Smoker fuels for pests
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  1. #1

    Default Smoker fuels for pests

    I have heard tobacco used as a smoker fuel will help fight against mites. Has anyone ever tried this before? What other smoker fuels will help against pests? If I got mites in a hive, I would rather use something natural to get rid of them.

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  3. #2
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    >If I got mites . . .
    Sounds like
    a) not sure? - Reqular testing will tell you HOW MANY you DO have.
    b) "If" never happens, you ALWAYS have mites.

    Just "puffing something" in the hive as you open/work your bees will not be enough to effect the mites.

    Have you "searched" in BeeSource for "smoker fuel", "tobacco", etc.?

  4. #3
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    There was a thread earlier this year about using sumac. Thry searching on that, too.
    “The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.” -Henry David Thoreau

  5. #4
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    Is there any research on the family [Oxalidaceae] of plants that produce oxalic acid that could be used in a smoker?

  6. #5
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    Dried sumac berries are supposed to work. I have been using them. I have many, many mites.
    Thanks for your time, Beehopper

  7. #6
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    Something natural might include sugar dusting and drone trapping. Mites are tough and a serious problem. Checking for them and being flexible helps. Several in here have success with small cell. Michael Bush has that on his site....
    Thanks for your time, Beehopper

  8. #7
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    Wink

    An extract of nicotine has long been used to control pests on plants and I have read some studies about it's use for mites but I can't remember where. If you do use tobacco smoke, be sure and read the Surgeon General's warning on the container.
    doug

  9. #8
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    The USDA did some testing a while back for just such things. You may be able to find something on their website about it, it was there?

    If I remember correctly, grapefruit leaves were at the top of the pile with a couple kinda close but I don't recall what they were. None very common in most places I believe. All the rest seemed to wane away in the results.
    "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." Winston Churchill

  10. #9
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    Heck, you can get a good mite drop if you spray water into a hive.

    I don't think that anyone has ever shown that any of these different
    smokes could make an impact on mites sufficient to call them a
    "treatment" of any sort.

  11. #10
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    when varro first appear here in the us of a the european bee press suggested any number of items added to smoker fuel would help reduce varroa problems. tobacco was one and sumac another... there was not much science to reinforce this speculation. all the items listed should be considered harsh and possible fatal to the bees also.

  12. #11
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    My methods hardly qualify for even a high school science fair, but I found sumac berries in my smoker knocked down more mites than plain smoke.

    How did I find out? I took four hives and counted mites on a sticky board for three days. I smoked two hives with sumac and one with plain smoke and one left without smoke. Then I again counted the mites that fell in all four hives. I wrote down the figures but I can't put my fingers on them right now, and these four hives hardly justify any statistical evidence.

    In a nutshell, plain smoke (burlap and alfalfa cubes) knocked down additional mites and sumac knocked down a "lot more mites." It wasn't twice as many as the unsmoked hive, but it was 60% more additional mites with the sumac smoke. The plain smoke was like 20% more. I've also been told fogging with plain water will knock down mites but that another argument for another day.

    Sumac berries burn fast, so one little thumb-sized cluster of berries isn't going to make any difference. I started a small patch of burlap in the bottom of my smoker then loaded the smoker with sumac berries. They burn fast, they burn hot. The smoke is yellowish and acrid and you'll see bees vacating the hive. You'll hear the additional roar of their wings trying to vent the hive.

    It makes me wonder what the effect is on the bees. Since it burns fairly fast, you'll need to refill your smoker more often than normal. When the smoke isn't yellow anymore, I add a couple of more heads.

    BTW, now is the time to gather sumac berries.

    I don't use this method too often. I've found good results fogging a thymol cocktail with canola oil. And like smoking hives with sumac, you're only going to reach the exposed mites so you'll need to smoke the hives again to reach the mites protected in the sealed pupae.

    Hope this helps. I hardly call myself the expert on this method. There was an article in Bee Culture about three or four years ago.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO http://www.25hives.homestead.com
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  13. #12
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    >I have heard tobacco used as a smoker fuel will help fight against mites. Has anyone ever tried this before?

    I have tried tobacco. I didn't see any change. You can smoke until the bees pass out and maybe some mites will fall, but I didn't see a significant difference. However when your bees start to pile up on the bottom board from asphyxiation it's a bit scary.

    > What other smoker fuels will help against pests?

    Rumor is that Sumac does. Seems like I've heard a few others.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 42y 40h 39yTF

  14. #13
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    I always thought smoking was for the benefit of the beekeeper anyway. Come on, we all know it's true but don't want to admit it.

    "[SIZE=-1] Yep, some beekeepers have been using "liquid smoke" for quite a while. One even marketed aerosol cans of the stuff, but had a lot of problems with the nozzle plugging up and I have not seen them around for some time. I used the stuff myself but after years of walking around with a hot smoker between my legs I could not get used to the cool air on my private parts and still use a smoker that never seems to burn as good as in the good old days when we burned old fish net that was dipped in hot tar and used to bring in hundreds of tons of Monterey Bay sardines before being retired to the junk pile. What a smoke that stuff made...I think the first smoke a beekeeper uses is no different then the first honey he produces and licks off his fingers in the honey house, there is just never anything as good as that first taste of real honey or that first lung full of bee smoke. I still got a few smoker loads of that old fish net hid away and if I ever feel my last breath is near and I can get my old smoker fired up I am going out in a white cloud of cool fish net smoke and the lasting dreams of the big crops of past."

    https://www.beesource.com/pov/andy/andy6.htm
    [/SIZE]

  15. #14
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    Arrow

    Might try adding some propolis to you smoker fuel. Has anybody added beeswax to there smoker fuel so it'll burn longer? I use hemp burlap.

