For full-fledged care of bee colonies, each beekeeper should be armed with special devices and tools. An indispensable thing in an apiary is a bee smoker, the main purpose of which is to calm the bees. Experienced beekeepers use this tool to deliver medicine to the bee hive. The smoker is also used in windy weather, and helps the beekeeper to cope with the hive, if the need arises.
Effect of smoke on bees
The smoke affects the behavior of the bees and causes them to calm down and behave peacefully. Fumigation of the hive is an essential procedure for pumping honey, and this method can be used not only by novice beekeepers, but also by those who know how to pump honey.
When the bribe season comes, and you should inspect the hive, then you do not need to take the smoker with you, since the bees do not attack and behave calmly. When the beekeeper introduces a stream of smoke into the hive, the bees, smelling it, try to fill the goiter with a drop of honey and this leads to the fact that the bees become less aggressive.
The bee calming tool consists of several elements:
- A metal cylinder that consists of two layers;
- Device for supplying a stream of smoke to the firebox;
- A lid with a spout, which is most often called a “proboscis”.
Each of these elements performs a specific function – a metal cylinder forms smoke, has a closed bottom and a lid that folds back and has a proboscis. The elongated spout helps deliver smoke even to the most difficult to reach areas. With the help of a net installed at the bottom of the cylinder, the filling does not come into contact with the smoke. If the beekeeper needs to inject medicines into the hive, then it is necessary to take a smoker with an elongated nozzle.
History of invention
For the first time, the smoker appeared in Ancient Egypt, but had a completely different design, different from the modern instrument. A torch, designed to scare away bees and obtain valuable honey, served as a smoke-hole. Later, a device made of clay was invented, which served to supply smoke, and it had a small and large hole.
The design was very simple and for air supply, the beekeeper blew through the hole and spread the smoke into the bee hive. In the 1870s, an American beekeeper invented the bellows tool, but the construction was heavy and the smoke was difficult to use. Later, the scientist Quinby improved the instrument by establishing thrust.
Currently, the appearance of the bee smoker has changed, but the principle of operation remains the same.
Types of smokers
Nowadays, there are different types of smokers and each of these types has both advantages and disadvantages that a person involved in beekeeping should know.
To work with bees and to fumigate the hive, beekeepers use the simplest beekeeper smoker, which is a hand-made construction for working with bees. Due to the fact that the air jet is supplied manually, and the tool is inconvenient to use if the apiary is large.
The design of the Ruth smoker is not very different from the usual one, it is used in the USA, European countries. This device is lighter and allows fumigation of large hives.
Smoker Vulcan differs from others in that its design includes an element such as a smoke supply regulator, which automatically distributes the required amount of smoke to the bees.
A distinctive feature of the electric smoker is a fan installed in the structure, designed to supply air. A resistor is used to regulate the number of revolutions, and the design works with batteries.
This type differs from others in that the main frame serves for the use of fuel, the frame also has a combustion chamber and an opening for collecting ash. In the upper part of the device there is also a special hole for loading fuel, and the nozzle acts as a distribution of smoke in the right places.
How to light it up and what to fill
In order to start using the smoker, you must disconnect the structure in which the ash is collected, then light a fire at the bottom of the combustion chamber. At this stage, the question arises of how to light a smoker, and paper and matches can be used for lighting, and after the smoke begins to spread, the container should be filled and covered with a lid.
After all the manipulations done, you should install the fuel in the ash collector, make a fire with matches, turn on the fan at low speed.
What to put in a bee smoker
Beekeepers know that only thick smoke has an effective and calming effect on bees, so fuel is used for such purposes, which is placed in the smoker. Smoker materials and fuel can be found in the specialist shop.
The most common refills for the smoker:
- The grass is dry;
- Truffle mushroom;
- Cones and pine needles;
- Tree bark;
- Dried leaves;
- Corrugated cardboard;
- Hessian fabric.
