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Natural fire lighter for bee smoker

Can anyone tell me if it is safe to use Samba Natural firelighters in a bee smoker? The Samba ® Natural Firelighters are made from a combination of saw dust and wax. After many searches on Google this was all I was able to find about the ingredients. I would also like to know what others are using as a starter for their bee smoker?

It sounds like it would be safe to use, going by the ingredients you mentioned.

I use bits of masking tape as a smoker fire starter. Also something else I haven’t used for a while is Vaseline smeared onto cardboard. Vaseline being “petroleum” jelly, is quite flammable. Masking tape is also flammable without any nasty smelling fumes. Something else is cardboard torn into thin strips.

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I was told any bark, pine needles, fallen leaves etc are good. Even taking the bark directly from a tree will have a good moisture content. Sounds more natural than masking tape and cardboard containing glue. Each to their own though. I used cardboard when I used my smoker for the first and second time as everything was soaked from the rain. Next time I’ll try some natural materials.

That’s true Sean, “each to their own”. Incidentally, would you breathe in smoke from natural materials?

I was answering the question on what others are using as a starter for their bee smoker. Masking tape would be too expensive to use as smoker fuel & would be impractical. A 6" piece to get a fire started is perfect & works well for me, however it’s not for everyone.

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Well to answer your question JeffH, yes I would and do breathe smoke from natural materials, although I don’t recommend it :grinning:.

I understand what your saying now though, just to get it started.

Have you tried giving up smoking that natural material? It can’t be doing your body much good.

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Are you a doctor Jeff?

Oh you’re not a doctor? So you admit you don’t know what you’re talking about. In that case maybe just stick to giving bee keeping advice old timer. :joy:

No, I’m not a doctor. That’s good advice you’re giving, I’ll do that.

When I asked you if you would breathe in the smoke from natural materials, I was referring to the smoke out of your smoker, not tobacco or whatever. You probably wouldn’t breathe in the smoke from natural material out of your smoker, unless you were using tobacco or whatever else you use. My point was that smoke from natural material is probably not all that good for the bees either.

True. I do tend to go with natural over synthetic though. It’s the permaculture way. Cheers for the banter :+1:

Sorry, I didn’t interpret the discussion as “banter”. In particular, your previous statement.

I thought that conversation was over Jeff. Go and enjoy your day mate.

I don’t yet know about fire starters, but I’ve been reading about natural smoker materials and learned that many are already growing in my garden – like rosemary, roses, lavender, fennel, and especially grapefruit leaves which can help kill varroa mites. Here’s a good article about bee smoker fuel.

I was originally wondering what would happen if you put a little cannabis in your smoker, but then I learned that unlike humans, bees don’t have that receptor. (Oh well, so much for that idea.) But maybe just a pinch for good measure… afterall, it makes pretty cool smoke (as temperatures go) and is legal here. :wink::wink:

I took a workshop run by someone with a lot of hives who needed to keep the smoker going and didn’t have time to mess around. Demonstrating how to pack the smoker, this little lady then pulled out a small propane torch to light the fuel. Looked comic. But I had enough frustration with matches, cigarette and barbeque lighter, candle, etc. I use untreated jute or cotton for fuel, and took one from a workbench. A new small 14 oz. one is about $10 US. The torch is reliable and easy, moisture-proof, you can shove the tip to the bottom of the smoker, and it’s easy to see among other tools (and can last a few years, and refills are cheap). My mentor visited and wanted to laugh when he first saw it, but I’ll bet he got one.


Is it legal in Muscogee, Oklahoma yet?

personally I wouldn’t as wax burns oily. I just use a small butane gas refillable torch/lighter thing. Cost about $8 at discount stores. It has a very hot burning flame like a small propane torch.

Lately I have been using paperbark in my smoker- I find it burns nice and slow and has a nice smell. I often put a wad of raw hessian on the top to make sure no sparks come out and the smoke is cool. Too many people have their smoker underpacked and it burns hot- hot smoke actually aggravates bees and is a fire hazard. The trick to lighting a smoker well is to light near the bottom and then pack a lot of material on top. When well lit it will burn for ages and ages and doesn’t go out when left alone as you work. A well packed lit smoker will not emit much smoke until it’s pumped. You know its under-packed if it just smokes constantly and smokes you as well as the bees…

then when I am done I just put my smoker in a metal box I have with a seal on the lid. The smoker is starved of oxygen and goes out by itself.


Hi…I use pine needles, dead but not overly dry. When they get too dry, they don’t stay lit as well.

I like your pine pellet bedding material, looks easier to use than my pine needles, and, I don’t have a pine tree so I have to go hunting for the needles when I run out. I’ll have to try and remember to get some the next time I’m at Tractor Supply.