  16. #15
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    I use the wax-sodden paper towels from my poor man's solar wax melter as starter.
    “The keeping of bees is like the direction of sunbeams.” -Henry David Thoreau

  17. #16

    Default

    "Heck, you can get a good mite drop if you spray water into a hive."
    You mean just misting water on the bees? I know that misting plants can help with certain bugs. Actually this summer, one of my grandma's plants was covered in spider mites. The soapy water wasn't killing them, so I dropped the whole plant in the lake and left it for a few hours. I took it out later and didn't see a single mite the rest of the summer. Too bad it isn't always that easy.
    I was actually interested in Russian bees because they're supposed to be more mite resistant than other bees.
    Has anyone used eucalyptus for mites? I've heard that may help too. What kind of sumac berries should be used? We have staghorn sumacs and some other wild stuff, but I haven't seen berries on any of them.

  18. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bettinacharlotta View Post
    I have heard tobacco used as a smoker fuel will help fight against mites. Has anyone ever tried this before? What other smoker fuels will help against pests? If I got mites in a hive, I would rather use something natural to get rid of them.

    I have outlined my feelings on smoker fuel here on beesource for several years now.

    I'll start by saying, that you will hear many state they smoke with one fuel or another and claim they kill mites outright. I don't agree with this at all.

    Many items increase a hive's hygienic behavior and grooming. A study even saw increased mite drop from the mere fact that the hive was opened and inspected.

    If I smoke your arm in the morning, I bet you would be able to smell the smoke residue later that same evening. That same smoke residue is what coats everything inside the hive when you smoke the bees. Keeping in mind that the hive is controlled by the queens pheromones, this smoker residue would be an irritant and a smell foreign to the hive. I see bees go into a period of increased grooming and cleansing after such smoking. I think much of the increased mite drop is from this same grooming and hygienic behavior in trying to cleanse the hive of this foreign smell.

    I hear some say that they see dead mites on the bottom after such smoker use with one fuel or another. I don't buy into some level of smoke that kills mites off bees outright, and yet leaves the bees undamaged. My own observations is that if your killing mites outright off the bodies of bees with items such as tobacco, your killing bees too.

    I think some fuels leave a more heavy residue than others. But I feel any smoke at all would have the same impact on the hives to some degree. I have heard about tobacco, sumac pods, and a host of other items.

    I'm not convinced that smoking alone should be considered a form of mite control. I'm not aware of any studies based on stand alone mite control by smoking.

  19. #18

    Smile My 2 Cents On Smoke Fuel

    All, I'm so wet behind the ear in the hobby that is not funny, BUT ....... I read about the Tobacco smoke in a few sites/articles, and although not claiming to be a fully organic beekeeper. I mean how organic am I when I use Beemax hives and plastic foundation, right? I do want to try and stay away from harsh chemicals. But isn't nicotine a chemical?? anyway ..........

    I did just recently try the tobacco smoke and sugar dusting treatment. Smoked the hive once a week for 3 consecutive weeks beginning November, and on the fourth week dusted it with sugar.
    I would call it a prevention treatment NOT a CURE. On any given day I can find 2 ->4 mites under the hive in the trap. I take tons of pictures during my inspections so I can do a better inspection (via the pictures) and so far I have never seen mites on my bees while inspecting. SO I believe I have alow/ normal Varroa count. Florida literature says 60+ daily counts of mites in the trap is a critical problem.

    AFTER smoking with tobacco, the count spiked up for about 3 days, Daily mite count = 6 --> 10 mites. THE mites are not dead, they just either fell off, or were groomed off by the bees, but it doesn't kill them. So I have to agree with those of you that say it triggers a grooming cycle in the bees to rid them selves of the harsher smoke, and it is harsher. I'm not a smoker, and I was nauseous the 1st time for several hrs. I never observed any dead bees after smoking them w/tobacco ... no piles, there are always some dead outside here and there.

    Is the problem still under control? YES, can I guaranteed is due to my treatment ? NO

    NOTE: I do grow my own tobacco; I dry leaves until they smell like an old cigarette butt. I used wads of 3 big leafs each time. This stuff is fresh and very very strong.
    Beeanonymous-Melbourne,FL - Bees give a natural buzz......
    http://beeanonymous.blogspot.com/

  20. #19
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    I've tried beeswax as an assist to get the smoker going...but the problem is is that unburned oxidized wax produces a thick acrid smoke that I didn't want to breath much less blow that on the bees. Not nice smoke. A little to start is fine, but if you have too much in there....

    Cedar chips and pine needles do a lot better. Still not pleasant to get a faceful.

    Rick

  21. #20
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    And I guess you do not take any stock in fact that human find herbal remedies every day in the rainforests. Take a look at the herbal cures for serious enfermities humans have; it is truly amazing-some of the things this earth provides us with. We just have to try them out.

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