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Burlap is a wonderful multi-use fabric that has many practical applications. One of these applications is for bee keeping. There are two ways that burlap can be used in the field of bee keeping: as smoker fuel and as bee transport.
Burlap is a great fabric to use as smoker fuel primarily because it burns nice and slow, giving you consistent smoke. This is very important because when the bees get angry, you need that smoke ASAP to calm them down. In addition to being a slow burn (which is also important in terms of fuel quantity i.e. it lasts longer), the smoke that it does produce is more or less uniformly white/grey. It is not a “polluted” smoke. This makes a difference since clean and consistent smoke is the best for keeping the bees duly subdued. For best results, leave new burlap outside for a few days before using. This accomplishes a few different things. Exposing the burlap to direct sunlight will cause the linseed oil scent to “evaporate” off the fabric, which helps to purify the scent of the smoked fabric. As well, many people have reported that using old/slightly broken down burlap is easier to burn and will provide the most consistent smoke output.
Burlap sacks are a great way to transport bees from one location to another. If you have found wild honeybees in the woods or the field and you wish to transport them to your beehive, burlap sacks work splendidly. After knocking out the bees with the smoke, the burlap material is sufficiently thick to stop them from crawling out, but it is also a breathable fabric so that the bees won’t suffocate. Once the bees have been successfully transported to your desired location, it is an easy thing to transfer them from the burlap sack to the hive.