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I find funnel-tops are easier to keep clear than domed-tops. The metal cage around them is great. The quality and 'feel' of the bellows needs to be good, I think that's where cheap ones show. The veil and smoker are the bits of gear I have never skimped on actually, and buy the best I can afford. (If I was outfitting a gang I couldn't do that.) Overalls and such you can made do and make/adapt your own.

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With a full suit and leather gloves the stinging threat is negated (I'm a 6'4, 90 kg wuss when it comes to bee stings) also I know not to bother my bees on colder days maybe when the days are cooler I'll go for the smoker. Conversely I do have a pile of wood shavings to use it

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You are right @@Aquila. Why listen to the experience of the senior beekeepers, after all you had had your bees for how long now, and don't look at your watch

 

Lol yeah I know, perhaps with practice (seeing as I'm up to 7 fully drawn frames and what seems like a box full of bees) I'll get faster at lighting it and start seeing the benefits of it

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Actually, it does surprise me how often that an inability to light and keep a smoker going is an unspoken barrier to its use. Surprising because I thought all boys were born pyromaniacs, and girls, well they're just sensible aren't they. It can take a bit of digging to find out that so-and-so doesn't use a smoker because it has usually gone out!

Ask my wife, I could not start a fire at a petrol station. Takes me about 15 minutes to even think I have my smoker going. After watching a few DVD's of European Beeks, I may have to start puffing on a cigar :cautious:

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I have the worlds smallest and oldest smoker I fire that bad boy up with some egg carton ripped up and chuck on some dry pine neddles and some green ones up the spud ,think there's more smoke after I've finished playing round than when i start sometimes 3hrs after I've finished . One time I dropped a full box of bees on top of the other man I was pleased I had that smoker all I could smell was bananas and then more bees than I've ever seen came out bums in the air not one sting

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I can light my smoker, put it down for half an hour, give it a couple of puffs and it goes nicely. It's not a case of having difficulty getting or keeping it going, it just takes longer to light and seems a waste of time when I don't use it and pour water in it to put it out. Bear in mind also that I'm in a city where open fires are permanently banned and my neighbors are far too close

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I got given a smoker. Only lit it once in anger and find I don't normally need it

 

Aquila, you're making me giggle... because everything you're saying I can hear about half my last year's beginners course saying every time I caught up with them between October and about early February.

 

March and April changed their minds pretty quickly.... and painfully.

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