Tips from the Dadant & Sons How to Start a Bee Smoker Video
Learning how to start a bee smoker — and keep it lit — is an essential skill for all beekeepers.
Start With a High-Quality Smoker
A bee smoker is one of the most important tools for working with a colony of honeybees. The Dadant Smoker 4 X 7 Stainless Steel w/Shield M00927 is made in the US of stainless steel with a superior bellows. Based upon the original Bingham design, these shielded smokers feature hinge pins with keepers, hooks and bottom rests.
Use the Right Fuel
To be effective, your smoker needs to be filled with the appropriate fuel to create smoke. Many types of fuel may be used to start and fill your smoker, such as newspaper, dried leaves, pine needles, burlap or chipped corn cobs. However, Dadant’s Smoker Fuel M00810 made from all cotton fibers produces a superior smoke that is consistent and reliable. For extended trips in larger bee yards, adding our Wood Pellet Smoker Fuel 5 LB M008085 to the smoker produces a longer-lasting smoke.
Start a Bee Smoker From the Bottom Up
No matter what fuel you use, the most important principle is to keep the flame below the fuel when starting your bee smoker. Start with a small amount of your chosen fuel, light it from below, and drop it carefully into the smoker chamber. While squeezing in even and consistent puffs, add additional handfuls of fuel to the smoker to achieve a dense, cool smoke.
For more detailed information and step-by-step instructions on how to start a bee smoker, read our Learning Center Blog, How Do I Start a Bee Smoker?
Using a Bee Smoker
When conducting a hive inspection, start by squeezing the bellows to produce smoke at the hive entrance. Next, lift up the hive cover and puff smoke under the cover for any bees at the top of the hive. After carefully loosening the lid, supers and frames with your hive tool, a few more puffs of smoke should be enough to keep small colonies calm for an inspection. Larger colonies may need a few additional puffs of smoke while you are working inside the hive.
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