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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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