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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Pinellas County, State of Florida
    Posts
    32

    Default Re: smoker fuel bonanza

    I, too, had heard about using cotton for smoker fuel, but my real interest was in the plant itself. I read that it had nice flowers (start out pink, change to white), and bees would be attracted to it. So, on one of my road trips, I gathered a few cotton boles from Georgia, brought them home, separated the seed from the actual cotton, and then planted the seeds. I grew lovely cotton plants! And they are such a source of education, also. Most people have no idea what a cotton bole even is (how clothe is manufactured, etc.). Anyway, my cotton plants are 100% organic, as is my hive, as is everything grown in my yard - so no worries from me on burning this in my smoker. Results - not impressed! The cotton did not stay lighted sufficiently to conduct a full inspection of my hives. I went back to pine needles - love 'em! But I'll keep growing the cotton, because it's way cool.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    566

    Default Re: smoker fuel bonanza

    I have been told locally that cotton growers have to maintain a certain amount of hives to pollenate the plants during the growing season. But you never hear about cotton honey. Does it taste like cotton candy?

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    brownwood, TX, USA
    Posts
    812

    Default Re: smoker fuel bonanza

    Mann Lakes sells cotton smoking fuel. I got a couple of packages from them a year or so back to finish an order out to 100 bucks. It burns real fast, so I used it as a starter fuel. it's real easy to light, and then one can place some hard wood above the cotton. I didn't see anything detrimental to my bees, but I won't be ordering it again.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Manitoba Canada
    Posts
    5,835

    Default Re: smoker fuel bonanza

    cant be as bad a burlap

    the cotton will be fine
    Ian Steppler >> Canadian Beekeeper's Blog
    www.stepplerfarms.com

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
    Posts
    1,988

    Default Re: smoker fuel bonanza

    sqaurepeg, I know what you mean about the pinestraw being harsh. I even had some capping honey that I can smell/taste the pinestraw smoke in. My mentor told me to get some wood pellets and use them...better smelling smoke and it doesn't stink up your clothes as bad. Now don't get me wrong, I have a big pine forest on the property and would love to use the straw but...

    Anyhow, I couldn't get the pellets to light and stay burning using a propane torch (what my mentor uses). I complained to my mentor and he off-handedly said "well get some grass and stuff in there". That's what I do now....ball up a wad of mowed yard grass between baseball and softball size, hold over the top of the smoker and light the bottom, let it flame up and then lightly push it down into the smoker. Start pumping. Get that thick rolling smoke going and push the grass down into the smoker more solidly with your hive tool. Make sure it's still smoking thickly. Pour about half a smoker full of pellets on top of the grass and commence to pumping again until the smoke is rolling out thick. Add some more pellets if you want to. Once your satisfied with it then wad up some green grass/weeds and put on top of the pellets to keep them from rolling out when you point your smoker downward (you'd probably do this anyway to keep ashes from blowing out). Close her up and start working. I can work my five hives with no problem of the smoker going out or running out of fuel. A full smoker (I use the Kelley Cloud Chief) will be good fuel-wise for probably three inspections. I simply pour the used pellets into a metal pan when I get ready to relight for another inspection, add a ball of grass to get it going and gradually add by the semi-burned pellets....seems to burn good. After three inspections I figure pellets are cheap enough and start over with some new ones. The grass has a strong smell to it but it doesn't last long...the oak is a sight better than pine (and I've smelled a lot of pines being burned off!!).

    Anyhow, just thought I'd throw that at you and looks like I got long-winded. I had thought about using some field cotton, too, but always wondered about the defoliants and whatnot. I think Dennis was giving you his gut feeling on that...and I trust gut feelings.

    Best wishes,
    Ed

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