Bee Smokers

The beekeeper’s smoker, as the name suggests, douse bees with smoke to calm them and make them less likely to sting during handling. Smokers are essential to beekeeping and continue to be used by apiarists today. The smoker featured here consists of a metal fire pot with an attached canvas and wood bellows. The bellows pumps air into the pot to release a cool smoke from its spout.
 
According to experts on apiculture, smokers were invented sometime in the mid-1800s. Significant developments in beekeeping started in the United States in 1851 with Lorenzo Lorraine Langstroth’s invention of the movable-frame hive. This was a new mechanism that helped to effectively house honeybees.
 
Before Langstroth’s invention, bees were generally kept in boxes or baskets. Wax and honey used to only be extracted by killing the bees or by driving them from their nests. This invention became the basis for modern beekeeping techniques and earned Langstroth the title of “Father of Beekeeping.”
 
Although it was not easy to harvest honey and wax before Langstroth’s invention, early New Jersey farmers did have some commercial success as beekeepers. In the mid-1700s, beeswax was used as a trade commodity in local New Jersey stores, and people in the area of Newark Township bought and sold metheglin (mead or honey beer)

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