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Your Friend the "Smoker"

Your Friend the "Smoker"

Posted by Bruce Clow on 25th Jan 2022

Your Friend the “Smoker”

Even though this is not a form of protective clothing, your smoker is one of the most important protections against the stinging bee. Fuel for your smoker always seems to be an issue. Any material that will give a clean, non-toxic cool smoke will do. Ones most often used are dry pine needles, hay, wood shavings or pellets, shredded egg cartons, rolled up cardboard, rolled up old cotton towels, or my favourite, hessian sacking. I use clean weathered sacking that has been allowed to rot to the stage when pulled it is easy to tear and will provide you with a supply of cool smoke. The advantages I see are the ease of lighting it, it lasts quite a long time, and it is easy to refill in the field. Bruce has a good video on youtube that you might like to watch. He talks about smoker fuel and lighting the smoker. Here’s the link:

Cool smoke will not panic the bees. The old theory was that the bee’s instinctive reaction to smoke is to take a feed of honey to defend them against the bushfire, which they believe comes with smoke. With a belly full of honey, the bee is unable to curl its body to get the position it requires to drive in the sting. The honeybee is the most studied insect and in the last two years research has suggested that the use of smoke in the hive is an effective tool to stop the pheromone signaling of the bees to attack/sting you.

It pays to use a wooden bung or cork to smother the fire after use, making for easier lighting next time. (We have heard stories of truck decks mysteriously catching on fire as they go down the road).

Ensure the smoker does not get too close to your veil. The nylon gauze of the veil will melt, and you can be sure the bees will find that hole before you do.

Please do not tip your smoker backwards as hot embers can be sucked into the bellows burning small holes in the leatheroid.

Ceracell carries a wide range of smokers and replacement bellows to meet your needs.If you treat your smoker with care it will look after you for a long time.