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Burlap makes a very good fuel as does baling twine..............just be sure the twine is not treated in some way. I use to get burlap bags from a very large coffee plant that is here in town (JFG).

pine needles work great also.
 

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I use burlap and I like the way it smells too...The kids always say it smells like a camp fire. I have a bunch of it here, but I can always go down to the local In n Out burger and get more for free. I let it sit for a while so the sun can bleach out any chemicals though. If you add some oil to the burlap before you light it, it will put off more smoke, but also smells worse, so I don't do that.

C2
 

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i use untreated pet/hamster bedding (wood shavings) from wal-mart. cheaper than burlap scraps, burns a LONG time, and the bags are compressed so for 2-3 bucks you get an amazing amount.
good luck,mike
 

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Thanks for the tip Mike! I'll have to check out that hamster bedding! I had been using the hickory wood chips you put in your BBQ to make your food taste better...figured if it was designed to smoke human food, it'd have to be untreated...

Really tho, I've only lit the smoker once. Usually I just give them a spray with honey-water and they're too busy licking it off to bother with me. But I only have one hive, and its pretty young. Does sugar water quit working as a distractor at some point?
 

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1."...Really tho, I've only lit the smoker once..."
when you need it , its too late to lght it, plus "practice makes perfect".
2."... Does sugar water quit working ..."
shortly you'll be in the dearth, and it will start "working" as an incitement to robbing.
3."...they're too busy licking it off to bother with me..."
a determined guard wont be distracted. if you crush a few (guarranteed you will) when the hive is full of bees and the boxes are heavy, smoke masks the alarm, as it does when your hands (or gloves) get a stinger in'em.
good luck,mike
 

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"... ill try tossing some in ontop of the straw i normally use next time..."
i use 1/4 sheet of newspaper,lightly wadded, in the bottom. light with a wooden kitchen match (or a long-nose "bic" grill lighter). when lit, put a handful of shavings on the burning paper, pump bellows till you see the shavings are burning, add till full. pump till smokeing well. dont forget to keep pumping periodically while inspecting. put out with a 1/4 sheet of newspaper rolled up and stuffed in snout(this "smothers" it in its own smoke). reuse this paper to light it next time. if full of leftover fuel, you can reuse the fuel.
 

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I get it free from my local coffee shop. I cut it into strips, roll it up and drop it sideways above lit newspaper. It's a long slow smolder that allows me to finish 10+ hives with no problem. I can sometimes relite it for a nuc inspection or two.
 

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Hey there fellow beekeepers:

Someone said nothing better than untreated burlap, but there is; and it's free for the picking.

If you or a friend or neighbor has cattle, just pick you up a sack of dry cow patties. This makes a smoke superior to all in my opinion. Matter of fact, sometimes here in La. we make a "smoke" in a small iron pot on the porch, we have no misquito or gnat problems, then.

Try it; you'll like it, and best of all it's free. I'm lucky to have a huge supply, but again, a little goes a long way.

All the best,

casper_zip
 
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