Hey guys… looking for some ideas of where to get smoker fuel from… I’ve heard pine needles are the best…? Can you buy them from somewhere… or do I need to find a pine forest somewhere…?
Where in the world are you, @Gunners85? There are several commercial sources of good stuff in the US, but it would help if you could complete your profile to show where you are, so that we don’t spend time recommending something which wouldn’t work for you.
I’m from Melbourne australia… was hoping that bunnings had pine needles cos they have everything else…
Search “Smoker” that little magnifying glass top right corner.
There has been a lot of discussion on this. There are also some very good videos on Youtube under “Bee hive Smoker”
First you buy a pine forest… Anything handy will work. Pine needles light easily, smell nice and make a nice smoke, but they don’t last very well. I prefer burlap because it burns a lot longer.
I buy a bag of pine shavings and mix that with hay. Once it’s going good I add sticks and twigs and then some green grass/weeds to cool the smoke.
Thank you for that!
As Michael says, burlap is great. It is probably my favorite. I think it translates to “hessian” in Australia and the UK. It is the kind of coarse, unbleached sackcloth that bulk potatoes are shipped in. Very cheap and burns for a long time.
If you can’t find that, simple corrugated cardboard (rolled up into cylinders with about a 5mm gap all around inside the smoker chamber) is great fuel. I used to paint it with creosote years ago, but you probably shouldn’t and you definitely don’t need to. To light it, put some newspaper in the bottom of the smoker first. If you want to cool the smoke a little, just put a handful of green grass on top. Very simple.
Another trick is to build a fire of dry sticks and when that burns down to coals then add your fuel. The coals stay lit a long time and keep your fuel lit. Also you can do an insert out of a large soup can:
What do you there Australians do in extremely hot and windy conditions??
Here in WA when its hot I’m dead afraid/cautious of a single spark, but now that I started beekeeping I have to play with fire.
I have used gum leaves and twigs slightly dampened and a scrap of hessian about 20cm square.
A big bag of pine shavings will last a long, long time.
Look for some sold as pet bedding. A bale-sized bag can be had for less than $5.00 US.
Hessian bags. They light easily and burn/smoulder for a very long time. Endless supply of them available for free at your local hipster coffee shop!
Thank you so much! You guys are awesome!! You’ll never believe what you see until you start looking… there’s about 5 pine trees less than 100 meters from my house amongst other trees… an endless supply of pine needles all over the ground!
I found the smoke to be pretty hot coming out though… I’m guess king green grass on top of the pine needles will cool it down?
I have been using the corrugated cardboard the Flow Frames came in. I just roll it up and put a bit of wire around it. Light up and drop it in. It lights easy burns for a long time and I am recycling sort of ;-).
If I am just doing a quick inspection I pop a cork in the top and I can get 2 burns out of it.
Gunners, find your nearest coffee shop or roaster and ask if they get their beans in bulk. They will likely give you plenty of Hessian bags. Also, lavender works well. Avoid eucalypt.
Yes it will, very well.
Has anyone tried coconut husk?
Hiya onrbikes, I asked this same question last summer as any whiff of smoke and the fire brigade would knock on the door especially up here in the Hills so no fire. I was told about smokeless smoke being available but I didn’t want to take the bait so I didn’t ask… I tried a light spray of water but I don’t think it was too effective. I finished up doing it geared up smokeless and quickly. When I was finally able to use smoke Inspections became soooo much easier.
I use old coffee bags - they are hessian and smoulder nicely, free from coffee roasters as they are waste product!
We have CFA rules - no fire on total fire ban, plus opening a hive on those days is bad for the bees anyway, they are trying to cool the hive and taking the lid off ruins all their good work