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Discussion Starter #1
A lady who retired from hairdressing gave me a large amount of cotton. Can this be used for smoking the hives? It is just cotton with nothing added.
 

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Yes you will most likely need some other things. A lot of time I do a mix of pine needles
 

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I put cotton on the very top of the smoker's chamber with shavings and pellets under it. It keeps sparks from being blown out of the smoker.
 

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Yes

Dadant's sells 'cotton ginning waste' as smoker fuel; I've used it and it works well if.......IF........you get a good hot fire with wood chips etc going first.
 

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So many smoker fuels...pine needles, sage brush, cardboard rolls (with a 1" hole down the middle!), old cotton jeans, sawdust, live wax moth worms (one or two at a time!), eucalyptus bark, little black chunks of solar wax melter crud to keep it lit, and six extra rolls in your pockets or 25 in your backpack if you have a lot of hives. It lives in the metal bucket when waiting at rest, right near the water jug AND the extinguisher to put out any fires that might manage to happen despite the best of efforts to prevent them.

Yes, cotton should be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
kilocharlie- I'm still chuckling. I use some of the fuels you mentioned and do have a fire extinguisher handy. As for the wax worms my automatic response is a quick squash.

Everyone else- Thanks for your information. I usually use white pine needles and will add the cotton to see how it goes.
 

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cardboard rolls (with a 1" hole down the middle!)
I don't put a hole in my cardboard rolls. My rolls are about 2" high. I make them whenever I have a cardboard box. I roll them up tight and push a roofing nail into the roll to keep it together. Pull the nail out before using. I push it into the bottom of the smoker, then stuff pine needles in on top of it. When I have it well packed I cram a self-igniting torch tip down through everything until it gets to the cardboard, pull the trigger for a five count and torch is lit. Enough air seems to get through the corrugations just fine.

Youtube is full of ten minute long videos showing people coaxing their smokers to life. Forget all of that. Get a torch. A beekeeper should have one anyways.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
justbee01- That's a good idea. Thanks for sharing. I've used the cotton I first mentioned and it works fine.
 
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