No doubt, a bee smoker is one of the essential beekeeping tools that you will need as a beekeeper.
Bee smokers have been a necessary asset for beekeepers for many years, and it is still a necessity for beekeepers nowadays.
In this blog post, we share with you what a bee smoker is, what it does for you and your bees, and your options in the market.
What is a Bee Smoker?
Beehive smokers are used for calming bees down, and they reduce the chances of you getting stung. Generally, it keeps the environment where the beehive is safe.
Honey bees communicate with pheromones. Pheromones are chemical substances released into the beehive by some of the honey bees to influence the behavior of other bees.
There is a pheromone for raising the alarm when any of the honey bees feels threatened. It’s like screaming at the top of your lungs to alert your friends when you perceive danger.
When you open the beehives to check your bees, the bees will feel threatened, and they will alert other bees by releasing the alarm pheromone within the hive. The release of the pheromone can make the bees attack you or anyone close to the beehive.
What Does a Bee Smoker Do?
But, if you have a bee smoker with you, a couple of puffs of bee smoke can prevent the attack. A bee smoker will cover the pheromone, stopping the alarm raised by some of the bees. This means the bees will stay calm since they are ignorant of any potential danger.
When you open the beehive, you should notice that many honeybees are feeding on the honey stored in the honeycombs. These smokers do not merely calm bees.
Another benefit of using a bee smoker is the creation of a form of forest fire for the honeybees. While smoking bees within their hives, honeybees will think their home is on fire, so they’ll start making plans to leave the hive. The bees will consume as much honey as they can store to save it and move it to their new hive.
This will keep the bees busy and distract them from attacking you. And, when their stomachs are full, honeybees can’t sting because of their expanded abdomen.
Best Bee Smokers to Calm Bees
Choosing the best bee smoker for your honeybees might be challenging, but I will make it easier for you. Let’s check the best beehive smokers out there:
Beehive Smoker by the Blisstime Store
Made of stainless steel, this Beekeeping Smoker produced by the Blisstime Store comes with 54pcs smoker pellets made of natural plants which will not be harmful to honeybees.
Its stainless steel heat shield makes the smoker safe to use and prevents your hands from scalding or burning. Built with a practical mounting hook, it is also easy to use. It allows your smoker to be hung on the side of the hive. And it makes this smoker easy to store too!
VIVO Stainless Steel Bee Hive Smoker with Heat Shield
Beekeepers of all levels and honey hobbyists favor this bee smoker. Made of stainless steel, it releases cool smoke that lasts for a long time. Buying another bee smoker soon is out of the question with this durable VIVO Stainless Steel Bee Hive Smoker with Heat Shield. This smoker has a diameter of 5 inches and a height of 4 inches, and it weighs just 1.74 pounds. So it is easy to carry and use during beehive inspections.
There is a heat shield around the smoker to ensure that the user won’t get burned. One of the unique features of this smoker is the air pockets at the bottom of the smoker to prevent overheating of the chamber. The makers of this smoker are sure of the high quality, and they offered a six-month warranty.
VIVO Bee Hive Smoker is a tool you can trust. The smoke produced by this smoker lasts for twenty to thirty minutes, which is longer than the time beekeepers usually spend inspecting their beehives.
Although some beekeepers complain that the smoker gets too hot sometimes, that’s common for most beehive smokers. Also, the leather material at the bottom of the smoker is another issue, but they offer a six-month warranty on the leather material replacement.
Honey Keeper Bee Hive Smoker
The Honey Keeper Bee Hive Smoker is an affordable smoker with great features and quality. If you need a quality smoker at a reasonable price, then this is the smoker for you. It is really sturdy because it is made from heavy-duty stainless steel and is easy to use during beehive inspections.
The smoker weighs 1.7 pounds and is roughly around 11 inches high. There is a mounting hook attached to the smoker for easy storage on the beehive box edge. Just like the Beekeeping Smoker by Natural Apiary and VIVO Bee Hive Smoker, this one from Honey Keeper has a heat shield too that protects you from burns when the smoker is hot.
I love this bee smoker because it is effective, lightweight, and easy to use. Also, it can be used for a long time since it produces smoke for more than twenty minutes, with its premium bellows producing consistent airflow.
Beekeepers of all levels can use the smoker. You don’t have to be an expert to handle it. It is also common among hunters that use the smoke produced by the smoker for a long time to mask their scent. Nevertheless, some beekeepers complained that the lid of the smoker did not seal properly, allowing too much air, resulting in the fast burning of fuel.
Foxhound Bee Co. Stainless Steel Smoker
The Foxhound Bee Co. Stainless Steel Smoker is a high-grade smoker that is easy to use and long-lasting. This bee smoker is not heavy; it weighs around 1.9 pounds, making it easy to carry during hive inspections. It is made from durable stainless steel material. Also, this smoker has a heat shield that will protect you from getting burned. Beekeepers love this smoker for its high quality and durability.
The Foxhound Bee Co. Stainless Steel Smoker is one of the most effective beehive smokers out there. Many buyers of the smoker can testify to its reliability. Beekeepers buy this smoker because it produces a substantial amount of smoke that stays effective for a long time.
The airflow funnel is effective in bellowing more air to the bottom of the chamber for easier lighting and efficiency.
The high quality of the Foxhound Bee Co. Smoker makes it more expensive than other bee smokers, but beekeepers who own the smoker know that the price is worth the durability and effectiveness of the smoker.
How to Use a Bee Smoker
After choosing a bee smoker that suits you, another thing to consider is the bee smoker fuel to choose for the smoker. There are numerous options to choose from.
Lighting a bee smoker involves three major steps. The steps include starting the smoker, kindling it, and keeping it lit with fuel. All these steps need their own type of fuel. Hence, you will need starter fuel, kindling fuel, and smoker fuel.
Choosing the Smoker Fuel
The best types of bee smoker fuel are the ones that can stay lit for a long time while releasing white, cool smoke. It is advisable to choose the best bee smoker fuel made with natural materials and produces good quality smoke.
Getting a bee smoker and a smoker fuel is not enough to produce cool smokes. It is essential to know how to use this smoker. You need to know how to lit a bee smoker and keep it lit. It is a simple process, and I will guide you through the steps.
Lighting Up with Starter Fuel
The starter fuel is a form of smoker fuel that can light quickly and stay lit for a while. Cardboard, pine needles, and a sheet of newspaper make great starter fuels.
Lit the starter fuel with a lighter, then place it at the bottom of the smoker. Ensure that the starter fuel maintains the flame by pumping the bellows three times.
Some beekeepers don’t use starter fuels. This is possible but may be challenging, especially for beginners.
Using the Kindling Fuel
After lighting the starter fuel, place the kindling fuel on its top till the burner is almost full. Pump the bellows again to keep the kindling fuel burning.
Small and thin materials are usually used as kindling fuel. Examples of kindling fuel include wood shavings, dry shredded leaves, pine needles, etc.
Using the Bee Smoker
It is then time to add the smoker fuel of your choice and keep pumping the bellows to produce the desired cool white smoke. After seeing the smoke, close the lid of the bee smoker and use it to smoke the beehive.
Pump air through the bellows of the smoker, which will also move the smoke out through the outlet of the smoker.
Ensure that nothing blocks the airflow through the bellows of the smoker to keep the fire burning.
The smoker fuels do not burn like kindling fuels. They burn slowly, and they produce smoke for a long time. You could use materials like hardwood fuel pellets, wood chips, cotton smoking circles, small twigs, etc., for your smoker fuel.