Smoker Warning From a Newbee...Take Heed!!!

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by Intheswamp, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    Ok, sorry about the "line noise" in the other thread CharlieB (I couldn't resist! :razz:) but I did want to make this post/warning in a separate thread so others would see it... :)

    Yesterday I had a swarm from one of my hives that I needed to hive. Running out of hive stands and knowing I need to probably combine this swarm with a small, possibly queenless colony from an earlier, smaller swarm I was going to light my smoker and check the existing colony. Well, the weather was very unsettled with a distinct dampness in the air. As I struggled to light some old wheat straw and some mowed yard grass I finally decided to see if the pine straw at the edge of the nearby woods was dry enough to use. I walked into the woods and scratched up some off of the very top layer...got a big wad (more than I needed). I got back to the hives and about that time I felt a drop of rain, then another, and another. I gathered up my stuff and put it in the jeep...a box or two that I had laid out, can of punky wood, matches, etc., and finally the smoker that had sat there with it's top open and a few drops of rain landing inside. I got in the jeep and set the smoker in the floorboard between my feet to wait the rain out.

    Well, it wasn't a heavy rain (at that point) but it kept on raining. I sat there for probably 10 minutes but it didn't slack up so I drove back around to the house and went inside with the intention of returning to the bees when the rain stopped. A little later, after posting some pictures to my swarm thread the rain had stopped. I went out to the jeep to drive back around to the hives. When I opened the door thick, thick white smoke poured out!!!!!!! OH NO!!!! I mean smoke poured out of both doors and the tailgate (I opened them quickly!) I had left the "unlit" smoker sitting where I had placed in on the floorboard. It had been probably 25-30 minutes from the last tiny wisp of smoker I had seen while trying to light it until I left it alone in the jeep. It had sat opened with a little rain splattering into it for probably 10 minutes...I had sat with it between my feet for another 10 minutes and driven a short 2 minute drive around to the house with it still sitting between my feet. It didn't physically burn or melt anything in the jeep but the smell is EEWWWWW...stinky!!!! I've wiped things down but still have a lot of cleaning to do...anybody got a good smoke remover cleaner they want to recommend?

    So, bottom line is...don't ever, ever, ever trust your smoker to being out. I'm a pretty cautious person...I leave my smoker sitting on an old grill normally until the next day after using it before I'll put it in the garage, I normally sit it on a brick or bare earth when using it,...I'm *careful* with it. BUT...this time the rush of getting the swarm hived before the rains got here hurried me too much and besides...the smoker was DEAD...yeah, right!! :roll: This could've turned out a lot worse...I don't know if it could've caught the jeep on fire or not, or whether it would've caught a house on fire it it had been placed inside the garage, but...it apparently had the glowing ember to have done so if circumstances were right/wrong to do so.

    Be *very* careful with those smokers...just because they're "out" don't let your guard down!!! Now to go find that old ammo box I've got...

    Ed
     
  2. Flyman

    Flyman New Member

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    Smokers don't ever smoke until your finished. Then, they just sit there and smoke comes pouring out.
     

  3. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    Whittle you down the end of a stick that's about 1 1/2" to 2" in diameter so that it will fit into the end of your smoker. When finished using your smoker stick the "plug" into the snout and it will help to put the fire out.
     
  4. G3farms

    G3farms New Member

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    forgot the pic................. smoker.jpg 102_1481.jpg


    The second pic you might catch a glimpse of Tec :lol:
     
  5. Eddy Honey

    Eddy Honey New Member

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    I have a case of "Smoke Out Odor Eliminator". I'd be willing to ship you a bottle if you cover shipping. Should be under ten bucks.
    I have paypal if interested.
     
  6. RE Jones

    RE Jones New Member

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    I have an old 50 cal ammo box without the top that my smoker and lighter go into. I also have a cork that I put in the end of the smoker when I am through with it.

    Three days ago, I finished checking hives and put everything in the truck when I was finished. I have a lid that rolls over the bed and I closed it and locked it. I guess while closing it, I knocked the cork out of the smoker. I took a break on the carport and noticed smoke rolling out of the bed. Opened it up and the smoker was going wide open. No damage done, but it goes to show, it does not take very much for it to happen.

    Robert
     
  7. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    I always put a plug in mine when done. , just pick up a stick that fits best when I don't have the normal plug close by.

    I made a nice burnt circle on a sheet of new plywood near the begining of beekeeping. Plywood was for hive tops , so no real issue, but it opened my eyes.
     
