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DuncanCook

NZBF Things I would do differently

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9 hours ago, DuncanCook said:

They are still advertising them online @ $19.99 I will visit my local Mitre10 tomorrow, if not in stock they should be able to order one.

yes I see that, will have a look today, the site does say they have it in stock,

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20 hours ago, DuncanCook said:

I have been practicing opening with the hive tool away from the bees so less pressure and have become quite good at it so hopefully between that and a new smoker from Ecrotek no more barbequeued fingers.

There must be something wrong with your fueling technique . I get an hour out of a load of pine needles...

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Those dome topped smokers are rubbish if you ask me, I hate all of them, cheap or not.

 

The dadant kelley style ones are a lot better.

I have gotten a lot of use out of cheap nasty smokers over the years and while next to a dadant they’re pretty crap they will do the job.

Technique is more important than having expensive equipment.

 

If your smoker is getting that hot at the top then your probably puffing pretty hot smoke on the bees, try putting some greenery in the top to cool it down a bit, I love green kanuka/manuka to cool mine because I like the smell but long green grass does the job too.

Smoker fuel that’s a bit damp or green is better than having it tinder dry.

 

Edited by Daley
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1 hour ago, Daley said:

Those dome topped smokers are rubbish

Yip, trash.  I got a cheapy from a supplier- was so tempting as a spare.  I got it, used it once and now sits on a shelf.  If anyone wants it, let me know- free to good home.  Fine for a few hives.  

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I’ve only ever used the smokers with the rounded top they last for years and I have no trouble keeping them going .

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18 minutes ago, frazzledfozzle said:

I’ve only ever used the smokers with the rounded top they last for years and I have no trouble keeping them going .

If you try the other kind I reckon you won’t go back.

Dad uses a dome top one, I hate it, the smoke is never as thick, my one makes really good clouds, which is especially useful during pollination moves when it’s hot at night and the hives are beasty 

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3 hours ago, yesbut said:

There must be something wrong with your fueling technique . I get an hour out of a load of pine needles...

I am sure there is, like everything else it is a learning process, I started off either smothering it before I started or burning everything in 10 minutes, I now manage 30 minutes consistently and am still working on improving that.

 

1 hour ago, Daley said:

If your smoker is getting that hot at the top then your probably puffing pretty hot smoke on the bees, try putting some greenery in the top to cool it down a bit, I love green kanuka/manuka to cool mine because I like the smell but long green grass does the job too.

Smoker fuel that’s a bit damp or green is better than having it tinder dry.

I started with Japanese Cedar (shelter belt) 'cos that was what the guy that sold me my bees was using but found it was either too dry and burnt quickly or too green and wouldn't light, then went to organic sacking with top layer damp, that was better but I lost my source so now am using shavings from timber I planed up to make boxes which seems to work quite well. Next time I will put some greenery on top and hopefully that will cool it and help to make it last, we have a couple of big rosemary bushes so that might work and give a nice smell.

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1 hour ago, DuncanCook said:

I am sure there is, like everything else it is a learning process, I started off either smothering it before I started or burning everything in 10 minutes, I now manage 30 minutes consistently and am still working on improving that.

 

I started with Japanese Cedar (shelter belt) 'cos that was what the guy that sold me my bees was using but found it was either too dry and burnt quickly or too green and wouldn't light, then went to organic sacking with top layer damp, that was better but I lost my source so now am using shavings from timber I planed up to make boxes which seems to work quite well. Next time I will put some greenery on top and hopefully that will cool it and help to make it last, we have a couple of big rosemary bushes so that might work and give a nice smell.

Yeah I find wood shavings too hot.

I recommend pine needles for sure, not too dry, the orange ones are the best

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12 hours ago, Daley said:

If you try the other kind I reckon you won’t go back.

 

No I haven’t but I’m due a new smoker so will look at one like you use.

can you post up a pic of  yours ? And what size ?

Do they come with plastic bellows ?

I really like them they are so much easier to use than the leather ones.

Edited by frazzledfozzle

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Frazz, get a 4 inch Dadant. The short one not the tall one.

 

https://www.ceracell.co.nz/shop/Tools++Accessories/Smokers/Standand+Dadant-Kelley+Smoker/x_sku/SMK0094.html

 

If you find the bellows a bit stiff you can replace with this, which will actually give the smoker a bit more grunt also.

 

https://www.ceracell.co.nz/shop/Tools++Accessories/Bellows/Imported+standard+bellow/x_sku/SMK2250.html

 

BTW I have tried a couple smokers with plastic bellows, gutless wonders basically I'm amazed a commercial beekeeper has survived with one! B|

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On 12/05/2018 at 9:04 PM, DuncanCook said:

They are still advertising them online @ $19.99 I will visit my local Mitre10 tomorrow, if not in stock they should be able to order one.

Went to Mitre10 to ask, conversation as follows:-

 

"We don't do them but I can offer you a really good blowtorch at $90"

Me: Thank you but the $20 one will be adequate for my needs

"We don't sell them, must be Mitre10 Mega."

Me: No they are featured on your web site

Salesman (sic) reluctantly checks on computer

"Oh yes but only available in SI"

Me (looking over shoulder) you have other listings for the same item but in different colours, could you check them?

