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I'd like people's opiions on mybe using charcoal briquettes designed for a bbq smoker, the match light type, to use as starter fuel in the bee smoker to get it going, then add main smoker fuels on top of the hot coals. The hot coals would just be to keep it smoldering. The charcoal is desgned for use with food, which makes me think it might be safe for the bees too -- the additives have been burned off before it would be used near the bees and there's nothing left then but the hot coals.
 

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I think the fumes produced by the insta light types of charcoal would poison the bees. The charcoal is infused with lighter type fluid. I know you said that you would let them burn down but do you really know for certain that all of the chemicals have been eliminated.

I would use wood stove pellets, they are cheap and are safer for the bees.
 

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I roll up a tight wad of pine needles and shove them in the smoker and then follow up with dry tree bark, wood sticks, and stems shoved into the pine needles. The pine needles get going pretty fast and don't last as long but they get the woody pieces burning and the smoker lasts a good long time and produces good thick smoke.

I use a several puffs on the guard bees at the entrance which pretty much takes out their ability to sound the alarm and communicate and then a few good puffs at each opening I make in the hive as I lift up the boxes. This seems to keep the commotion down to a minimum.
 

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I just use pine needles. They start right up with a lighter, & burn a long time.
Sometimes I toss a few pellets on top when I light the needles. Then add more needles to fill the smoker.
 

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Most often, I get a paper towel blazing and then sprinkle pine pet bedding into the smoker. I progressively add more pine chips.

I wouldn't use any type of charcoal.
 

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Wax paper is a nice starter. Gives me an excuse to buy a donut when I go to grocery store, they always have those waxed paper bags to put them in. I eat the donut, bag goes in my smoker pail. Throw some pine needles on top, then some wood pellets on top of that and I have had good luck (and most importantly I get a donut).
 

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I use hamster bedding wood shavings. It smells great, but doesn't really last long. I have so much of it left over, so why throw it out? :D I wouldn't use charcoal briquettes either, I can only imagine how the bees would feel.
 

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I'd like people's opiions on mybe using charcoal briquettes designed for a bbq smoker, the match light type, to use as starter fuel in the bee smoker to get it going, then add main smoker fuels on top of the hot coals. The hot coals would just be to keep it smoldering. The charcoal is desgned for use with food, which makes me think it might be safe for the bees too -- the additives have been burned off before it would be used near the bees and there's nothing left then but the hot coals.
Why would you do that anyways? There are much better ways to light a smoker. I have gotten smokers to go though the night on wood stove pellets- AKA kitty litter pellets in the south....
Right now i run pine needles, pellets, and cedar shavings...
mike
 

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The fuel I like is burlap. Used to get burlap bags from animal feed, but it is all packaged in paper or plastic now days. I love it when I can find some old burlap bags. I will buy a couple yards of new burlap when I get hard up. News paper to get it going.
 

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Gives me an excuse to buy a donut when I go to grocery store, they always have those waxed paper bags to put them in. I eat the donut, bag goes in my smoker pail. (and most importantly I get a donut).
And wife cant figure out why being outdoors all the time you still gained 10 extra lbs. since you started beekeeping......:lpf:
 

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I have always used wornout jeans. Cut them in about 7" lengths
and then cut the ends about 2" wide and about 4" up. That makes
them light easy and just push them in and your ready to go. I
usually stick a few pieces in my pocket in case I need more. Try
it I think You will like it.
 

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I hike a lot in the mountains and always keep an eye out for very rotten downed tree trunks. Often bring back a packfull. When dried they make an excellent smoke. Second choice is 3X6 inch strips of old cotton blue jeans - got lots of 'em. Both start easily with a small piece of newspaper. I find pine needles burn too rapidly and too hot, but lots of beeks use them. Burlap is great too but some beeks are concerned about what the brulap may have been treated with in its previous use.

Steve
 

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I use pine needles...have plenty for free on my property. To get things going, I use the paper that foundation is wrapped in!

I had purchased these cotton cylinders from one of the beekeeping suppliers, but I really disliked them---hard to keep burning and smelled awful. Also, the smoke from the cotton things seemed to irritate my bees and make them more aggressive.
 

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The fuel I like is burlap. Used to get burlap bags from animal feed, but it is all packaged in paper or plastic now days. I love it when I can find some old burlap bags. I will buy a couple yards of new burlap when I get hard up. News paper to get it going.
I use burlap as well - we have lots of places around us that roast coffee beans, so all I have to do is swing by one of those places and they are always happy to give me a big burlap coffee bean bag. I cut it up in pieces and I'm all set for quite some time. I can light the burlap directly with a lighter and it burns steadily and won't put itself out. Great stuff and easy to find free (at least around my parts)
 

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I use pine or spruce sticks that are about 1/2 to 3/4 inch diameter and about as long as the smoker is deep. I have a lot of trees around and can cut a bunch of dead branches in just a few minutes. Fill the smoker, light up the old propane torch, apply to wood for a minute, and you're set.
 
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