Author Topic: Special smoker fuel  (Read 688 times)

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Offline Zweefer

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Special smoker fuel
« on: June 19, 2020, 08:51:06 am »
I think we all have had the discussion on what you use normally for smoker fuel, and if you want to chime in on that here, you are welcome to, but I thought I’d take this in a bit of a different direction...
I was discussing a hot hive with a member of our beekeeping association, and suggested he use tobacco in the smoker to help calm the bees down.  I get the leaves from a local cigar shop (they use them to pack the cigars in the boxes) and it really seems to calm even the worst of them down. 
I have also heard old denim jeans work the same way, though I have no experience there...

Do you have any special fuel you add for special situations, and if so, what is it?
Keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.
Henry David Thoreau

Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: Special smoker fuel
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2020, 08:57:11 am »
I typically use wood shavings, the kind you can buy in the square bags/bales three or four pounds of it maybe? One bag lasts a year or two... If the bees are annoyed I put dried grass clippings from mowing in, and it seems to work a bit better. Just a personal observation there.  Also, a really good guy gave me some tobacco leaves, and in dire situations I will add a bit of one of those leaves, and also a personal observation, it DOES seem to help even more than the grass...  In the case of REALLY hot hives? Sulfur powder calms the bees swiftly! (Disclaimer; Don't try the sulfur powder unless you really don't like the bees!)  :o
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Special smoker fuel
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2020, 11:44:17 am »
I will use anything that is natural and doesn't contain glue, etc. Worn out cotton underwear without elastic is good.  An old timer beekeeper recommended blue jeans to me.  The old tattered jeans that have been washed 1000 times.  Yes, it works.  Burlap works.  You can get burlap bags at any Mom & Pop coffee shop.  Recently I stumbled upon some wood chips (free) and tried them.  Yes chips work very well.

Offline Zweefer

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Re: Special smoker fuel
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2020, 12:03:01 pm »
And for that extra calming effect bakers?
Keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.
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Offline iddee

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Re: Special smoker fuel
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2020, 06:39:27 pm »
Tobacco is also said to kill varroa. I like the baling twine best. Burlao and pine needles combined works well, too.The tan hemp type, not the plastic. Staghorn sumac seeds is also said to kill varroa. Burlap and pine needles combined work well, too.
“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
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Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Special smoker fuel
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2020, 09:42:46 am »
iddee reminded me that sumac seed heads are very nice in the smoker.  When I was first considering beekeeping a seasoned beek, in an isolated rural area, told me that he didn't have varroa because he used sumac in his smoker.  He had learned it from an old lady beekeeper. 
In the spring I also use the dried flower heads from my fall blooming sedums. Those are nice but burn a little fast.  Many around here like pine needles.  I don't have immediate access to pine needles.  I could plan a trip to a strip mall.  You always see dying pine trees in strip malls!  (Pine trees just don't flourish in Kansas.  The weather extremes are too hard on them.)
I have to admit, I have never heard of using tobacco before.  There is, or used to be, a pesticide treatment that contained nicotine.

Offline BoilerJim

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Re: Special smoker fuel
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2020, 11:00:23 am »
I also use old jeans, pine needles, lint from the dryer, and toilet paper rolls.
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Offline neillsayers

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Re: Special smoker fuel
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2020, 11:31:19 pm »
My favorite is pine needle straw for long consistent burn. I don't have any pines nearby but my daughter lives in a grove of them so when I visit I always pick up a bag. I also go through any discarded clothes and read the labels for 100% cotton. those get cut up and placed in a bucket for fuel. Jeans make great fuel. As far as calming hot bees I don't really have any experience but I have heard tobacco works and it was one of the first varroa treatments to come out of England. :)
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Offline Perry

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Re: Special smoker fuel
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2020, 09:02:16 pm »
I will use anything that is natural and doesn't contain glue, etc. Worn out cotton underwear without elastic is good.  An old timer beekeeper recommended blue jeans to me.  The old tattered jeans that have been washed 1000 times.  Yes, it works.  Burlap works.  You can get burlap bags at any Mom & Pop coffee shop.  Recently I stumbled upon some wood chips (free) and tried them.  Yes chips work very well.

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Offline Zweefer

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Re: Special smoker fuel
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2020, 09:05:06 pm »
I thought the use of items like that was banned in the geneva convention under chemical warfare? :laugh:
Keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.
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Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: Special smoker fuel
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2020, 09:12:39 pm »

 YUP! Wife eats certain things she can BURN a hole through cotton underwear in one shot! Have to have the chemical containment unit show up!
Drinking RUM before noon makes you a PIRATE not an alcoholic!

Offline Bakersdozen

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Re: Special smoker fuel
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2020, 08:25:42 am »
Perry  :laugh:
Zweefer   :laugh:
LazyBkpr   :laugh:

Offline Wandering Man

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Re: Special smoker fuel
« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2020, 09:38:16 am »
We've been using the burlap from old Coffee bean bags.  I'm not real crazy about the burlap because it leaves a varnish on the upper baffle of the smoker.  I went out once without 3Reds and rebelled against the burlap by picking up cow patties.  They work really well.  I don't know about calming effects with the bees, but the beekeeper was calmer knowing he wasn't going to have to clean the smoker.

For starter, we use the paper from our shredder.  Old secret documents light quickly and get the main fuel going.
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Offline Zweefer

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Re: Special smoker fuel
« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2020, 01:44:42 pm »
Not to mention, adds that final layer of protection for said secret documents! Thanks for sharing.   And for LazyBkpr, that would be old, hardened cow pies, not fresh.  :D
Keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.
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Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: Special smoker fuel
« Reply #14 on: June 23, 2020, 07:51:59 pm »
AHHH! NOW you tell me!   :'(
Drinking RUM before noon makes you a PIRATE not an alcoholic!

Offline iddee

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Re: Special smoker fuel
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2020, 06:34:52 am »
Sounds like bull s**t to me.
“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
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Offline Wandering Man

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Re: Special smoker fuel
« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2020, 05:34:48 pm »
Sounds like bull s**t to me.

Probably.



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Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: Special smoker fuel
« Reply #17 on: July 01, 2020, 10:25:24 pm »
LOL   In an emergency, a handfull of dried grass clippings...  Emergency = I don't want to have to walk back to the shed, or the truck to refill the smoker...    ;D       A friend of mine grows Hemp.. Fields of it....  we used that for smoker fuel going through his hives one afternoon...   Bees were calm!!!  actually, they were laughing!
Drinking RUM before noon makes you a PIRATE not an alcoholic!

Offline Jen

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Re: Special smoker fuel
« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2020, 01:45:35 am »
Now this thread is a great reminder of the old forum days when we were learning stuff and having fun too! Makes Me Happy  ;D

Scott! Funny your mention Hemp... hehehe. Last year I mentored a man with his first two hives, who grew his own medicine. After harvest and trim, what was left of his plants were just the bare twiggy branches. He said he added some of the twigs to his smoker, and by golly his bees were peaceful and very productive.

He gave me some twigs and I tried them in my smoker. Luckily I had a snarky hive at the time. I smoked the entrance, lifted the lid a bit, and smoked. Left for about 5 minutes. I'll be gosh darned that my bees were quietly purring along a very busy.

Soo! Marj, CBD, and Hemp work on the brain receptors, and are especially good at calming pain, seizures, and anxiety. Aaaand, Bees Have Brains...  ;) :D ;)
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Offline neillsayers

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Re: Special smoker fuel
« Reply #19 on: July 05, 2020, 10:01:48 pm »
This is good info to have! Thanks, Jen and Scott
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