How to Make Natural Bee Smoker Fuel

Beekeepers using a bee smoker during hive inspection.

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The practice of smoking bees has been about for centuries. It helps distract and lull the bees so as to keep them from stinging. You have various types of smoker fuel to choose from including the commercial bee smoker fuel. But did you know that you can make natural bee smoker fuel using locally available resources? Well, that is right. You can actually do it yourself and get a reliable smoker fuel within the comfort of your home. You need not utilize the common smoker materials such as wood shavings, burlap, or pellets. While these are effective bee smoker fuels, they tend to have a terrible smell. Furthermore, they do not help to get rid some pests such as the varroa mites.

Some of the materials that are best suited for bee smoker fuel include pine needles and spicy embers of sage. You can also use some organic materials such as creosote bush or grapefruit leaves. These generate a sweet and pleasant aroma and also kill varroa mites. Try out other organic materials that have been proven to be sweet smelling and helpful in killing mites as well. Remember, you do not have to smell terrible after working on your hive when you can opt for better bee smoking fuel.

Why Natural Bee Smoker Fuel?

  • It is much cheaper and will save lots of money that would have been spent in buying commercial bee smoker fuel.
  • Gives you the choice of using materials that can help kill parasites including the common varroa mite.
  • It is more convenient since you do not have to rely on local stores whenever you need smoker fuel. You can easily get the fuel, even when you unexpectedly run out of fuel.
  • You do not have to use fuel that leave you smelling like a barbecue after a long day working on the hives.
  • Using your newfound skills to teach others as well on how to make natural bee smoker fuel.
  • It is gratifying to know you can make your smoker fuel.

How to Make Natural Bee Smoker Fuel

Step 1 – Gather the Materials

  • The purpose of making your own natural bee smoker fuel is to avoid any wastage and find a cheaper source of fuel. You should focus on looking for smoker fuel available within your yard. Check out some of the materials that are within reach even outside your yard. If your neighbors can allow, check out some useful organic materials from their yard as well. You should also consider some of the materials you usually throw away from your kitchen.
  • Some of the organic materials that can be used a bee smoker fuel include: mint, oregano, sage, lavender, and basil. These smolder slowly and give a sweet smelling white smoke. A great choice would also be eucalyptus since it is highly flammable and generates a medicinal scent. This can be the best starter fuel for your smoker.
  • Oily and hardy organic materials also make the best natural bee smoker fuel. Some of these materials include: pine needles, citrus peels, and rosemary needles. They burn slowly and last long, hence making them ideal fuel for smoking bees.
  • Any type of flower, preferably from the sunflower family such as daisies, zinnias, and sunflowers are also great bee smoker fuel. However, ensure you avoid anything that is toxic or generates poisonous scents when burned. You should also avoid anything that has synthetic or plastic elements.
  • If you wanted to use any native or exotic plants, desist since these produce lethal smoke that can sicken you. A best choice would be organic materials that are usually eaten, used for making home-care products, or those used for making skin care products. These plants should be gathered responsibly and in a way that is in line with the laws of your locale.

Step 2 – Material Classification

  • After the organic materials have been identified, they need to be placed in various categories so as to make it easy to know how and when to use each of the materials. For instance, leafy materials will only work well when dry. Oily plant material such as orange peels or rosemary sprigs on the other hand usually smolder slowly and last longer, but they take long to dry. Some herbs such as basil and sage on the other hand are sweet smelling when burned and generate a light white smoke.
  • Eucalyptus leaves and dry pine needles are also ideal smoker fuel that are natural and freely exist. They smolder slowly and burn for a long time. A combination of any of these types of fuel can make the best natural smoker fuel.

Step 3 – Material Preparation

  • The first step in material preparation is drying. There is no one single formula that defines how your smoker fuel has to be dried. Some herbs such as lavender and oregano can be dried in bundles by hanging them from a hook either indoors or outdoors. Other materials such as basil leaves and flower petals can be dried using metallic tray. The flowers and the stems should be broken apart before drying so that they can dry at the same time. You can subject this to some little heat using the gas oven or alternatively using an electric oven.
  • After drying the materials, it is time to match and blend. You can do this through trial and error. The simpler your mixture of natural materials the better. You can combine herbs with oily material, or aromatic material with oily material. You should test your blend before using it on your bees. Check out how long it lasts and the kind of smell the blend gives.
  • Once you have identified organic materials that work best together, prepare your packets of fuel using packaging paper or brown paper. Avoid papers with some printing but if unavoidable, use those with soy based ink printing. Make sturdy packets without the use of glue or tape. When done, keep your homemade smoker fuel in a dry and safe place.


You can make your natural bee smoker fuel using locally available materials. Organic materials make the best fuel. It is also important to consider the different characteristics of the smoker fuel. Some of the materials burn quickly and do not last for long. This type of material should be used for lighting the smoker. Those that smolder for longer and generate a sweet aroma should be used for keeping the smoker lit. Identify the different materials and combine any two to come up with a desirable smoker fuel. Conduct a pre-test before using the fuel too.

What do you think of this DIY guide? How do you suggest it could be improved, or how would you do it in your own way? Leave a comment below and let us know.

About Michael Simmonds

Michael Simmonds is an American beekeeper with more than two decades of experience in beekeeping. His journey with bees began in his youth, sparking a lifelong passion that led him to start his own apiary at the tender age of 15. Throughout the years, Simmonds has refined his beekeeping skills and has accumulated a wealth of knowledge concerning honeybee biology and behavior. Simmonds' early exposure to beekeeping ignited a fascination with these pollinators, influencing his decision to establish BeeKeepClub in 2016. The website was created with the aim to serve as the ultimate resource for beginners interested in beekeeping. Under Simmonds' guidance, BeeKeepClub provides comprehensive information to novices, including the basics of beekeeping, the different types of bees and hives, the selection of hive locations, and the necessary beekeeping equipment. In addition, the site offers detailed reviews of beekeeping tools to help enthusiasts make informed decisions and get the best value for their investment​​. His contributions to the beekeeping community through BeeKeepClub are substantial, offering both educational content and practical advice. The website covers a wide array of topics, from starting an apiary to harvesting honey, all reflecting Simmonds' extensive experience and passion for the field. Simmonds’ approach is hands-on and educational, focusing on the importance of understanding bees and the environment in which they thrive. His work not only guides beginners through their beekeeping journey but also reflects a commitment to the well-being of bees. Michael Simmonds has dedicated a significant part of his life to bees and beekeeping, and through BeeKeepClub, he has made this knowledge accessible to a broader audience. His work undoubtedly embodies a blend of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness in the realm of beekeeping.
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