A bee smoker is a tool to calm down the bees before beehive inspections. Beesmoker is just like a bee incense device to produce smoke by smoldering fuels such as pine needles, wood shavings, rotten wood blocks, old newspapers and empty egg cartons. The smoker helps the bees by masking their sense of smell and prevents transfer of any type of alarm signals. The purpose of smoke and the whole process of a bee smoker is that the bee should not get confused while beehive inspections and interchange their bee colonies and to get the bees drunk on honey so the purpose of beekeeping is fulfilled.
The smoke from the bee smoker helps in alarming the bees from any external intruder. Alarm Pheromones are secreted by bees whenever they sense any fear or any sort of threat to their personal safety. A Pheromone is a type of substance secreted by any type of insect that can cause a similar and specific type of reaction in another form of the same species.
A Bee smoker like any other tool looks lovely, beautiful and shiny before they are used but after a couple of times, they are used they can become a little dirty. If after a few usages it isn’t cleaned then residue and creosote can build up inside the smolder that can cause it to operate inefficiently. Therefore, a proper working Bee Smoker is a type of necessity while maintaining and handling the beehives.
The frequency of cleaning the Bee Smoker depends on mainly how frequently it is used. The smoker can get all clogged up if it isn’t cleaned at regular intervals. Usually, the cleaning process consists of Dumping any leftover debris and residue from the chamber portion of the smoker. It is an important part of beekeeping
- When the bellows of the smoker become stiff or torn then it should be replaced.
- If the grate has also burned up then it should be replaced as well.
If the smoker is clean and the smoke generated is of good quality then the scent from the smoker can help calm down the bees properly. Through proper smoke, Bees are alerted to gather inside the hive and keep sitting deep for their own safety. The smoker can help in getting ready the bees for any sort of emergency so that they can gorge on honey after getting the plumes of smoke.
The various steps to clean a bee smoker are mentioned below-
- At first, the inside of the smoker is to be cleaned by scrapping it with a Hive Tool, screwdriver or any other similar type of tool.
- Scrapping helps in removing the majority of the scoot and carbon. The excess crud deposited on the upper and lower part of the smoker is also removed.
- Then remove the bottom of the smoker to clean it. That part is in round shape with two or three holes. The grate and debris get deposited on this part. A long needle nose pliers is used to clean it. The needle is put in each of the holes and carbon / debris deposited is pulled out.
- Then remove the residue containing debris deposited in the can and dump it as far as you can.
- Then remove the bellows of the smoker to clean the air tubes. It is recommended to separate the smoker from the adjoining bellows and then clean out the air tubes properly.
- If there are any small type of leaks in the air tubes or the bellows then it can be repaired by covering it with a Duct tape.
- Some beekeepers also use water or white vinegar to clean the smoker.
Most people who are not involved in the beekeeping process think the residue deposited is sticky and dirty. But it is extremely normal. It is normal for the smoker to gather up some amount of carbon, tar and debris. So, most beekeepers clean their smoker twice or thrice the whole beekeeping till the honey is extracted and collected.