Honeybees are considered one of the most useful creatures on earth. Bees form a very important part of human food, especially with its honey. The irreplaceable ability of bees to create honey makes them superior to the other bees. Bees are often calm and busy doing their work. They don’t harm anyone unless they feel threatened or pushed to do so. You will always find bees either roaming around searching for suitable flowers for getting nectar or in their hives making wax or honey.
However, sometimes bees do get disturbed that causes trouble for the beekeepers during harvesting or maintaining the hives. What to do in such instances? You will find the answer in the following paragraphs.
What does a Bee Smoker do?
When a bee is disturbed, beekeepers use some special kinds of smoke to keep them calm. This specialized smoke is called bee smoker. These smokers are designed for generating smokers from various fuel smoldering. This technique has been used since ancient times by beekeepers. This smoke contains various chemicals. It helps in releasing the guard bees off the hive, simulating a fire. When there is a fire, bees tend to eat all the possible honey to evacuate the hive. So, when their stomach is full, is harder for the bee to sting, and then the beekeepers can safely harvest.
How is a Bee Smoker Made?
There are various methods of making bee smokers. You have both options either to make your bee smoker at home or buy a readymade from the market. So, let’s first discuss how to make a smoker at home.
Making a Bee Smoker at Home
While making a bee smoker at home, you will need specific items like pellets, burlap, wood shavings, etc. If you use these materials for making bee smokers, the smell will most likely be extremely unpleasant. It will smell like a highly unpleasant savory. However, another method of bee smoker involves forest-floor pine needles and sage embers. This method forms a pleasant and sweet aroma.
Additionally, you can also add some other organic items like creosote bush and grapefruit leaves to enhance its smell. The method is simple, and one can easily make a cloud of smoke at home without requiring complex items.
Readymade Bee Smokers
If you don’t have the time to make your bee smokers, you can visit the nearest tool store and get ready-made bee smokers. There are various essential tools available in the store that will help you create smoke to calm the bees.
Tools Required to Light a Bee Smoker
Lighting a bee smoker is extremely easy. With the right technique and few required items, you will take almost no time in lighting the smoker. The items required for lighting a bee smoker are discussed below.
The smoker is the key item. Without its absence, you will not be able to get your desired work done. There are various smokers available in the market, with each having different price ranges and sizes. Get the smoker of your choice that matches your budget and required size.
Another important material required for lighting a bee smoker is fuel. It has been recommended to use dry fuel to light a smoker. The pine needles type of fuel is one of the most liked fuels around the world. However, if you have some other preferences, you can also try them. There is no hard and fast rule in this regard.
Find a Source of Ignition
After you get a smoker and fuel for yourself, your next task is to search for a source of ignition. You can use matchbox for this purpose, but it might be a bit frustrating. The most recommended lighter for ignition of bee smoker is the long-nosed lighters used for BBQs.
The longer nose of these lighter allows for higher reach. You can easily light-up the smoker without harming or burning yourself. To make the smoker light-up easily, you can also use a little methylated spirit or lighter fluid.
Hive tools are not as important as the items mentioned above, but it also helps in lighting a bee smoker easily. You can also use a rigid object for this purpose. Just fit it inside the smoker.
Lighting a Bee Smoker
After you have all the items mentioned above with you, you can start lighting up the bee smoker. Use all the above items. Use your empty smoker and place a newspaper sheet above the pine needles into the smoker’s cylinder. Spark the lighter and use it for igniting the material.
After the smoker ignites, make sure to give few puffs using bellows to enhance the flame and make it blow well. Keep puffing until the smoker burns completely.
However, before you light the smoker, make sure the smoker is empty. It should not contain items from the previous smoking. Otherwise, you might face a little trouble while lighting the smoker as the lighting process will get highly frustrated.
How to Keep Your Bee Smoker Lit?
Lighting up a bee smoker is an easy task. The real challenge is to keep it lit. Keeping smokers lit is one of the problems faced by almost all beekeepers. Most people leave the smoker once it lights up. That’s the mistake that results in turning off the smoker.
However, before you light up the smoker, make sure to light the bottom, not the top. Lighting the top is not effective, and it reduces the flame very easily. Additionally, lighting the smoker from the top also consumes fuel more than normal. That’s also one of the reasons why smokers turn off easily.
After you light the smoker, make sure you light up the smoker well. Stay with it and keep puffing it until it gets very hot. Once it burns well, now you can leave the smoker and let it do its work. Now hopefully, your bee smoker will lit for longer durations.
How to Start a Bee Smoker with Pellet?
Most of the beekeepers also use pellets for lighting the bee smokers. This practice is normal, and beekeepers normally use it. For this purpose, you should take fire. Begin working with a smaller amount of pellets. Don’t use a large amount all at once. Put the pellets in the bottom of the smoker, lit them, and start puffing. Make sure you keep the constant flow of air in the smoker.
You will notice the pellet starts burning after a while. Once the pellets burn, you should begin adding more pellets to the smoker. However, make sure to keep it slow. Don’t rush and put all the pellets at once. It’s a good method of lighting up a smoker.
Before You Leave
Lighting a bee smoke is not as difficult as one might think. It is simple, and even a naïve beekeeper can easily light it up without any difficulty. However, you just need the right items to make it happen because the absence of the right items may turn this simple task into something extremely hectic and frustrating.
Moreover, it is always better to use few simple hacks while lighting the smoker. For example, using lighter fluid during ignition, as discussed above, will be a great help. So, know what small hacks and techniques might help you and light up the smoker accordingly. Enjoy harvesting your bees’ hives this harvesting season, and don’t forget to apply the above techniques.