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I was reading "Beekeeping A Practical Guide" by Richard E. Bonney today and he states that you can use tobacco smoke for doing mite counts. He says to put 2-3 grams in your smoker without other fuel, blow the smoke into the hive ,seal it up bees and all till morning. Then remove your sticky board and inspect for mites. Has anyone tried this? M. Quinby in his book "Beekeeping Explained" mentioned he used tobacco in his smoker as fuel.
Colino
 

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For what its worth...I believe Nicotine among other compounds in tabacco is atleast a deterant in nature if not an insecticide, this is how the tabacco keeps bugs from chewing on the leaves. I believe niconocides are synthesized from nicotine.

I am probably a little wrong, googlers please correct me.
 

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For what its worth...I believe Nicotine among other compounds in tabacco is atleast a deterant in nature if not an insecticide, this is how the tabacco keeps bugs from chewing on the leaves. I believe niconocides are synthesized from nicotine.

I am probably a little wrong, googlers please correct me.
Neonicotinoids. Is that what you meant?

Nicotine was used as a pesticide ages ago.

I don't know if the use of tobacco has been substantiated as a miticide or not.
 

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What's interesting to note, is that some of the beekeepers in 'More Than Honey' used cigar smoke when working their hives. Not a smoker.

I don't think that you want that getting into honey though.
 

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For what its worth...I believe Nicotine among other compounds in tabacco is atleast a deterant in nature if not an insecticide, this is how the tabacco keeps bugs from chewing on the leaves. I believe niconocides are synthesized from nicotine.

I am probably a little wrong, googlers please correct me.
Blackleaf 40. My father used it on his beans to kill aphides and a few other plants. It was banned in the 80s I think. Chewing tobacco soaked in water can also do the job ( the juice).
 

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What's interesting to note, is that some of the beekeepers in 'More Than Honey' used cigar smoke when working their hives. Not a smoker.

I don't think that you want that getting into honey though.
The old school method, someone actually brought that up during our Club meeting tonight, how her grandfather smoked a cigar while working hives. No veil no handheld smoker. I don't think tabacco smoke was used for any benefit or harm to the bees. Rather simply a readily available method that is palatable, calms the bees, and protects your face.
 

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Just purely out of interest I grew some tobacco plants last year to use in the bee smoker. Turns out it is very easy to grow & I got a good crop, lots of dried tobacco leaves stored in the basement now.

Using it was a disappointment though. I mix a leaf or two in with the other smoker fuel but found it is quite repellent to the bees, they run away from it and also are more aggressive than if just normal smoke is used.

Mites? tried smoking heavily then checking a few bottom boards, couldn't really find any noteworthy numbers of fallen mites.

One use I have found for the tobacco is package making. One of my methods is to put a queen excluder on the hive and a box of empty comb, then smoke in the entrance so the bees go up, then shake the bees from the box of empty comb into packages. Found that this is a lot more effective if there is tobacco in the smoker, once again, likely because of the repellent nature of it.
 

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Small world. I ordered tobacco seeds from the ARS germ plasm bank a while ago.

They became some some good looking plants.

I'm surprised some folks don't grow them more.
 

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Oldtimer, I also grow tobacco. I would not use the leaves. Sell those if they are any good. And no it is not illegal to sell tobacco as a leaf. it is illegal to sell tobacco product. It is not tobacco product until you have shredded it or made it into chewing tobacco of one sort or another. Burn the stalks. I have barrels full of them from growing nearly 200 plants a year.

I am not sure how you cured your tobacco. if you just air dried it I would run from it also. It needs to be cured. If kept slightly moist almost dry to the touch but not crumbly dry it will cure on it's own after a few years. Raw dried out tobacco has a nasty acrid taste to it. Tobacco is like wine. It gets better with age.
 

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The two smoker fuels that I have heard have miticidal properties are creosote and juniper.

I did manage to peel off juniper bark, and gather dried juniper leaves so as to have enough medicinal smoker fuel should the need arise. I haven't tried it yet.
 

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I am not sure how you cured your tobacco. if you just air dried it I would run from it also. It needs to be cured. If kept slightly moist almost dry to the touch but not crumbly dry it will cure on it's own after a few years. Raw dried out tobacco has a nasty acrid taste to it. Tobacco is like wine. It gets better with age.
You hang it in a barn that has good ventilation. The idea is to let it dry gently. I lived in Virginia for a while and stopped to pick some tobacco (a few leaves) from a field on the side of the road, luckily I was not shot for the offense (as I found out later from my freinds). I hung it in the garage and it came out ok for hand made cigars. I also found out that one does not "pick" tobacco; you "cut" it. If you say pick, you will be recognized as an outsider and likely shot.

