Saturday, February 19, 2011

How to Light a Smoker

Where there's smoke you'll often find a beekeeper.

A smoker kit containing a waterproof plastic pail with a lid is very handy to keep your smoker fuel in. I fill mine with pine wood chips (pet bedding bought at a pet store) and newspaper.

Take a string and tie a BBQ lighter to it. That way you'll always know where your lighter is.

[This is my brother's son Ben. He's from Australia. He visited us a few summers ago and fell in love with a Canadian girl. Now they're both back in Aussie together].

Here are smoker lighting tips as I learned them in an intro to beekeeping course:

1. Open the smoker, making sure the bottom pan is laying flat inside. Drop in 3 handfuls of pine chips in the bottom.

  1. 2. Add in crumpled newspaper on top of the pine chips. The smoker should be no more than half way full.

  2. 3. Light the newspaper and use your hive tool to push it down into the smoker. Why burn your hands if you don't have to?

  3. 4. Add greens to the top such as grass, cedar, leaves (note: never use poison ivy because the smoke is deadly). The greenery will ensure that only cool smoke exits the smoker. It will also prevent any sparks or flames from burning the bees or falling into your hive.

5. Close the smoker lid and then begin to work the bellows to keep the smothered flames alive until the chips catch fire.

A well lit smoker will smoke all on its own for a good 30 minutes. While working be sure to keep an eye on the smoker and give it more puffs of the bellows as required to keep it going.

[This is my sister's son Codie who after watching Anut Bard (Aunt Barb) hive some nucs reported he is no longer afraid of bees.

When done if the smoker is still going, dump the contents into a fireproof pail and pour water on them. Never pour water into your smoker.

If you don't choose to empty the smoker when done, push a wad of greenery into the spout. This will smother the smoker. The dry wad can be used as fuel when you light it next time.

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