From being a professional activity, beekeeping has also found its way to the backyards of some individuals. While an exciting hobby, it can have its risks; angry bees!
Honey bees aren’t usually life-threatening, however, take caution, since they do pack a nasty sting. They can even be fatal if you are allergic to bee venom.
The solution is simple really, bee smokers.
Bee smokers emit a cocktail of chemicals that can calm an angry swarm. It is a must-have safety tool if you are into bee keeping.
For this reason, in this article, I’m going to review the best bee smokers in the market to help you find the right kit.
Let’s get started.
What Kind of Smoke Calms Bees?
While we have known for quite some time that smoke can appease bees, there has been more research into it today, and that has shed some light on the chemistry of it all. First thing’s first, be sure that the smoke does not harm the bees in any way. The smoke should not be hot, as this could aggravate the bees.
The smoke inhibits chemical receptors bees use to communicate aggression. Typically, fuels such as rotted wood, or certain herbs are used. It is usually smoke from burning some sort of vegetation. Nowadays, special formulaic fuel is often sold on the market, which is made of apportioned ingredients designed to calm bees.
10 Best Bee Smoker Reviews
Now, you might be confused about the details of it all. Which one do you get? Well, don’t worry I’m here to help. I have shortlisted a couple from the vast array of choices. They are;
1. VIVO Bee Hive Smoker
The first and foremost prerequisite for any bee smoker is to produce safe, cool smoke. If the smoke is hot, it will put the bees on edge, and they might act in self-defense anyways and sting you. And worst case, they might be injured or may die. The smoke produced by this bee smoker by Vivo produces cool, safe smoke to soothe the bees
As a beekeeping smoker, it is definitely more suited to the beginner as it is relatively quite easy to operate and work with. So, if you're looking to start beekeeping as a brand-new hobby, this is the product for you. Its simple design makes it easy to assemble and set up, and the relatively low cost makes it a viable option.
If you're thinking of getting fuel, then think no further. You don't really need any special fuel for this smoker. You can just use firewood. Yes, firewood. You can also opt for other organic things. Cotton wool and grass, as a combo, works well, and you could even experiment with other items such as cardboard or paper.
However, some of us have seen that the smoker gets a bit too hot sometimes. And flames can even spill out sometimes. The remedy, as we have seen, is to bend out the "legs" of the smoker, thereby creating more space between the ventilation disk and the bottom. And, this should reduce the heat.
2. Aspectek Bee Hive Smoker
Manufactured by Aspectek, this tool is built with an outstanding volume of airspace inside. This facilitates thorough ventilation and great air flow. And so, the bursts of smoke produced are voluminous, and only a few puffs can really get things going. Not only that, but the airflow also means that smoke billows out consistently.
This high-volume count comes at a cost; however, as the fuel needed in this is higher than that of other smokers. The reason being is that it eats up fuel quite fast. Instead of producing a smoldering flame, the fuel burns with great intensity, and there are even embers that spew out the bottom of the smoker.
A major issue with some smokers is the heat. The tool heats up too fast, and consequently, it is unsafe to handle. With this one, however, you're safe. The hot parts are held securely in a solid cage, and there is sufficient space between the outer and inner layers. Therefore, you can touch it without concern.
Setting this bad boy up is a cakewalk, and it is not too picky about the fuel either. The best bee smoker fuel for this one is probably a mix of wood and smoke pellets. The pellets are the starter fuel that provides the ignition. And, the wood produces a flame that can sustain itself much longer and produce the smoke.
3. Honey Keeper Bee Hive Smoker
This smoker produces a cool smoke, a quality associated with good bee smokers. Hot smoke can also be undesirable for you, the user. Handling the smoker and being careful not to get stung is tedious enough, you don't want to have to endure the heat. It's harmful to the bees as well since they can before injured.
The volume of the smoke produced is also important since, if it is too little, some bees won't be affected, and you'll get stung. This is particularly important for the harvest of larger hives. The smoker by Honey Keeper is definitely a good bee hive smoker as it produces a very good quantity of smoke, so you'll be safe.
In fact, this can go as far as smoking up to three whole hives at once. This saves a lot of time. You don't have to individually smoke out one hive at a time, which, can be somewhat annoying too. And, as a plus, it is also pretty small and light. Therefore, you can carry it around and set it up very easily.
The lightweight, however, comes at a cost- the whole thing is kind of flimsy. The structure does not hold very well and can fall apart. This is most apparent when you try to lift it just by holding the top part. The bottom will loosen, and if you swing it around, it might even come off. I advise that you handle with care.
4. Hoont Commercial Grade Bee Smoker
Developed by Hoont, this model checks out all of the requirements to be the best bee smoker on the market now. It comes with a robust design and real leather bellows. Ventilation is vital, and this bad boy has loads of that with its aerodynamic design, from with bellows up to the top.