Another interesting thing that I found out was that cutting tobacco is dangerous work. Imagine working in the hot summer sun with stifling humidity. Arms and face brushing up against the plants. Nicotine goes right through your skin and you get quite a dose of it and it can poison you. Think of the time SWIM was caught with cigarettes and dad made him smoke an entire pack to teach him a lesson; not a pretty outcome.

But hey, tobacco is 100% natural and organic right? So it must be good for people and bees.
 

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I lived in Virginia for a while and stopped to pick some tobacco (a few leaves) from a field on the side of the road, luckily I was not shot for the offense.
Hence the name Nabber. In colloquial Ehglish parlance, not sure if it's used this way in the US, you nabbed the tobacco, you yourself luckily, were not nabbed. :)
 

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In one of the old books from the late 1800's there is a mention of tobacco being used. It was given up as the bees tended to die from it.
 

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Hence the name Nabber. In colloquial Ehglish parlance, not sure if it's used this way in the US, you nabbed the tobacco, you yourself luckily, were not nabbed. :)

Coming from a country that started out as a penal colony, I understand your comment. Oh wait, that did not come out so good; wrong country. I will show myself out now. :kn:


[SUP]*History and geography are not strong American atributes. ;)

[/SUP]
 

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Ha Ha.

Actually you are right in part. We were not a penal colony but some of the early settlers were of such bad stock that some years back a prominent Maori activist said all the whites should go back to England on the basis of the kind of people they are descended from, and then rattled off all the sins / shortcomings our ancestors were accused of. The funny part being she was dead serious. :)
 

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Tobacco 1012 002.jpg
You hang it in a barn that has good ventilation. The idea is to let it dry gently. I hung it in the garage and it came out ok for hand made cigars.

I also found out that one does not "pick" tobacco; you "cut" it. If you say pick, you will be recognized as an outsider and likely shot.

Another interesting thing that I found out was that cutting tobacco is dangerous work. Imagine working in the hot summer sun with stifling humidity. Arms and face brushing up against the plants. Nicotine goes right through your skin and you get quite a dose of it and it can poison you.
Hanging it in a barn woudl be considered air cured and takes quite a while to get done. that only turns the leaf brown. It is not ready to smoke at that point. You would then want to do something that converts the starches into sugars int he leaf. you can do that in several ways including just letting it remain in a humid environment for a few months to a few years. You can also flue cure it or sun cure it. Flue curing is actually putting it in a low temperature oven and it will both dry and cure it in about a week to two weeks. That is what I did with my crap last year and the temperature controller on my kiln malfunctioned and cooked my leaf. This does not include special methods such as perique and others.

As far as harvesting. It is called cutting mainly becasue if you stalk harvest you actually cut the plant down. Drop it on the ground to wilt in the sun for a short period of time then load it on wagons to be hauled to the tobacco barn. What you did woudl be called "Priming" Or picking individual leaves. That woudl be the correct way to harvest leaf for making cigars but you still want to pick them at the right time. A leaf actually has a period where it is considered ripe.

As for working it in the hot sun. I do not have to imagine. I do that every year. Yes it can and will make you very sick. It will make your hands black and is very difficult to wash off.

Tobacco is a member of the Nightshade family and is related to the Tomato. If you can grow tomatoes, you can grow tobacco. Tobacco wants to grow like a tomato plant as well. sending out a new branch at each leaf junction. you want to prevent these branches or "Suckers" from growing and keep all the growth to just a few leaves on the main stalk. Leaves 3 feet long are common. You also want to cut off the top of the plant once it starts to form a blossom. This is known as topping. The remainder of the plant will then thicken and become fuller. It is a huge amount of work.

Here is a photo I took showing the growth rate of tobacco. the plants are from right to left. one week after placing seed, two weeks then three weeks. in as little as 12 more weeks that largest plant will be 12 feet tall with leaves 3 feet long.
 

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Okay well the photo decided to go to the top of my reply. could not figure out how to move it to the bottom.
 

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This is a photo of some of the first leaves we harvested from the first plants we grew 4 years ago. These leaves are on the small side.
normal_YTB_Leaves_16_weeks.JPG

And another showing the majority of what I grow each year.
normal_18_weeks_old.JPG

By the way I was told by the experts that tobacco cannot be grown this way.
 
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