Re: What do you use for smoker fuel? Any tips on keeping it lit?
The "trick" to any smoker is to start w/ the right amount of kindling and fire and then the bulk of the fuel. With the pellets, I would recommend you find some burlap or canvas to act as a sort of gasket between the initial fire and the pellets.
Originally Posted by westernbeekeeper
Crumple up newspaper, place it in the bottom of the smoker, set a match to it. Put another ball of newspapoer on top of that. Lay in a layer of burlap and fill the rest of the cavity w/ wood pellets. All the time you are doing this you will need to pump the bellows to keep the fire going.
I use bailing twine. Fortunately I live in an area which still has dairy farms which put up hay in square bails bound w/ twine. The nonplastic kind. Don't use plastic bailing twine.
I cut up a length of twine and shred the pieces to use as kindling for the ball of twine I will put in on top of the fire. I place the shredded twine in the smoker and light it w/ a match. Then a ball of twine is stuffed in on top of the fire, pumping the bellows to keep the fire going hot enuf to ignite the ball of twine.
I have friends who use burlap. When working w/ them I stuff burlap in on top of my bailing twine. Otherwise, I find it hard to keep lit. Especially between yards.
When in South Carolina I often use pine straw. One has to be careful about a really hot fire. It will spit fire, which can be hard on your bees and dangerous for you too.
If you ever see someone wearing shorts and you see what looks like burns on the insides of both legs above or near the knees, you can be pretty sure they are a beekeeper.
Mark Berninghausen "To float, upheld, as salt water would hold you, once you dared." Denise Levertov, poet