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Dick and Alan's Beekeeping Blog

Dick and Alan's Beekeeping Blog

Beekeeping Basics: Most Effective Ways to Use a Bee Hive Smoker

Whether you're a beginner beekeeper or a veteran in the field, bee hive smokers are important tools to have, and it's equally as important to know how to properly use these beekeeping tools.

Just as beekeeping gloves and a beekeeper hat are essential, so is the bee hive smoker. Here are some tips and best practices to keep in mind when you're making use of this important beekeeping tool.

What does a smoker do?

Young Beekeeper with SmokerThe smoker is an essential tool to have in your beekeeping equipment set. Essentially it helps calm the bees down to make honeycomb collection much easier for you, the beekeeper. The effect of the smoke on the bees depends on several different factors, so there may be a learning curve when it comes to using this tool regularly.

Why is a smoker important?

The purpose of a smoker, as previously stated, is to make it easier for you to work the hive. The smoke prevents bees from communicating and will calm them a bit. Honey bees can fly up to 15 MPH, so the smoke ensures more safety. But the hive should only be open for 10 to 15 minutes to ensure the bees are safe and that the hive stays within a certain temperature range.

What kind of fuel should be used in a smoker?

Lighting the smoker can be tricky because your fuel should produce smoke, it shouldn't just burn up and then cease working. The smoke needs to be cool in order to calm the bees down and maintain the delicate balance within the hive.

To get the best smoke, you'll need to start with some form of tinder that will burn easily. Dried pine needles, hay, and even newspaper are all popular options. Once the tinder has been lit, place something like a pine cone or wood chips in to act as coal and then give the bellows a few puffs to ensure oxygen flow.

After that, the smoker should be packed tight with more pine needles or hay. Letting the smoker sit for 10 minutes or so any puffing it occasionally will help the smoke generate. Once the smoke is nice and cool, you're ready to smoke out the hive.

Bee hive smokers are important tools, which means it's important to know how to use them. Once you have that figured out, you should be well on your way to becoming an expert beekeeper.