How to Make a Bee Smoker

Updated July 20, 2017

One of the most essential tools in beekeeping is the bee smoker. The bee smoker calms the bees to keep the beekeeper from getting stung when checking the hives and harvesting the honey. Combustibles like pine needles or strips of burlap fill the chamber of the bee smoker and are lit with a match. Smoke issues forth from the nozzle when the lid is closed. The gust of oxygen from a squeeze of the bellows starts the burnables smouldering again.

Find a tin can that slides easily into the tin cookie canister. Pull off any label paper from the can. Set it rim edge down on a work surface and drill multiple 1/4-inch holes in the bottom. The more holes the better.

Remove the nozzle tip from the end of the bellows. Match a drill bit to the size of the hole and put it into the electric drill. Lay the bellows flat with all the air pressed out of it and measure up 1 1/2 inches from the end of the bellows. Draw a mark in the centre of the wood equidistant from either edge. Drill a hole making sure you only drill through the top board of the bellows.

Take the silicone glue and fill the hole in the end of the wood where you removed the nozzle. Allow it to thoroughly dry.

Lay a galvanise threaded flange over the hole drilled into the bellows wood. Center it over the hole. Attach a galvanised flange to the wood with the 5/8-inch wood screws. Attach a second flange to the bellows approximately 5 inches directly above the first. Screw in a 3 1/2-inch nipple into each flange.

Hold the bellows up with the hole that's been filled with silicone glue, facing down. Where the bottom 3 1/2-inch nipple touches the side of the canister make a mark at the centre point of the 1-inch diameter nipple. Put on goggles and drill a 1-inch hole in the side of the canister.

Attach the zinc strap hinge to the lid of the canister and the body opposite where the 1-inch hole is drilled into the canister. Attach the hinge to the lid first. Before attaching the bottom of the hinge to the body of the tin cookie canister, bend it out at a 45-degree angle about 2 1/2 inches down from the hinge pin. Use the 1/4-inch metal screws to attach hinge to canister.

Take the 90-degree galvanised elbow and to one end screw in the 2-inch nipple. To the other end screw in a 3-inch nipple.

Center a galvanised flange in the middle of the lid of the cookie tin and insert a pencil and make a mark on the tin lid that is dead centre in the opening of the flange. Put on safety goggles, insert a one inch spade bit into the electric drill and drill a hole in the tin lid. Lay the flange back over hole and attach to lid with 5/8-inch metal screws.

Screw in the threaded end of the 3-inch nipple into the flange.

Screw the two 3 1/2-inch nipples into the two flanges mounted on the bellows. Screw the two remaining flanges to the other end of the 3 1/2-inch nipples.

Center the bottom flange coming off the 3 1/2-inch nipple over the 1-inch hole drilled into the canister. With a screwdriver screw in two 5/8-inch metal screws, one at the top and one at the bottom. Repeat with the remaining flange.

Take chimney cement and pack it around behind the bottom flange that sits over the hole drilled into the canister. Work it in well and let it set up. This insures that no smoke escapes from the bottom hole.


The galvanised thread cap is used to screw on to the end of the 2 1/2-inch nipple that forms the end of the smoke spout. Screw the cap on to quench the smouldering combustibles inside the smoker when finished with it. Remember the spout will be hot. Wear gloves to put the cap on. The tin canister will get hot during use. To avoid inadvertently starting a fire, do not set it down on dried leaves or grass

Things You'll Need

  • 1 tin cookie canister with lid 7 to 8 inches tall
  • 1 tin can slightly smaller that inside of tin cookie canister
  • Assorted drill bits
  • Electric drill
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Small bellows
  • Silicone glue
  • 1-inch 90-degree galvanised elbow
  • 2-inch galvanised nipple
  • 3-inch galvanised nipple
  • 1-inch spade drill bit
  • Safety goggles
  • 12-inch zinc strap hinge
  • 5 galvanised flanges, 1-inch
  • 2 galvanised nipples, 3 1/2-inch
  • Metal screws, 1/4-inch long, 1 box
  • Wood screws, 5/8-inch long, 1 box
  • Metal screws, 5/8-inch long, 1 box
  • Screwdriver
  • Kiln cement
  • 1-inch galvanised threaded cap
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About the Author

B. Ellen von Oostenburg became a full-time writer a decade ago. She has written features for local and state newspapers, as well as magazines, including Milwaukee Magazine, Wisconsin Trails and German Magazine. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Madison, von Oostenburg holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in fine art.