The inside cavity allows for copious amounts of fuel to be stuffed right in there. This way you don't have to worry about refueling as often. You can let the fuel burn for hours without worry as it slowly smolders and lets out at a whole lot of smoke. It can go for weeks without the need to open it up and replace fuel.
The simple design and ease of use make it an excellent choice for those looking to start beekeeping. It is an ideal entry level smoker. It is easy to set up and is of a smaller size so it can be handled pretty easily. You just put the fuel in and light it up. And that's done, you're good to go; it should smolder nicely.
One of the other reasons this is good for newbies is the cost. It costs under fifty dollars! So, it isn't much of an investment either if you decide to back out of it. And yet it has pretty high capacity. It can sustain up to ten hives at a time! All in all, that makes this a perfect choice for any potential beekeepers.
5. CO-Z Bee Smoker
This device is very versatile since beekeeping isn't the only place it has found use in. While yes, it is a good beekeeping smoker, hunters, who frequent going to shoot game think also find this to be quite useful as well. If you want protection from the bees in the wilderness while on the hunt, this should work like a charm.
And this is pretty cheap too. In fact, it is below fifty dollars, that's right; it's that cheap. You could just get one for the kicks! Don't waste your money though. I recommend this because even if you decide to stop beekeeping, it'll still be useful as you can use it for other things such as hunting.
Setting up is somewhat challenging as the design is a bit complex. You might have to experiment a little with this. There is no ideal arrangement. You do what works for you. So, I understand why so beginners may have an issue here. The key is ideal and error, to get it the way it works.
Unlike many bee smokers, the bellow that is used is leather, as opposed to vinyl or some other polymer. This makes compression and expansion, as well as the air flow in there very smooth. The tool itself is light and small, so you can easily store it away whenever you don’t need it anymore.
6. Goodland Bee Hive Smoker
With a rigid framework, this tool is consisting of solid construction, coupled with a robust design. The layout and fitting are very stiff, and yes, this does come at the cost of some added weight. However, the trade-off may be entirely worth your while, considering this is very rigid and can suffer a lot of rough use.
The compact design also gives it exceptional durability. So, you can rely on it for long term use. Even if you were to use this extensively and use it without any care, it’d be okay. This thing is built like a tank-heavyweight and strong. It should offer service to you for years, and peak, top tier service at that.
It also comes with an array of additional items, one of which being the sage pellets, which should give off a very lovely and aromatic smell. In fact, it could even double as incense if you actually want one. The fuel that produces this is the sage pellets, which are readily available. The aroma should have this an even better experience.
The interior is made of stainless steel and is very easy to clean up. Ash might cling or stick to ironware or simply leave stains and layers as the number of uses piles up. This, however, is combatted here by the stainless-steel interior that you can brush and get rid of all the grime and dust.
7. Blisstime Beekeeping Tool
A very simple design, easy to use bee hive smoker, the model by Blisstime is explicitly tailored for the inexperienced user. That’s right; this is another starter level smoker, designed for just the basics. So, if you’re looking to start beekeeping as a brand-new hobby, this could be for you.
The fact that this is very suitable for people who are just testing the water is bolstered by how inexpensive this is. It is under fifty bucks, unbelievable right? Yeah, you’ll get the full experience of beekeeping and harvesting with ease and only for that little money. It is definitely worth the try.
And don’t think it is a choker by any means. It can pump out quite a good volume of smoke. That means that you don’t have to worry if your hive is a little too big because it should cover all the bees and they’ll be calm and soothing. We all know the dangers of too little smoke by now so consider that when you buy.
There is one downside to this otherwise perfect product; however, the heat. I advise that you carry mittens because otherwise you might get burned. And if you drop the smoker at the wrong time from the shock of getting burned, the bees might be upon you. Be cautious and be safe.
8. Mann Lake HD540 Stainless Steel Smoker
This model has an internal structure that lets it maintain a very good flow of smoke. Instead of distinct puffs, the smoke pours out very evenly. This is a better delivery method as the bees are not disturbed as much when the smoke is being applied. The volume of smoke delivered is also a lot so it can cover multiple hives at once.
It also has the unique ability of smoke direction control, without moving the entire can. You can also direct is straight up or off to the side if you want as well. This free movability makes it one of the best bee smokers on the market now. You can easily manage and calm down a large swarm of bees with this.
The bellow, while not made of leather, consists of very durable rubber. The good thing about rubber is that it is more elastic that leather is so you can pump in more air on each go. The rubber, being thick and firm, also lasts longer. The entire tool itself is made of heavy-duty materials, and that boosts durability.
This tool also boasts a large interior and a very efficient burning system. This allows the fuel to smolder very very slowly and thus the fuel lasts for a very long time. In fact, with modest use, it could last you months. The interior makes it so that the fire will give out smoke without burning too fast.