  8. Larus

    Larus New Member

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    I take the same approach to my bee smokers as I do to campfires - if I didn't dump a bucket of water on it (in it), then it's still burning. It's the last thing I do before going home after working my bees - dump at least a quart of water into my smoker, dump out all the wet ashes, and only then put it in my car.

    By the way, my favorite hat, the one I wear every day and consider my "lucky hat" has Smoky the Bear on it. I think I've become a bit obsessed with fire safety since I got that hat :smile:
     
  9. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    Yeah, I've got a plug I whittled that I use when I get through working the bees. The problem here was I didn't think the smoker was lit and had been with it for close to 30 minutes with no smoke and no indication of it being lit. :roll: The rain, the swarm, and an "un-lit" smoker made for the ingredients for the "perfect storm". :sad:

    I could see a little soot inside the jeep today in the full daylight. It's the smoke stench that is so bad. I've actually got a call in to Servpro to see what they say about it. The biggest issue for me is the SMELL...and naturally if you sit in a seat you're going to smell like it.<sigh> The seats are going to be the big problem I'm afraid.

    Eddy Honey, I may take you up on the smoke eliminator. Can you give me a little more information about it so I can study up on it? I appreciate your offer!

    Ah well, hopefully my post will keep someone else from having this experience or worse.

    Ed
     
  10. jim314

    jim314 New Member

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    Glad nothing bad happened. And you must be better at lighting a smoke than me :) Spray every square inch of the interior with Febreze.
     
  11. Gypsi

    Gypsi Super Moderator Staff Member

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    ain't that the truth. I put mine out with water right AFTER I finished opening and closing a hive last week. Set it on my concrete front porch and it smoked like a forest fire.

    Gypsi
     
  12. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    yep the black cat is on the prowl...

    I would also suggest for anyone in an agricultural community that you get an ammo can as Mr Jones suggest or a metal box to stow your smoker in as well as some kind of plug as G3 suggest (seems like I use to use the brass on a 16 gauge shootgun shell which I attached to my smoker with a small bit of chain... long ago). if not at the first news of someone hay or hay field burning you will be stopped by every law official and every landowner in the area for months afterwards.
     
  13. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    Reminds me of when I first joined the BC Honey Producers Association years ago. Part of the fees for joining was you were covered by an umbrella insurance policy that covered all members (for bee related mishaps I suppose). In all the years that I was involved there was only ever one claim and that was for a smoker that was set down in tall grass that eventually took a barn down. :shock:
     
  14. tommyt

    tommyt New Member

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    Sorry you got all Smoked up :grin:
    I have used cups/dish's of ammonia set on the floor boards
    to eliminate orders
    Just set a few dish's/cups pour ammonia in and close up the jeep
    leave over night and remove carefully
    Don't know why it works, but it does
    You get no remainder of the ammonia smell either

    good luck
    Tommyt
     
  15. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    a Perry snip..
    In all the years that I was involved there was only ever one claim and that was for a smoker that was set down in tall grass that eventually took a barn down.

    tecumseh:
    not so long ago more hive were lost from fire than any other singular cause.... a good number of these were related to a beekeeper's smoker.
     
  16. bee stung

    bee stung New Member

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    the smell is EEWWWWW...stinky!!!!
    and the best part of it is "" how happy you made the wife ,, :thumbsup::thumbsup::lol::lol: she does have to ride in the Jeep now and then ,, Right ????????:roll:
     
  17. bee stung

    bee stung New Member

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    not so long ago more hive were lost from fire than any other singular cause.... a good number of these were related to a beekeeper's smoker.

    I have heard that with the pellets ,, that you have to be careful when smoking the hive ,, pellets roll out and fall in the hive and get the wax going ,, wounder how wax fried bees taste ????
     
  18. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    I like to play it doubly safe--Using some "packing sponge", I plug BOTH vents of the smoker when I'm finished. The spongy material makes a tight fit for the upper plug and fits in snugly between the bellows and the bottom pipe leading to the cannister. Choked from both ends, the CO2 quickly puts out all residual embers. Usually, the remaining extinguished fuel makes for easy lighting next time around (with help from some crumpled newspaper).
     
  19. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp New Member

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    I've had a milk jug with the upper side cut out of it and about an inch and half of ammonia in the jeep since day-one. In the mornings when I roll the windows down and lift the back window there's a black sooty cloud inside that belch's ammonia breath at me and laughs with a deep belly laugh...kinda reminds me of Mr. Clean, but opposite. :shock:

    Ed
     
  20. Zulu

    Zulu Member

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    Two additional odor absorbing items, bicarbonate of soda, and vanilla essence
    my gran always had one in the frige and the other on the kitchen counter to soak up frying smells in the house, it does work.