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Author Topic: Keeping your smoker lit...  (Read 1473 times)

Offline Dan D

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Re: Keeping your smoker lit...
« Reply #20 on: December 22, 2020, 12:06:24 am »
Thanks Ben.  I came from another beekeeping forum and checking out this place. 

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Keeping your smoker lit...
« Reply #21 on: December 22, 2020, 08:51:26 am »
Welcome to Beemaster.
Jim Altmiller

Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: Keeping your smoker lit...
« Reply #22 on: December 22, 2020, 09:01:04 am »
Hello, DanD. Glad to have you.

Offline Brian MCquilkin

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Re: Keeping your smoker lit...
« Reply #23 on: December 22, 2020, 01:01:01 pm »
I always use the breather plate. My favorite fule is my old denim jeans once lit it seldom goes out
Despite my efforts the bees are doing great

Offline Ralphee

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Re: Keeping your smoker lit...
« Reply #24 on: December 22, 2020, 11:01:40 pm »
I leave the plate in as i assume it served a purpose....
But then again i got talked into buying an electric smoker... (it was worse than it sounds, don't do it!)
I have a bunch of shrubby trees that drop what look like pine needles, a handful of them, light them and get a good fire going in the smoker, pack in a bunch more of them, get it smoking nicely and then pack it until reasonably full.
I don't pack it down really hard as i only have 3 hives to inspect and it normally doesn't go out on me.
And my bees are pretty calm, so even with it going out i can complete an inspection - but boy do they let you know when its time to close up! (noise, maybe a few bumps)

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Keeping your smoker lit...
« Reply #25 on: December 23, 2020, 06:40:04 am »
The plate in the bottom is important to keep in and make sure it hasn?t burned a big hole in the middle.
It helped s keep the lit embers from blowing back out of the bellows hole and starting a fire in your apiary. I have had the make new bottom plates out of stainless steel because they have burned up.

If you use denim jeans, bee careful. Some manufacturers add toxic chemicals to the cotton and when you smoke it, it will kill your hives be.
Jim Altmiller

Offline Acebird

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Re: Keeping your smoker lit...
« Reply #26 on: December 23, 2020, 09:24:34 am »

It helped s keep the lit embers from blowing back out of the bellows hole and starting a fire in your apiary.
Some of this occurs because of technique.  There is no valve in the bellows.  It sucks as much as it blows through the same hole.  Pumping the bellows vigorously is the problem.  Pump with a controlled squeeze and release.
The plate has two purposes.  It allows you to pack fuel and still have a void under the fuel like a fireplace grate, and second like a fireplace grate it allows oxygen to get to the whole bottom of the fuel charge.  Fuel burns evenly from the bottom up instead of burning a hole up one side of the can bypassing most of the fuel charge.  It is not a good thing to remove the plate for any reason.
Brian Cardinal
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Offline DoraFargo

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Re: Keeping your smoker lit...
« Reply #27 on: December 24, 2020, 01:51:52 am »
I've used different fuels, and late last season I started using waste hay/straw, since we had a lot around, and I've really been enjoying using that.  Easy to light, free, and not acrid like pine chips/straw.   
1. I do use the breather plate, although with hay I probably wouldn't need to.  I just never bothered to take it out when I switched from pine shavings to hay. 
2. I light a small fire and get it really going.  Then I loosely fill up the smoker and let it continue to have a lot of air while I get suited up, then right before I got up to the hives I pack it down full.  I put some damp hay in as the final handful in the top to keep the smoke cool and help the fire to smolder instead of burn fast and hot.  I usually inspect 2-4 hives at a time, just for reference.
I never thought about it...

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Keeping your smoker lit...
« Reply #28 on: December 24, 2020, 06:24:44 am »
Dora,
Welcome to Beemaster.
Please add your location to your profile. USA has a very wide range of climates. Our states even have wide range of different climates. This helps us to answer your questions about your bees.
Jim Altmiller

Offline beesonhay465

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Re: Keeping your smoker lit...
« Reply #29 on: December 24, 2020, 07:43:25 am »
being a really cheap and old i never bought a smoker. i smoked myself with a small fire and whatever would make lots of smoke. the bees ignored me.the lifting was hurting me so i sold my 3 hives. $800.

Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: Keeping your smoker lit...
« Reply #30 on: December 24, 2020, 08:54:02 am »
Beeson. I'm not sure how to respond to that. You built a fire... and smoked yourself? Beeson beek jerky? I have an image of you, standing over a fire, rotating yourself around in mesquite flavored smoke.  :grin:

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Keeping your smoker lit...
« Reply #31 on: December 24, 2020, 04:54:51 pm »
Bob,
When I do bee removals, I use my smoker to smoke my hands arms and head.
It really makes a big difference on how the bees react to you.
Jim Altmiller

Offline Ben Framed

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Re: Keeping your smoker lit...
« Reply #32 on: December 24, 2020, 05:23:22 pm »
Bob,
When I do bee removals, I use my smoker to smoke my hands arms and head.
It really makes a big difference on how the bees react to you.
Jim Altmiller

Jim what is the main ingredient that repels bees in bee quick? I wonder if there is a repellent that one could wipe on face, arms, and hands that would be effective as well? Yet not harm man nor insect? I have often wondered if JP and Schawee have such a trick. lol
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Online sawdstmakr

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Re: Keeping your smoker lit...
« Reply #33 on: December 24, 2020, 07:53:25 pm »
Ben,
JP and Schawee both smoke themselves before doing removals.
Beequick doesn?t seem to help much to stop stings. The main ingredient is alcohol. It also has tee tree oil and almond extract.
Jim Altmiller

Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: Keeping your smoker lit...
« Reply #34 on: December 24, 2020, 08:51:15 pm »
Jim. I agree. I learned to smoke my hands, especially after a sting, from watching you.
I just thought it a humorous idea of Beeson smoking himself up over a campfire.

Offline Drraccoon

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Re: Keeping your smoker lit...
« Reply #35 on: December 28, 2020, 05:41:40 pm »
I use pine cones, staghorn sumac flowers, pine needles, dry grass, burlap, twine. I find most burn fast and gum up my smoker (except the sumac and burlap, twine). I have a large smoker and it takes a while to get it going for longer times..lit with newspaper, pine needles, whatever and matches. I used to use corrugated cardboard that was wet then dried and wrap it around whatever fuel and tie it w twine, worked very well after the smoker was initially lit.
Proverbs 16:24

Offline Hops Brewster

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Re: Keeping your smoker lit...
« Reply #36 on: December 30, 2020, 11:23:44 am »
Hey Bob, the density of your fuel has a lot to do with keeping it smoldering.  I used to use pine straw  in my smoker until I discovered chipped hardwood. 
I have plenty of pine needles in my yard and it seemed a natural solution, but I also had a hard time keeping it lit and ran into the same problem you have with the breather plate.. bending because I had to compress the pine needles to get the required density.  I also found the smoke to be extremely irritating, but I eventually learned to keep the thing lit. 

After I used a cheap HF chipper/shredder to clear up some prunings from an apple tree, I decided to try the chips in the smoker.  I lit some paper with some chips on it and once the flame burned out I used the bellows a few times, added another handful of chips, bellows, more chips, bellows until the can is full.  I found I didn't have to compress the fuel because it was already a more dense mass of chips than pine straw, and the smoke from fruitwood is much, much more pleasant.  A can of hardwood will smolder for hours and develops thick clouds of sweet smoke.

In my experience;
Pine straw, fluffy.  Hard to keep lit unless compressed. Acrid smoke.
Wood chips, denser. Easier to light and keep lit. Pleasant smoke. My go-to.
Denim, dense, easy to light and keep lit.  unpleasant smoke.
Burlap. dense when folded tight, lights easy, smolders well. unpleasant smoke.

I quit tobacco a long time ago, but the old European beeks frequently used it.
Winter is coming.

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Offline Acebird

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Re: Keeping your smoker lit...
« Reply #37 on: December 31, 2020, 09:33:17 am »
Hops, how long did you dry the wood chips?  I just ground up 6 yards of branches and yard waste.
Oh I have another question: Do you have to fill the smoker if you only need smoke for a short period of time?
Brian Cardinal
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Offline Bob Wilson

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Re: Keeping your smoker lit...
« Reply #38 on: December 31, 2020, 10:03:18 am »
Hops. Thanks. I have been wondering about wood chips. They are easy to get, cheap, and dense.

Offline Hops Brewster

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Re: Keeping your smoker lit...
« Reply #39 on: January 07, 2021, 05:02:37 pm »
Hops, how long did you dry the wood chips?  I just ground up 6 yards of branches and yard waste.
Oh I have another question: Do you have to fill the smoker if you only need smoke for a short period of time?
The first time I tried it, it was mostly dead wood, so right off the bat.  Spring/autumn clippings ware usually dry enough in a couple months.  I don't know what you chipped up, but if it's not soaked in FL rain try it out in a few more weeks.
A half can of chips is enough for 5 or 6 hives IME.  Leftovers light fairly easily with a prpane torch and once a good ember is burning can be topped off of just used for quick peaks.
I have some apple chips and some plum.
I've also had good experience with pellets for my pellet smoker.
Winter is coming.

I can't say I hate the government, but I am proudly distrustful of them.