The best fuel for bee smoker can aid the farmer against the infamously fierce insect during hive inspections and honey extractions. Thus, it is an indispensable tool in every beekeeper’s starter pack.
However, it is not always easy to find the exact smoker fuel that matches their budget and functions well enough. Therefore, to simplify everything, we have chosen five reliable and bee-friendly products and give them a comprehensive assessment for your consideration.
Buying Guide – Criteria Of The Best Fuel For Bee Smoker
Quality smoker fuel can be lit easily, affordable, calms the bees effectively, burns long enough, and does not harm the bees or the beekeepers.
Let’s break it down into details!
The material is everything underlying the best fuel for bee hive smokers. They can be made of cotton, softwood, pellets, pine needles, and so forth. Each has different pros and cons when used.
- Pine Needles
Pine needles, or pine straws, are the best materials for smoker fuel as they smell light, give cool smoke, and are beginner-friendly. It is advisable to add some rolled paper onto the heap for quicker combustion.
Burlap is also well-known as a reliable and accessible smoker fuel. Moreover, it is highly combustible at low heat, allowing the smoker to generate consistent smoldering throughout the process.
- Pinewood Shaving
This material is also another option to consider, which beekeepers can find at certain local pet stores. However, even though it burns well, it tends to reach an overly hot point that damages the bees instead of calming them. Hence, it would be best if you only used wood shavings to repel wasps.
- Cotton Cut-Offs
Cotton cut-offs are not so good, either. Even though they are cheap, they require too much heat to burn on their own, not to mention you may accidentally burn yourself while doing the job.
- Compressed Wood Pellets
These pellets are highly recommended as bee smoker fuel. However, they are slightly challenging to light up, which can discourage many beginners. Thus, we don’t recommend them if you are new to beekeeping.
- Blue denim jeans
Denim jeans, fabricated of absolute cotton, perform great in keeping long, consistent, and gentle smoke. We strongly recommend this material as long as it is 100% pure cotton.
This natural material might be another viable option as it emits a nice smell and does no harm to bee health.
Materials To Avoid
Tobacco, which is something that bees find much interest in, can be extremely harmful and even deadly to them.
Petroleum, such as kerosene or gasoline, is overly strong for bee sedation. It can even cause uncontrollable arson. So please steer clear of it!
Certain plants are highly toxic to bees. Thus, we suggest that you use dry hay or grass only.
Finally, you should give blue jeans with chemical components a miss. They can irritate the bee colony.
In-Depth Review Of The Best Fuel For Bee Smoker
Here comes our list of the best fuel for a bee smoker.
Midwest Smoker Fuel For Bees: Best Overall
This is the first and the best bee smoker fuel UK that we are gladly presenting to you.
Coming from the brand Midwest Gloves – which has made quite a name for itself with quality workwear and garden gears, the Midwest smoker fuel performs extremely well in sedating the bees.
Also, the product is made of 100% cotton fiber, making itself an unequaled head start. By inserting parts of the cotton into the smoker, you can instantly sense a soft smell surrounding the hive, calming the bees. That’s when to start your work.
For maximum results, you can add some woody materials together with the cotton mix. Another aspect that we consider a plus in this product is its harmless effects on both the bees and the users, unlike tobacco’s deadly smells.
The only downside is its slightly high price. But we suppose you get what you pay for, right?
- Can be easily lit with lighters or matches.
- Long burning time.
- Works amazingly to calm bees.
- Does not harm bees.
- Suitable for both normal and commercial purposes.
- A bit expensive.
Verdict: If you are looking for a robust smoker fuel, look no further. The Midwest Gloves smoker fuel for bees can match every requirement of yours, from its material to excellent performance.
Western Bee Supplies Wood Pellets: Best Ignition
This product has recently sparked a lot of divisive reviews. But as always, we choose to sit on the fence and express our objective opinion.
It comprises compressed wood pellets, yet outcompeting the last one in the ability to be lit up effortlessly. That is thanks to the cotton balls that the manufacturer has included in the package.
With these alcohol-soaked fire starters, you can ignite the smoker fuel easily. First, drop the cotton in the smoker, then snuggle the fuel nicely on top, and you are completely prepared to do your job.
When you have finished using the sparks, add some dry green grass onto the fuel to cool it down and prevent unnecessary fire from spreading.
Yet again, an inherent shortcoming of small pellets is the fact that they cannot burn for a desired amount of time. Not to mention, they cost comparatively higher than other equivalents on the market.
- Easy to light up.
- Generates consistent smoke.
- Clean burning.
- Can calm the bees effectively.
- Environmentally friendly.
- A bit expensive.
- Does not last long.
