I’ve finally cracked it. I can light a smoker first time, every time. I found the trick at last and here is the secret. It’s not the fault of the fuel I was using, and I did try many see my post called Smokin‘ The magic ingredient, what I really need is sunshine and a consistent temperature above 20oC. That heat/dryness means that the hessian I usually use is dry. Really, really dry. It always felt dry to me and I keep it in the house rather than the shed to keep it dry but with our damp Irish climate dry is relative. I probably should have been testing my fuel using a Refractometer1 (I have one of these), or some other damp-o-meter.
What a joy it is to light the smoker these days…. providing I stay up wind *cough* *cough*. When the days were really hot lately (above normal for Ireland that is) I used a water sprayer on the quieter hives and a combination of smoke and water for the more active ones. That worked a charm.
By the way, if anyone would like to buy me a Christmas present (it’s July, did I just mention that word!!! Oh dear.) I want one of these Apisolis smokers. It combines the ancient craft of using a smoker with modern technology, which is right up my alley! There is a reason I was nicked named Gadget! There should be a drumroll when you open their website. Magic. I’d love to try it out. I’m not endorsing this product, I’ve not seen it IRL (in real life ) as they say these days, I’m just ogling it with blatant covetousness and it’s bringing out the geek in me. It’s only 3-4 times the price of a regular smoker and the refills are only about 100 times more expensive than a box of matches (I can’t compare the cost of fuel to a refill because I don’t pay for smoker fuel).
That reminds me of going to a Bee Keeping Conference or Honey Show (see my post Crossing the Rubicon). The worst or perhaps one of the best, things about Bee Keeping Conferences and Honey Shows is the access to pop-up bee keeping equipment shops. Oh, such Aladdin’s caves! Beekeepers hover and drool at all the gear, the spanking new tools, spinners, bee boxes and buckets. The shiny smokers stand to attention and are not like my poor old smoker which lacks luster with is a well-earned patina of rust and black which it carries like a badge of honour.
The bits and bobs and handy gadgets are lined up invitingly. The paraphernalia associated with beekeeping is glorious. Buy a gadget here and a tool there; it soon adds up and makes huge holes in my pockets that takes months to repair!
Here’s a great post about smokers from the Bad Beekeeping Blog Smokers, beware: Stuff I’ve smoked
An article About Eureka! from Bellarmine University, Louisville