Bee Smoker: An Ultimate Guide on How to Use a Beekeeping Smoker - 2023

Bee Smoker: An Ultimate Guide on How to Use a Beekeeping Smoker - 2023

Since the dawn of man, smoke has always been used to help extract honey from bees. It triggers the bees survival instincts and causes them to be more docile. Angry bees are not at all pleasant to deal with, no matter how good your bee suit is! In this article we'll show you how to use a bee smoker and give you some helpful tips along the way!

What Do Bee Smokers Do to Bees?


When you smoke a hive, it causes a flight response in the bees. The bees start consuming their honey stores, in preparation to migrate to a different location. All this causes the bees to be a lot more docile and easier to handle.


How to Use a Bee Smoker: A Step-By-Step Guide


1. Place cardboard into your smoker. Ensure you do not fill the smoker to the brim and leave enough space to allow air to circulate.

2. Once your smoker is set alight, puff slowly until the flame spreads.

3. Close the lid when at least a quarter of the cardboard is on fire.

3. You can now start puffing fairly fast and keep an eye on the amount of smoke coming out of the smoker.

4. You'll know when the smoker is working well when you see thick white smoke coming out. Please note, you want to periodically puff the smoker, so you don't lose the intensity of the smoke.


How to Smoke your Hives

You want to start by giving two to three puffs into the opening of the beehive. Make sure you place the Bee Smoker in a safe spot, not too far from the hive when you've finished using it. You want the smoke to carry on blowing smoke near the hive whilst you carry out your inspection. The purpose is not to engulf your bees in smoke. The less smoke the better!

Helpful Tip

I like to give a few puffs before i do something which will cause some disturbance such as removing a frame or opening the hive.


Cleaning your Bee Smoker

It is essential you clean out your smoker before refuelling or prior to use. Ash will gather at the bottom of the smoker and will blow onto the bees if not cleaned properly. Blowing ash on your bees is obviously not what you want to be doing, it can be very harmful.


Top 5 Highly Recommended Tips to Try While Smoking Bees with a Bee Smoker

1. Be sure to have plenty of fuel in your smoker. You cannot afford to re-fuel in the middle of your inspection.

2. Don't use a lot of smoke. A few puffs are enough for your task. A few aggressive colonies may require more than the usual puffs.

3. Always start with few puffs at the opening of the beehive.

4. If you get stung by a bee, smoke the specific spot. This will help disrupt any pheromone released by the bees to start attacking.

5. Make sure ou don't make any sudden movements that will trigger a frenzy in your hive. You want to limit the amount of times you need to smoke your bees!


Types of Fuels Used In a Bee Smoker

Paper - This will help start the fire but not ideal for smoking.

Cardboard - Very versatile as it can be lighted easily and will be sufficient for most small jobs.

Raw Wood Chips- If you are looking to inspect a number of hives and will be using the smoker for more than 20 minutes, then raw wood chips are ideal. They provide long lasting thick white smoke for up to 45 mins. The downside can be getting them to burn in the first place! This of course can be mitigated by a quality mini blow torch and using a combination of different fuels such as cardboard.


Why Do I Need a Bee Smoker?
We'll the truth is YOU DON'T. However, it will make your life a lot easier and you'll be a lot less likely to receive stings. For most beekeepers, a bee smoker is an essential part of their toolkit. It not only keeps you safe but also the bees! As the bees become more docile, they're far easier to work with. This allows you to quickly inspect the hive and lets the bees get back to what they do best, make honey!
Inspecting your hive without a smoker will result in more aggressive bees and potentially more stings. The confusion and frenzy also leads to a lot more bee fatalities which no beekeeper wants.