Verdict: If you are against hassles like us, hesitate no more. Take your pick now! This product will save you a ton of time, fuel, and trouble throughout the process.
GooDay Medicinal Herb Smoke Fuel: Best Aroma
As its name implies, this product carries a light scent into the bees’ senses, paralyzing such danger agents for a while. We can even say that you will enjoy the hive inspecting/ extracting process while using this pick.
Another plus point of scented pellets is their doubled effects in repelling pests, thus saving you another amount of money. Moreover, upon smoking, the product gives off a nice, clean burn without any fillers to wipe off after that.
The only turnoff is, you can guess, that they are way too small. Each unit is just twice as big as a cigarette butt. Thus, you may need to use a dozen pellets for every working session.
- Gives off pleasant smells.
- Composed of harmless medicinal herbs.
- Can repel invading pests.
- No-risk guarantee from the manufacturer.
- Quite small.
- Hard to light.
Verdict: For those sensitive to the smell of smoke, this aromatic Gooday fuel is specifically catered to their needs.
BeeCastle Hive Smoker Pellets: Best Budget
Speaking of affordability, none of any other smoker fuels can surpass this BeeCastle. But, to be clear, we do not necessarily equate a cheap price with poor quality.
The total burning duration of the BeeCastle is about fifteen to twenty minutes, which is highly facilitating for you to do the harvesting job. Also, the fuel is in the form of Chinese medicinal herbs, which can gently coax the bees and cause you no discomfort during the process.
However, as the pellets are small, the smokescreen will not be thick enough for deeper inspections. Thus, they are not suitable if you aim to check the hives closely for larvae and eggs or if you have more than one hive.
And there is another problem with starting the fuel. You may need to use extra kindling before getting started.
- Highly affordable.
- Produces a clean smoke.
- Lasts for 20 minutes.
- Light smell.
- The pellets can be bigger.
- A bit hard to light up.
Verdict: If you take beekeeping as a mere pastime or do not want to invest too much into it, this smoker fuel should be your top choice.
Mann Lake HD554 KwikStart Smoker: Best Smoke
This product is a set of compact pellets, allowing you to carry them around with convenience. Also, the full pack consists of 100 pellets, which can be saved for multiple uses.
To start, you need to use some twigs or woods along with burlaps to kindle the pellets. It will take a bit of effort but trust us, but it is eventually worth it. Then, you’ll notice a thick, cool layer of smoke gently bursting out into the air.
Yet, a flaw of the Mann Lake KwikStart pellets is they only last about 15 minutes. Therefore, you can only do simple tasks, for example, moving the hives onto frames, changing hive components, or quick inspections with that amount of time.
- Gives off a nice, thick, and clean smoke.
- Small and convenient.
- Suitable to use on more than one hive.
- Burn quite hot.
- Cannot work alone.
Verdict: We do not recommend the product if your point is to scrutinize the beehives. You may not have enough time to prepare before the bees get riled up again. But for simple, daily check-ups, the KwikStart is a nice pick.
100% Cotton Knitted Bee Smoker Fuel
The fuel circles are made entirely of cotton cultivated in the United States. It is a knitted cotton fabric that is easy to light and never catches fire. This smoker also smolders slowly and produces a pleasant smoke. That is precisely why many people prefer it. It comes in 8-inch circles that are all uniformly cut.
- Product dimension is 12 x 8 x 5 inches and weighs 2 pounds each.
- It is easy to light up.
- Comes with uniform 8 inch circles.
- Made of 100 percent knit cotton textile.
- Made using US grown cotton.
- Smolders slowly.
Wood Bee Smoker Fuel Pellets
This is, without a doubt, the best beginner-friendly smoker fuel. It is simple to light, and the process of lighting it up is also rapid. The fact that it comes in a compact 2-pound bag distinguishes this piece. We say it is convenient since it is easy to transport together with all of your other beekeeping tools and equipment.
You may be confident that our Bee Patient fuel is not harmful to bees. It consistently creates consistent and clear smoke. Last but not least, 5 smoker fire starters are included for your convenience. This way, you may easily facilitate honey gathering without having to worry about starting the engine.
- The compressed pellets come in a convenient package
- Completely safe for bees
- Easy to light up
- Long lasting smoke
- Package must be maintained properly and with care to avoid damage.
Yarn Bee Smoker Fuel
Unlike other types of fuel, cotton smoker fuel has a significant advantage. Cotton not only burns quickly, but it also smolders slowly and produces pure smoke. This fuel is composed entirely of cotton thread, which burns slowly and easily separates. The threads are pre-cut and ready to measure and use when they arrive. North Carolina is the cotton’s origin.
- Made from 100% cotton yarn.
- Surprisingly affordable and excellent quality.
