I thought it may be helpful, to some out there, to talk about how I light my smoker. It’s quite simply really…pictured below are all you need: ½ sheet of newspaper, matches, some kind of fuel and of course your smoker. There are a lot of different fuels that can be used including corn cobs, burlap (washed to remove pesticides), baler twine (natural, not plastic), pine needles, fine wood chips, small twigs, dry rotten wood, dry tree leaves, untreated straw, uncolored paper (rolled), corrugated cardboard (rolled), sumac bobs and even the wood pellets used in pellet stoves. I really like to use baler twine because it starts easy and is easy to acquire in our area…whatever fuel you use it should be dry.
Before attempting to start the smoker I will clean out the ashes from the bottom and ball up the baler twine ahead of time so it will fit into the smoker easily. I place the newspaper in the bottom and light it up then quickly place the baler twine on top, but I don’t push it down in all the way into the smoker until I get it going (as pictured below). I like to pump the bellows until I have a little fire coming out the top then I push the twine all the way in and it’s ready to go. The entire process only takes few minutes.
Update: October 26, 2010 – I learned something from my uncle about lighting smokers, when I helped him pull honey from his hives not too long ago, if you don’t have any newspaper handy and you are using baler twine as fuel, just cut the twine and pull the individual strands apart and light that with a match. Honestly I think it works better than using newspaper!
Caution- Treat your Bee Smoker with respect. It can cause fires, destruction of property, burns, and injury. Do not let children play with a Bee Smoker-lighted or unlighted. Never puff a Bee Smoker in anyone’s face. There is always danger of sparks, dust, etc. in the eyes and setting a bee veil on fire. Handle a Bee Smoker by the bellows only. Do not allow loose embers or sparks to blow or fall into grass, leaves, pine needles, etc. If flames appear, stop puffing the bellows. Keep away from and never place a hot or burning Bee Smoker near flammable or combustible materials, such as gasoline, paint, benzaldehyde, gloves, veils, etc. When you dump a Bee Smoker make sure that the burning or smoldering fuel is completely extinguished. When transporting in a truck or car, make sure the fire is out or nozzle is plugged to stop draft from igniting smoker fuel or something else in the vehicle and make sure smoker is in a metal container that can not tip over. Be sure to extinguish a Bee Smoker before storing in any building or vehicle. Use good judgment and common sense.