Smoker for bees: how to ignite and what kind of fuel to fill, the rules of fumigation

Smoker for bees: how to ignite and what kind of fuel to fill, the rules of fumigation

Beekeepers have different devices for safe work with bees. Consider the purpose and principle of operation of a smoker for bees, why it is needed, what are the types of the device. What and how can you fill the smoker, how to kindle it and how to use it correctly in a home apiary for fumigating bees so as not to harm yourself and insects.

What is a smoker for bees and what is it for

The bees are fumigated with smoke using a smoker. Insects become calm, do not show aggression. This makes it possible to safely and efficiently carry out the necessary work in the hive and not be afraid of being attacked by bees.

The principle of the smoker is in a certain behavior of insects. When entering the hive, they intend to sting the stranger in order to prevent the destruction of the dwelling. Smoke neutralizes substances emitted by bees in case of danger, which are needed to alert relatives about it. They perceive smoke as a signal of fire and therefore begin to look for a place for a new home. To do this, they collect honey in their stomachs and in this position they cannot bend the body to sting.

Besides, not all breeds of bees are calm by nature, some cannot be worked without the use of a smoker. It is used when examining the hive, the uterus, it is needed when carrying out work to treat insects, prevent diseases, and disinfect the bee hive.

The smoker generates dense smoke, which is achieved by supplying air to the body in which the fuel smolders. It exits through a hole in the lid, allowing you to direct it where you want it.

Smoker consists of:

  • metal cylindrical can (stainless steel, galvanized steel, copper);
  • an inner container with a slatted bottom in which fuel is placed;
  • conical lid-spout where smoke comes from;
  • furs;
  • check valve;
  • grille housing and protective cover.

Design, though rather primitive, but effective.


The most common type of device - manual, it is also the most affordable. It is commonly used by most beekeepers in apiaries because it is simple and easy to repair or replace if broken.

Battery powered electric smokers are available.An electric motor and a fan are installed in the design, which facilitate the operation of the device, but it costs more and needs to be repaired more often. There are also mechanical devices whose fan is driven by a key-wound spring. Smoke supply is regulated by a lever.

In terms of efficiency, there is no difference between the types of devices, the choice of one or the other depends on the preferences of the beekeeper. Smokers of all types can be charged with the same types of fuel, such as tinder fungus, which is a popular material for creating smoke for beekeepers.

What to fill?

In the smoker, you can put any plant material that emits a lot of smoke when smoldering. As fuel, you can take wood chips, rotten wood, bark, unburned coals. It is important that the wood is not resinous. You can use any fruit and wild trees.

Use a tinder fungus, it emits thick smoke, which is what you need to get. You can also fill the smoker's container with dry mullein, rotten wood, and special blanks that are sold in stores for beekeepers. To treat bees from varroa mites, dry horseradish roots are placed in the device.

Do not use hard wood chips, straw, which burn more than smolder, gasoline and similar combustible substances.

How to fire up

Before loading fuel, the device must be cleaned of carbon deposits, especially all holes. Put fuel and a piece of paper for ignition on the slatted bottom of the glass. Set fire to paper and inflate with bellows. First you need to create a small thrust, then the movements of the mechs can be increased.

Put more fuel on top of already smoldering coals, and the smoker is now ready to go.

Terms of Use

To successfully work with a smoker, you need to follow these rules: the smoke should not be hot, its volume should be regulated, observing how the bees will behave. Do not allow hot smoker to touch frames. In case of a temporary stoppage of work, it is not necessary to extinguish smoldering, it is enough to put the device on its side.

The beekeeper's safety precautions also include the sequence of working with the smoker:

  • Before you open the hive, you need to direct the smoke into the entrance to the bees to calm down.
  • When examining the nest, the smoke should cover the frame evenly, and not accumulate in one place.
  • Sudden movements should be avoided so as not to irritate the bees.
  • Fumigate only one frame, the others must be covered with a cloth.

To stop the smoker, you need to close the holes in the body. Oxygen will stop flowing, and the fire will go out. Clean the device only after it has cooled down.

Smokers can be used indoors if they have excellent ventilation. Taking precautions will reduce the chance of insect attacks and help you stay he althy.

Determine whether it is necessary to increase the amount of smoke, you can by the behavior of the bees. If they flew out of the hive but turned towards it, there is enough smoke for now. When they fly back again, you need to add.

Which equipment to choose?

The principle of operation for all devices is the same, the design is simple, so you can choose any model. For a small apiary for several hives, an ordinary simple smoker will suffice. If there are a lot of bee colonies, it is better to purchase a device with a fan so that your hands do not get tired after work.

Smoker for a beekeeper is one of the most necessary devices. Without it, it is difficult to do any work inside the hive. The device facilitates the care of bees, treatment, you can easily pick up the frames if you need to pump out honey, and so on. With the use of smoke, this work becomes much easier, since there is no need to fear that the bees will start attacking. You can work calmly, the quality of work will be higher, it will take less time.

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