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I've been keeping this blog for all of my beekeeping years and I am beginning my 18th year of beekeeping in April 2023. Now there are more than 1300 posts on this blog. Please use the search bar below to search the blog for other posts on a subject in which you are interested. You can also click on the "label" at the end of a post and all posts with that label will show up. At the very bottom of this page is a list of all the labels I've used.

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I began this blog to chronicle my beekeeping experiences. I have read lots of beekeeping books, but nothing takes the place of either hands-on experience with an experienced beekeeper or good pictures of the process. I want people to have a clearer picture of what to expect in their beekeeping so I post pictures and write about my beekeeping saga here. Along the way, I've passed a number of certification levels and am now a
Master Beekeeper Enjoy with me as I learn and grow as a beekeeper.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Unlikely Smoker Fuel

At GBA in Columbus, GA, Gina and I ate breakfast with a couple who were attending the bee conference as well.  Naturally we talked bees.  They said that they use old tea bags as smoker fuel.

I drink tea every day.  Usually I have a cup in the morning near breakfast - either during or just after.  Then around mid morning I probably have another one.  If I get sleepy late in the day, I'll have a cup of herb tea at the office....not because it will keep me awake - it doesn't have caffeine - but it will give me something active to do (drink the tea) to keep me from nodding off.

This morning I allowed my used tea bag to dry out and looked at it:

It definitely is quite small.  I imagined how many it would take to fill a smoker and that blows my mind. Even if I collected and dried one or two a day, I think in a month I might have enough to fill the smoker for one inspection.  I'm going to collect them for a while to see.

Now I'm not a big smoker user.  Most of the time I blow a puff of smoke into the entry to tell the bees that I am coming in, but I generally put it down after that and don't pick it up again until I move to the next hive.  Even at that, I go through a smoker full of fuel by the time I've finished looking at all the hives for that day.

I think I'll stick to pine straw.


  1. Excellent idea! gonna try it!

  2. I saved tea bags for a full week and didn't begin to have enough to light the smoker - one pint size glass jar filled. I couldn't begin to check my hives this way, but it seemed like a fun idea!


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