How to light your smoker and keep it alight

Posted by Charlie Lawrence on

You will not be surprised to know that lighting a smoker is easy but how about keeping it alight? You waste time collecting bits of dried out wood or cutting and rolling cardboard then wonder why your smoker always goes out or that your bees are stroppy.

Well let’s think about it for a moment: Firstly unreliable material - when you collect those odd bits of dried out wood you have no idea of the calorific value of it, it could burn for 3 minutes or 30.

The first step to giving yourself a fighting chance is to use a reliable material with a known value: Wood Pellet Smoker Fuel

Next let’s look at the rolled up cardboard - try this first: Light your smoker then fill it with corrugated cardboard and light it. Next puff some smoke so you can smell and taste it – does that smell or taste pleasant?

Of course not!

Corrugated card board is glued by using either a synthetic glue or one derived from such things as whale blubber! It does not burn, it smolders and gives off the acrid smell and taste you have just experienced.

Now tell me how you think the bees will react to it!

Try this:

You will need ½ sheet of any newspaper, some egg cartons that have no glued labels etc. and a reliable material such as wood pellets and of course your smoker!

Assuming your smoker is ready to use, crunch up the newspaper not too tight and light it, place this in the smoker and push it down gently give the bellows a couple of squeezes then add the egg box in sections to the smoker. Push it down a little harder, then squeeze the bellows until you hear the change in sound and the flames roar.

Using your hive tool push the now lit material down some more then add wood pellets (just a handful), this should last you about an hour, and if you add more pellets it will last longer.

You may need to practice this a couple of times to get the mix of material right for your particular needs.

To make things easier still you may want to try our cotton smoker fuel HD-550 and Kwikstart HD-554


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2 comments

  • Excellent information thank you

    Claire Owen on
  • Thank you for this valuable information as I sometimes fail to keep my smoker going throughout the inspection of my hives.
    I will try your method and let you know.

    Clare Hughes on

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