Thursday, November 13, 2014

Beekeeping Pearls

I plan to post those little tidbits of wisdom (pearls) that I come across as I'm learning about bees. Here's a few I've garnered already. 

Smoker -

#1- light the smoker, fill it with fuel then use a propane torch to light it. 
No fuss trying to light a bit of paper, then tinder, then building up to the fuel. No burnt fingers from matches or lighter. Just light the plumber's torch, shove the nozzle down into the fuel, leave it there for a half minute or so to light the wood chips. 
Then remove the torch, use your hive tool to smash the fuel down inside the smoker, give the smoke some puffs of air using the bellows and you're good to go. 

...use hickory BBQ smoking chips that can be purchased by the small bag in the stores. They light easily enough, stay smoldering for a long time so that you don't have to keep stopping what you're doing and give the smoker a few puffs of air to keep it lit. Plus they last a long time if you put them out each time when you're done with the smoker. I'm told that the mesquite chips seem to agitate the bees, so I stick with using hickory. 
     To start, dump the used charred chips from the smoker onto some paper, in this case, old wrapping paper. 
Add a few more fresh chips to the pile if needed. 
Wrap it up making a bundle that will fit inside the smoker. 
Stuff it into the smoker with the loose paper at the top. 
Now it's ready for lighting. 

...cork the smoker when you're done. By putting a cork plug into the smoker's hole, you'll starve the fuel of oxygen. Thus it will go out rather than keep on smoldering down to ashes. That way I get a lot of mileage out of my hickory wood chips. And the charred chips relight easily. 
Above....smoker in use, emitting smoke. 
Above.....smoker spout is corked. Below....close up of cork plug. The cork is from an empty wine bottle. I had to take a razor blade and trim it down a bit in order for it to fit the hole. 

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