9. The Magnificent BEE Smoker
The magnificent is a myriad of things, all the things you could have on your bucket list if you were looking to start beekeeping. There is a smoker to calm the bees down, a bee brush, a frame grip for support, an extracting scraper to take the ashes out when the fuel is spent and a bee feeder tool. It is a full set.
Usually, bee smokers are tailored to a newbie or an experienced keeper. However, this is versatile and is a friend to both classes. It balances two things, simplicity, and functionality.
The tool is simple enough for the beginner to comprehend it and operate without mixing things up and it contains all the functions an expert might want.
Despite its complexity and versatility, it is a diminutive figure. Small enough to be carried, this model is also versatile when it comes to portability. The convenient size makes it a good smoker for hunting too since you can carry it out into the woods. It also helps that you stow it away quickly once the job is complete.
The smoke is good, cool and the volume is enough to sustain the harvest of multiple hives as well. It is also of continuous flow. Due to the durable build of the smoker, you can rest assured that it will supply this safe, continuous smoke for months. You can even employ this for extensive use and trust me; it shall deliver.
10. Agralogix Bee Smoker
This one, manufactured by the good folks at Agralogix, gives off a good smoke supply. The smoke is safe, non-toxic and it is not hot at all. The volume is good as well, especially for the fuel consumed. So, you can easily overwhelm and tranquilize several hives at once with this.
While the volume of the smoke may be more than sufficient, the delivery is, unfortunately, not so much. The smoke comes with abrupt puffs, and this can startle the bees and even cause to lash out in self-defense. The relatively bad airflow is the key reason behind this flaw, as it lets smoke accumulate and burst out all at once.
The billows are crafted from leather, so at least in that part, the air flows well. Rubber or vinyl may be used as a cheaper alternative, but that is usually far less durable. The rubber, and especially the vinyl can wear down and even peel off at certain places. Leather is generally durable enough to endure it all.
Finally, when it comes to heat, many bee smokers heat up rather fast. If handled carelessly the thing can cause severe burns. This one, while yes it does heat up, provides you, the user, with ample protection. There is a heat guard that enables you to pick the tool up and use it safely.
What Makes A Good Bee Smoker?
Here are some of the factors that you need to consider before making a purchase.
When it comes to smoke, it has to be safe. You should never use anything that might emit toxic vapors, and while that is a given, the smoker itself should have sufficient combustion area for complete combustion.
Incomplete combustion can lead to emission of the poisonous carbon monoxide. The smoke should also be allowed to cool.
The sheer volume might be another big reason people will buy a bee smoker and for a good reason too; no one wants a puffer that can’t keep up with the bees. This is important in particular if you own multiple hives and wish to conduct a harvest in one go. More smoke means more bees calmed.
While it is good to have ample smoke quantity, you should really balance it with fuel use. Some smokers provide a whole lot of smoke, however at the cost of completely eating away your fuel. In addition, it can mean that the fuel is burning too fast.
You need a smoldering fire. That could heat the tool up or even spew out embers and flames.
Now this applies to all tools. If it doesn't last, why buy it? You might have to sacrifice the property of lightness for some rigid equipment. Unsurprisingly, lighter equipment is usually less durable.
And as such, a good balance is usually recommended. Factors such as location, number of hives and experience can affect this.
How to Clean A Bee Smoker?
With all tools, comes maintenance. And this is maintenance for the bee smoker is efficient cleaning. The steps are listed as follows.
Step 1: First off, make sure that it’s inactive. I know that it is obvious, but just a safety precaution.
Step 2: Clean the interior with a hive tool.
Step 3: Give it a good shake, and after that remove the soot and ashes.
Step 4: Next you’ll be moving the grate. Use a screwdriver to do this and then use the hive tool to clean. The corner and tight spaces should be reachable with a hive tool.
Step 5: Take off the bellows and inspect them for any damage. Dust the bellows clean.
Step 6: Put it all back, and it should be good as new.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are the bellows leather?
That varies. There are bellows from rubber or vinyl as well. The texture for leather is usually rougher. You should be able to tell.
2. What difference does leather make?
Leather, in general, is more durable than rubber or vinyl, but leather tends to be less elastic and more expensive.
3. What would be the best fuel for bee smoker?
For the best results, I’d suggest you go for the stuff you find on sale. If you want to save a few pennies, get creative. Pine needles, firewood, and cotton cloth are all viable to be used as fuel.
4. Do I need pellets?
Bee smoker pellets usually are scented and provide a nice smell, but they are not necessary. You could go for an organic, non-toxic material.
5. What size do I get?
Smaller sizes are preferred for ease of storage, but I suggest you to not sacrifice quality for that.
So, I have laid the facts out. The rest is on you. Get the one that checks all the right boxes for you. And if you have any beef with my recommendations, let me know in the comments section.