- Easily lights up and does not require torch.
- Smokes well and smolders slowly.
- It is easy to pull apart and comes ready to measure and light.
- It is ideal for most smoking jobs and can easily be measured even for small jobs.
- US made product.
- Long shipping time.
Cotton Cut-Offs Bee Smoker Fuel
This is yet another amazing bee smoker fuel option from LuRay Textiles, Inc. It provides a cost-effective and high-quality choice for beekeepers. These 100% cotton cut-offs burn slowly and will never catch fire. These are preferably a less expensive choice that operates in the same way as the 8 inch smoker circles. One of its most significant advantages is that once ignited, it never burns up or goes out. It just smolders and emits smoke as needed.
- Burns for a long period.
- Generates a friendly smoke for the bees.
- 100% natural cotton yarn is an excellent bee smoker fuel.
- Never flames up, but rather smolders and emits nice smoke.
- Long shipping time.
Premium Pine Needle Mulch
Pine needles make excellent bee smoker fuel. The all-natural smoker fuel produces a pleasant smoke that does not damage the bees but rather calms them down. This fuel is great for experienced beekeepers because it is simple to use and produces a consistent stream of smoke. This is a fantastic product for both beehive inspection and honey collection.
- Made up of 100% dried, natural pine needles.
- It is the best for professional beekeepers.
- Easy to carry along with your beekeeping tool kit.
- It is easy to use.
- Produces a steady and reliable smoke.
- Never harms the bees. The smoke is clean and calming.
- Ideal choice for those in areas where they do not have pine.
- Not suitable for beginners.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you are a newbie, follow up on this session and find out the exact answer to common misconceptions.
How Often Should I Use Smoker Fuel For Bee Hive Inspections?
We don’t have the exact answer to this question. But remember three key points
- Smoke in any form is not good for your health as well as the bees’.
- Smoke can affect the quality of the beeswax.
- Smoke can make the bees more aggressive.
Hence, smoking should only be done whenever necessary. Maybe it’s when you recognize foreign intrusion into the hives, when you suspect the queen bee is missing, or when there is any sign of infestation.
How Do I Light A Smoker?
Here is our simplified instruction:
- Start by emptying the smoker. Then, light a crumpled piece of paper and toss it into the firebox, and pump the bellows for a while.
- Next up, add some combustible fuel such as dried grass or needles and keep pumping the bellows.
- Remember to keep the smoker vertical all the time, whether it is on the ground or in your hand. Gradually add more fuel if necessary.
How Can I Maintain Smoker Fuel For Perennial Uses?
It’s simple. Keep the fuel inside animal food bags or cardboard, and then store it in a dry place, most ideally in your car trunk.
How Can I Use Smoker Fuel For Hive Inspections Safely?
Bees are notoriously known for their terrible stings, which can leave instant marks on your body. However, in the name of hard-working bees, we must assert that they are selectively aggressive, meaning they only attack when they perceive something as imminent danger.
Thus, understanding bee behaviors and their pet peeves can allow you to smoke the beehives safely.
There are three major tips for your safe manipulation.
They Hate Dark, Hot Colors
Long, long ago, in the wilderness, honey was a fat reward that many animals desired. Among them were bears, birds, skunks, or mice. And they had one thing in common, which was the dark color inside bees’ vision.
Thus, bees almost instantly associated dark colors with predators and would accordingly attack anything dark. They even adopted this aversion into their evolutionary process.
Since then, we humans have learned the hard way that we should only wear white suits when approaching them.
Tobacco Is Deadly To Bees
Certain components in tobacco are toxic to bees when inhaled in the form of smoke. Therefore, they can sometimes be aggressive when exposed to tobacco smoke. Thus, do not resort to tobacco as smoker fuel in any way. They can backfire on you.
Even better, we highly recommend materials from wood or herb extracts. These will emit light, pleasant fragrance throughout your working process.
Keep The Smoke Constant
Trust us. You won’t want to be caught up in a situation where the bees become cranky again while you are too focused on your hive inspection. And it is because the smoke has dimmed out completely before you even realize it.
Thus, prepare your sparks and fuel carefully before any possible problems can happen.
After thorough consideration, we hope you can finally pick out the best fuel for bee smokers. If you’re still confused about which one to go for, consider our top picks: Midwest Supply Bee Smoker Fuel and BeeCastle Bee Hive Smoker Pellets.
The former wins over us for its robust performance: easy lighting, long burning duration, and gentleness to bee health. Meanwhile, the latter is highly prized for its affordable price, clean smoke, and light smell.
But if your budget is not restricted, we suggest that you go for either of the two products. They promise to make your beekeeping experience more safe and enjoyable. Good luck!