently used in greenhouses to kill whiteflies. The nicotine in it is toxic to many insects. I think it's a bad idea to use it to smoke bees.

My smoker has the grate, too. Putting it in legs down gives an air pocket to keep the bellows hole clear. I start mine with a wad of newspaper and some thin pieces of dry pine building scrap.  On top of that I place some bailing twine, which burns nicely and makes white smoke. Baling twine should be the brownish red color; don't use treated twine, which is greenish. You can buy it in 1000' rolls for about $40. I get mine from Boy Scout lashing projects.

I think there are three keys to the smoker:
1) you need something that burns hot at first to ignite the fire (newspaper)
2) you need something that creates coals that will keep it going (wood, sticks, charcoal)
3) you need something to produce the smoke (twine)

When I've left out the pine, the smoker went out.

For easier lighting you might try cardboard egg carton dipped in parrafin. My scout troop makes these for firestarters. We melt down old candles in a coffee can, dip ripped up pieces of carton in, and let it harden. They burn very nicely.

Kev

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« Reply #68 on: July 04, 2007, 04:50:58 PM »

Sean, ha, funny story.

Bee C.  My smoker got a really thick build up on the lid that I didn't even realize was there until I looked into things a little deeper.  On the inside of the lid I saw one one which led to the exit hole of the lid.  It looked like it was rather plugged up, so I put the hive tool edge into it and started to scrape.  I got carried away with my anal nature and lo and behold!!!!  After scraping away, there were about 5 holes that were completely covered over.  I forgot that there were several holes in the top lid of the smoker (of course only one leading to the outside).  So, it cleaned up simply and easily, took a little bit of elbow greese to scrape it off, but I bet you can.  Have a wonderful day, great life.  Cindi
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« Reply #69 on: July 04, 2007, 05:15:22 PM »

Hi everyone.
I need some details on smokers. I have one. I use it pretty well but probably not as well as I would like to. So in order to improve my smoker skills, I am going toask you to give in detail how you use your smokers.

I don't! Smiley

I only use sugar water spray! Wink

-Nathanael cool
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Cindi
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« Reply #70 on: July 04, 2007, 05:19:56 PM »

Nathanael.  That is good for you, yeah!!!  I smoke the bees first and then use sugar water spray to spray the bees once I remove the inner cover, so I actually use both.  Have a great day.  Cindi
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« Reply #71 on: July 04, 2007, 05:56:34 PM »

So what exactly does the water and sugar do?
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Beaches Bee-Haven Apiary
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« Reply #72 on: July 04, 2007, 07:04:09 PM »

So what exactly does the water and sugar do?

Well, the smoker calms the bees because they become preoccupied with eating honey out of the cells. When I spray 1:1 sugar water on them they start cleaning it up and get preoccupied with eating it. It also gets them all sticky and makes it difficult for them to fly, than they'll start cleaning themselves off as well. In my opinion it's better and more efficient to open a hive, spray them, and let them eat the sugar water instead of eating honey they've already worked to produce, which is what the smoker makes them do.

BTW, Just took a medium of honey off of a hive that recently swarmed, they're back at it in full force!

-Nathanael cool
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JP
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« Reply #73 on: July 04, 2007, 07:18:37 PM »

If you deal with a hive that's in a bad mood and you don't smoke them, you will the next time. Sometimes they will react very quickly and I think the smoke will give you an edge. If you open that same hive without smoking them they may fly out at you and sting you, and this happens very quickly.
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« Reply #74 on: July 04, 2007, 09:42:30 PM »

Well makes sense, I will try that next time!

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JMN
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« Reply #75 on: July 04, 2007, 11:33:05 PM »

Beemaster,

I have to fight with my dogs too sometime for the horse pellets.  What they don't eat is what I use in the smoker - lol

JNM
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Cindi
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« Reply #76 on: July 05, 2007, 05:49:55 AM »

Yep, we have had horses.  I always thought that the dogs like the freshest ones that they could get their mouths into.  And then there was when the farrier would come and do the shoeing.  The hoof trims were the favourite and they would chew on them for hours.

There are many uses for horse puckies, am thinking I am going to get my sister to gather a bucket for me from her farm, give that a whirl, I believe they would be excellent dried and used in the smoker.  She has quarter horses, so the puckies are pretty large.  Wonder where I could find a Clydesdale  grin  Have a wonderful day, great life, Cindi
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« Reply #77 on: July 05, 2007, 06:47:28 AM »

Hi everyone.
I need some details on smokers. I have one. I use it pretty well but probably not as well as I would like to. So in order to improve my smoker skills, I am going toask you to give in detail how you use your smokers.

I don't! Smiley

I only use sugar water spray! Wink

-Nathanael cool
Like Cindi, I occasionally use both a sugar spray and smoke, but there are a couple of advantages to smoke that makes it worth always having a lit smoker standing by. As JP noted, sometimes the girls are cranky and will come after you. I can step back and make a cloud of smoke around me to settle them down. Sometimes I might actually get stung a time or two and I can use smoke to mask the alarm pheromones - spraying the stung area with sugar syrup doesn't seem like a good idea!
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bluegrass
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« Reply #78 on: July 05, 2007, 08:16:02 AM »

Well that was alot of reading....... I think this horse is whipped, but I will add a few more comments.
The sugar water spray does work, but I only use it for cutouts and hives I am not going to take honey off of. If you spray them down and it gets into uncapped honey frames or the bees decide the threat is over and instead of cleaning and eating they clean and store you now have adultrated honey.

Second; in consideration of Understudies location I don't think he is going to be finding a 5000' ball of bailing twine anytime soon, and as it is usually sold in two packs he doesn't need that much and nobody explained to him that it comes in hemp and plastic and that a person unfimilar with farm life would not know the differance.
 
South Florida is probably not the place to find wood stove pellets either as there is not a real big demand for heat. They are a good idea when used under smoker fuel to keep the smoker going, but they burn way too hot to use alone in the smoker.

Burlap can be had really cheap at Joann's or Hancock's fabrics.   

Thinking locally have you tried Spanish moss or the brown fuzzy stuff you can strip off of palmetto trees?
I personally like to use wood mulch.
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« Reply #79 on: July 05, 2007, 10:11:35 AM »

I never said I don't own a smoker. Sure, if I'm going to work a hot hive I'll bring one along, but I've kind of grown to dislike smelling like smoke all day, even after taking a shower! Never can stop sneezing after using a smoker. If the bees cloud around me I'll go into some near by shade and they leave. I did a cut-out recently with some fellow beeks, and they tried using smoke to calm the bees, but the bees were so agitated the smoke only made it worse! I'll use sugar water on cut outs.

About the honey. Honey bees won't store different kinds of honey in one cell, and I won't spray directly on a frame of uncapped honey. I'll give a few sprays on the top of the frames and than spray those bees coming up from the bottom.

Also the best thing to do is to put some Honey-B-Healthy in the sugar water, this will mask all alarm pheromones and make it work better than smoke!

Hope y'all had a happy 4th. It was nice weather here, we sat on our deck and watched the neighbors burn holes in their wallets as they set off all those fireworks. Smiley

-Nathanael cool
« Last Edit: July 06, 2007, 10:33:09 AM by Beaches' Bee-Haven Apiary » Logged
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