Beekeepers know that natural fuels burn better and make smoke richer.
How to light an electric smoker
To light up an electric smoker, follow these steps:
- Disconnect the ash collector.
- Ignite the fire in the combustion chamber using a match and ignition material.
- After smoke has entered, fill the loading container and close the lid tightly.
- Place the filling material in the ash container and light the fire.
- Turn on the fan at low speed and start fumigating the hive.
By adhering to these recommendations, you can learn how to light a smoker.
Principle of operation
The smoker is a cylinder made of metal and loaded with various materials: tree bark, dry leaves, newspaper. After firing up, the material smolders and smoke is emitted in the smoke. If a good combustible material is used, the hive can be fumigated for 5 hours.
How to use – in order to kindle a fire in a smoke, you need to stock up on dry herbs, twigs and paper. Once the fire is high, add some rot and close the lid to let the smoke spread.
How to use
Each of the types of smokers has features and methods of use – an ordinary smoker requires lighting a fire, the other – pressing a button. As soon as the fire becomes strong and the smoke begins to spread, then you need to take it in your right hand and direct the stream of smoke at the bees. In order not to harm insects, it is necessary to keep the smoker’s “proboscis” away from the bees and fumigate only the surface of the hive with smoke.
When working with a smoker, you should adhere to the rules so as not to harm insects and the environment. You must adhere to the following rules:
- Light a small fire to avoid fire.
- Keep the stream of smoke away from bees.
- Leave the smoker to cool down after work.
- Add fuel carefully.
These measures will help to avoid undesirable consequences and make the work in the apiary effective.
Smoke with your own hands
Beekeepers have a question how to make a smoker with their own hands and at home, the answer is simple – arm yourself with the necessary tools and materials, and follow the instructions for making a smoker.
To create a do-it-yourself smoker to calm the bees, take the following tools:
- Anvil and hammer;
- Ship nails;
- Self-tapping screws;
- Perforator with drills;
- Cylindrical stand;
- A piece of leather;
- Copper sheet;
- Drill bit;
- Bolts with nuts;
- Planks made of wood, the size of which is 9x15x0.5 cm;
- The material is dense;
- Tin can.
The specified materials and tools will help create a smoker for work in an apiary.
A bee fumigator can be created by following these steps:
- Take a sheet of metal and use a hacksaw to cut and make a funnel, holes with a puncher and join at the seams. Once the spout is ready, you need to attach the clips to the lid with clips.
- The frame for furs is constructed using planks, in one of them you need to make a hole about 1,5 cm in diameter, retreat 5 cm and only then make a hole. To create a valve that allows air to pass through, you will need to take a piece of leather and nail it to a board. Take the second plank, step back 3,8 cm and make a hole with a diameter of 1,2. A metal tube is inserted into the prepared hole.
- The process of making a spring is to take a small spring, separate and cut off several turns, heat it with a burner, thereby softening the turns and straightening them. On the finished wooden planks, make two holes for the springs at different ends. Take a dense material, cut out a piece 10 cm wide and 50 cm long, sharpen the edges (3,5 cm) with a knife, connect the frames together using furniture rivets. After the above steps, install the springs in the holes.
- Attaching the fur to the fumigator – take metal strips, 2 cm wide, then attach them to the outside of the fur and to the fumigator. The distance between the body and bellows should be at least 3,8 cm, and the hole in the fumigator should be 1,2. It should be borne in mind that the distance from the bottom must be at least 6,3.
Tips from experienced beekeepers
Professional beekeepers share the secrets that help in the work in the apiary:
- The amount of smoke emitted depends on the behavior and aggressiveness of the bees.
- It is only necessary to fumigate the hive if the bees are behaving aggressively.
- The smoker should not be very hot and the frames should not be touched.
- Blow up the smoke gradually so as not to anger the bees.
Working in an apiary is a huge amount of work, and the smoker will help the beekeeper make the job pleasant and efficient.