How do I use a bee smoker?

In beekeeping, the breeding of bees, a device is used to create smoke that is sent to the bees momentarily, while the beekeeper can do his work. This object is called a smoker. So how to use it and why use smoke?

The ignition of the smoker

In its general appearance, a smoker has a reservoir, a spout and a bellows. If you are new to the beekeeping profession or just curious, you may wonder how to light the smoker. Four criteria must be met to ensure that lighting is done without any problems. It must be quick, the smoke must be of sufficient quantity or even abundant and cold, it must be the least toxic possible and the device must not go out in a short time.

Specialized stores have products that delay the extinguishing of the smoker, but it is also possible to do this by local means. Above all, it is necessary that the smoker is of good quality and that it is associated with a good fuel. There are a few models on the market, such as the electric one or a slightly more sophisticated one. For the first one, it is not very practical, its weight is rather annoying and the noise it makes does not irritate the bees and push them to attack.


What is the purpose of the smoke 

As far as smoke is concerned, it is used to mask the pheromones of the bees so that they do not become aggressive. In general, the smoke comes out of the smoker to stress the bees and make them leave the nest for a short time. Believing that the hive is on fire, the bees prepare to face the fire and it is this moment that the beekeeper seizes to do his work. Studies have shown that smoke deceives and hides the smell of the guards standing at the hive doors. Indeed, when they sense danger, they give off a venomous smell that serves as an alarm to the entire colony. In this case, it becomes difficult to intervene in the hive. This is why the smoking must be done correctly so that the smell of the venom of the guards is masked. Attention must be paid to the temperature of the smoke. Too hot it will sharpen the aggressiveness of the bees.


How to maintain the smoker?

It is also important to maintain the smoker after use. In fact, whatever the type of fuel used, the internal walls of the unit always become covered with tar which can run outside and can clog the mechanism. To get rid of this deposit, simply use a gas burner. The flame dissolves the tar and the ashes are simply scraped off. Sometimes the body of the smoker will brown under the effect of heat. To reduce this color change, the metal part of the smoker can be immersed in a hot bath containing trisodium phosphate. Finally, when choosing the fuel, beech is the most recommended fuel. It does not produce much tar and burns longer than other fuels.