How to Light a Bee Smoker
Just like starting a fire in the fireplace or a campfire, when lighting a bee smoker, start with easily burning materials to use as tinder, such as paper or dried leaves. As your fire gets bigger, add less combustible materials, like pine needles, burlap, or dried corn cobs. Be sure the materials you use are free of chemicals.
What You Will Need to Light a Bee Smoker:
Bee smoker (of course)
Paper (chemical free) or dried leaves
Dried pine needles, burlap, or dried corn cobs (We use pine needles, because we have lots of pine trees on our property.)
Matches or a lighter
Lighting the Smoker:
Open your smoker lid, loosely wad some paper and light the bottom on fire. Place the burning paper, fire side down, into the canister body of your smoker, being careful not to burn your hands.
Next, place a loose handful of pine needles into the smoker on top of the burning paper. Be sure your hands are out of the way and squeeze the bellows to give the smoker a few light puffs. This will cause the pine needles to catch on fire.
Carefully add another handful of pine needles to the smoker, pushing them down with a hive tool and lightly puff the bellows again. Add a third handful of pine needles to the smoker, push them down with the hive tool, and gently puff the bellows a few more times.
By now, you should have quite a bit of smoke coming from the smoker. The goal here is to have a smoldering fire, not flames, so don’t puff the bellows too much. We want to smoke the bees, not burn them.
Close the lid. If lit properly, the smoker should continue to give off smoke without having to squeeze the bellows. The smoke should be cool and white in color.
To puff smoke into the hive, aim the nozzle toward the part of the hive you want to smoke and gently squeeze the bellows.
Tip: If you plan to work in more than one hive, you may want to add more pine needles, so your smoke will last longer. Don’t stuff it too full or your fire may be suffocated and go out.
Warning: Lit smokers are HOT and may cause burns to skin or burn/melt other materials, such as clothing, wood, rubber, plastic, etc. After you are done using the smoker, put the contents on a fireproof surface, where it cannot blow away or in a contained place where it can burn. We put ours in the fire pit. Allow the smoker to cool completely before putting it away.