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I discovered a great fuel the other day. I have been using pine needles in my smoker that I gather up in my yard. We had rain and they were all wet so I used some hickory chips from my meat smoker and they worked awesome. My friend who is a very expirienced keeper was so impressed that I gave him a bag. They light very easily with a propane torch, the smoke is nice and cool and my smoker stayed lit for over an hour. My friend says he uses burlap but he said you have to use the raw burlap that isn't treated with creosote and it is hard to find, but the hickory chips were impressive. :)
 

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I have used burlap, baler twine, etc. but have found pine needles to be the cheapest and most abundant fuel source available (for me anyway). Sometimes I throw in a few wood shavings from a friends wood shop combined with the needles but every now and then when I'm puffing the bellows to keep it lit, the shavings create a flame shooting out the smoker :shock: not well tolerated by the bees. :chased:
 

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I use bags of wood chips used for animal bedding
 

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Pine needles that have been crushed on the road seem to work best. I can pack the smoker tight once it is hot and it lasts.
 

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horse chips are perfectly packaged and burn nicely. another (old as dirt) beekeeper informed me he did not like to use chips when taking off honey. I could easily see his point.

of course anything organic that burns easily is acceptable. some wood products, pine and pine needles are good example, do produce a good bit of cresote in the smoke and will build up in the smoker and are likely not so good for the bees.
 

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riverrat said:
I use bags of wood chips used for animal bedding
Yeah, me too. Tractor Supply sometimes has a 4 pound bag for $2 and it lasts forever.
 

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Every so often the county comes down the road cutting tree limbs on the roadside and run them through their wood chipper into a dump truck. I stop and ask them if they needed a place to dump the chips. I now have all the wood chips for mulch and the best smoker fuel i ever had. :thumbsup: Jack
 
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