It would have helped if I had been a Girl Scout.
This was the hardest thing I had to learn, how to make a sustainable fire in basically a 16 oz soup can with a lid. The smoker helps a beekeeper distract bees long enough to safely access the hive.
To make a fire, I use dried orange peels as fire starters, then add dried twigs from around the yard. Once coals have developed, I add dried leaves to generate smoke.
Stories vary on what smoke does to bees, from making them panic and horde honey to just distracting them. Smoke is applied around them, not on bees.
I've also been known to apply smoke around my head. I wouldn't recommend it as a substitute for perfume.