This blog explains how I keep bees. It works for me, it might not work for you. Use my methods at your own risk. Always wear protective clothing and use a smoker when working bees.

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Smoker Safety

Smoker Fail
Smoker safety is always something that should be on the minds of beekeepers. This fire that started above is from a smoker that had too hot of a fire going inside. The resulting fire could have been prevented if the beekeeper had realized that the internal fire had a large amount of coals that were cooking an inferno. I believe that fireplace pellets were being used. While these pellets in large quantities work well at staying lit. The name is a good clue, Fireplace Pellets. Beekeepers checking many colonies will use more than one smoker. If a smoker is getting too hot they will start another one.
Care needs to be taken when using any type of smoker fuel.
When beekeepers light smokers many hazards can be around. Gasoline for a weed trimmer or lawn mower, dry grass around the bee yard, combustibles in the back of a vehicle or garage. It is always a good idea before lighting a smoker to look at your surroundings before firing up the smoker. Explosions from gasoline containers or fires from careless use of the smoker can be prevented with some foresight.
  • Remove combustibles from surroundings when lighting a smoker.
  • Gasoline and gasoline powered equipment have combustible vapors that can collect. Move them a safe distance away and make sure vapors have not collected before striking a match. This also goes when leaving the beeyard. Loading up a vehicle with all of this equipment, if the smoker is still going, vapors can still find an ignition source.
  • Have a fire extinguisher readily accessible to put out any possible fire.
  • Make sure the smoker is out before leaving it unattended.
  • A non combustible metal enclosure for a smoker is a good storage option.
Beekeeping is a great hobby. As with any hobby, safety is a big concern. Take the time to be safe, think the project through and look for all hazards that may present themselves.