 

Yay I have one on order bought and paid for (wonder if they thought Iwas going to do a runner and leave them holding the $20 baby)

It was hard work

 

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1 hour ago, frazzledfozzle said:

 

No I haven’t but I’m due a new smoker so will look at one like you use.

can you post up a pic of  yours ? And what size ?

Do they come with plastic bellows ?

I really like them they are so much easier to use than the leather ones.

I upgraded to a dadant at the start of spring (I got it from ceracell) ? I got it as a special treat for myself and then I couldn’t really use it because I was preggo which was a bit disappointing.

It was expensive but I love it.

It has plastic bellows, I prefer leather but it came with plastic and I haven’t bothered to change them yet and to be honest there’s nothing wrong with them I’m just a purist, I love leather.

5397E1BF-7AD1-4C8E-9555-B9DAC840F5CE.thumb.png.1a144b01c5ddf18527fe916683188c48.pngA20CCB59-13D4-4A12-8C0D-A074E80E7624.thumb.jpeg.772778831627faa99b9428c09d35619f.jpeg

This one was a cheap smoker I got for $30 off trademe that had leather bellows, I used it for 3 years commercial beekeeping and it was really good, until I ran it over after rushing to wash my deck during harvest coz the robbing was really bad.

Sad day that was, I tried to replace it but couldn’t get another cheapy that was as good.

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13 minutes ago, Alastair said:

BTW I have tried a couple smokers with plastic bellows, gutless wonders basically I'm amazed a commercial beekeeper has survived with one! B|

I reckon you get by with plastic unless you have a coworker who melts your bellows?

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The Dadant came with plastic bellows? Do you have a pic of that?

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18 minutes ago, Alastair said:

The Dadant came with plastic bellows? Do you have a pic of that?

They’re Naughehyde fabric aka Pleather made from plows, it says on Dadants website.

I think it must be at the sheds I can’t find it for a photo

 

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Thanks I'll look it up don't worry about the pic.

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Looking at the picture it looks like the only thing that’s different is the lid ?

would that make any difference to how good a smoke it can get up ?

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27 minutes ago, frazzledfozzle said:

Looking at the picture it looks like the only thing that’s different is the lid ?

would that make any difference to how good a smoke it can get up ?

Yep pretty much is just the lid, I think it makes a huge difference, seems to aim it better too

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7 hours ago, DuncanCook said:

Went to Mitre10 to ask, conversation as follows:-

 

"We don't do them but I can offer you a really good blowtorch at $90"

Me: Thank you but the $20 one will be adequate for my needs

"We don't sell them, must be Mitre10 Mega."

Me: No they are featured on your web site

Salesman (sic) reluctantly checks on computer

"Oh yes but only available in SI"

Me (looking over shoulder) you have other listings for the same item but in different colours, could you check them?

 

Yay I have one on order bought and paid for (wonder if they thought Iwas going to do a runner and leave them holding the $20 baby)

It was hard work

 

yer found one in the BBQ department, then went to Bunnings and brought the gas for $5.30 for 4 bottles, happy as.

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I got one off ebay from supplier in China with free shipping and guest what, it was shipped to me from Auckland within 4 days.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Bee-Hive-Smoker-Stainless-Steel-With-Heat-Shield-Protection-Beekeeping-Tool/302378919733?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649

 

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I just got one of those sent to me by Aliexpress in error a couple days ago. Fired it up to try, it's rubbish, only makes 1/2 the smoke a good smoker will make. I'd give it away but don't want to inflict it on anyone.

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If you use your smoker a lot the air hole in the bellows tends to get slightly blocked which really makes a difference to airflow. If you just look at the hole you can often barely see any difference but cleaning it out really improves things. I keep a 4 inch Flathead nail bent at 90° near the top which just slides into the gap and push it in a couple of times and really notice the difference. I also hang on to old smokers as they can be useful for spare parts. When I was looking after 1000 hives I found my bellows lasted about a year and the stainless steel 4 inch Daydant about two but they are lasting longer now that I have fewer hives. It's a good idea to give them a good de-grunge at least twice a year. As for fuel I like a bag of bone dry pine needles for starting and a bag of quite wet ones for topping up which gives a long-lasting and cool smoke. While on on the subject of smoke don't do what some people do and shove the smoker hard against the bees, they don't appreciate it. Give the smoke a chance to spread out and cool down.

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Hector, after my negative comment, I put a different bellows on the smoker and now it's working a lot better. Not awesome, but acceptable. The pic shows the smoker with the new bellows on and the original beside it. Notice the original bellows have just one air hole, but the new bellows have an outlet hole plus a valved inlet hole. Here's a link to the bellows

 

https://www.ceracell.co.nz/shop/Tools++Accessories/Bellows/Imported+standard+bellow/x_sku/SMK2250.html

 

 

smoker.jpg

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I have a fetish for smokers ..... I collect them ..... the good bad , the bad and the plain old ugly. My favourite is a brass smoker, only it's so old now it only goes out on special occasions . What I particularly like are the bellows  with makers logo's. 

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I have a beautiful old copper four-inch smoker with woodsman and a picture on the bellows.

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