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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Lima, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    726

    Default Re: So, I gave one of those sugar bellows a try

    I've pretty much come to the conclusion, that no one every tried these dusters with powdered sugar before selling them. There may be a prototype out there someplace that worked, but the ones they are selling have some significant design flaws in my opinion. You may get a good amount out on the first pump, but after that you barely get anything. You could shake the thing between every pump, but that gets old and defeats the purpose of a quick delivery method.

    I really found 3 issues with the duster. They can be fixed, but you really shouldn't have to make modifications just to use it out of the box when it is being sold specifically for this purpose. By changing the following I got a good consistent cloud of dust on every puff.


    1. The agitator (that thing with 3 arms in the sugar container that turns you you work the bellows), sits about 1/2" above the screen. This means it does little to keep the powdered sugar loose in the 1/2" above the screen and it gets packed enough that it won't go though the screen. This is a huge flaw. They would never sell a kitchen sifter designed with the agitator located away from the screen. It simply wouldn't work. This can be fixed by adding a bunch of washers underneath the container around the shaft and underneath the arm, thereby forcing the arms to scrape the top of the screen.
    2. The screen in the sugar container had holes that are too small. This allows the sugar to clump up and clog holes easily, even with the adjustment in #1. I suspect the thickness of the screen affects it to. I replace this with #8 hardware cloth.
    3. As assembled, the agitator (that thing with 3 arms in the sugar container that turns when you pump the bellows), only turns about 1/6th of a revolution. This leaves half the screen packed with sugar what won't be cleared. There are however two holes in the arm, if you place the metal piece in the hole closer to the shaft it will turn about 1/3rd of a revolution on each pump. With 3 arms this clears the entire screen.

    The only other issue is that many bottom boards (including mine) only have a 3/8" opening so I may have to design a bit different nozzle for it.

    After making these changes it works pretty well and I've got lots of white bees.

    (I can post pictures of the changes if anyone wants)

    -Tim
    Last edited by tarheit; 09-03-2009 at 02:10 PM. Reason: Additon to post.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    New Cumberland, PA
    Posts
    1,380

    Default Re: So, I gave one of those sugar bellows a try

    tarheit, Would you post a picture of it --Thanks.

    Also when you tested your modified bellow, did you dust it thru a deep and 3 or 4 shallows above it. I am curious to find out how far the dust will fly. Thanks.

    Walkingbird,

    Are you working with a 10 frame deep and 9 frame shallows above it -- If so, I am not sure that it is dusting the bees in the shallows as the frames on the shallow would not line up with the frames in the deep. Did you take a peek at the bees in the shallow and were they all covered with dust. Thanks.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Concord, CA
    Posts
    4,194

    Default Re: So, I gave one of those sugar bellows a try

    Hi Tim,
    Those are some good ideas, I'm going to pull my duster off the junk pile.
    Thanks
    Dan

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Lima, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    726

    Default Re: So, I gave one of those sugar bellows a try

    The new screen (#8 hardware cloth).



    I used a couple washers and a nut as spacers on the shaft to pull the agitator down so it actually scrapes the screen.



    And finally, moved the metal bar to the hole closer to the shaft so it makes about a 1/3 turn on each pump instead of 1/6th.


    -Tim

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Lima, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    726

    Default Re: So, I gave one of those sugar bellows a try

    I should also add. I did dust my 100+ hives to see how the modifications held up, and worked as good on the last hive as it did on the first. It's not super fast, but quicker than opening the top and screening powdered sugar. I got about 4 hives per fill up with maybe 30 pumps. I varied it a bit depending on the size of hive and if it had an upper or lower entrance, etc.

    In general it did seem to effectively dust them just doing it from the entrances. I was getting clouds of dust coming out the top (with 4 mediums) when just dusting from the bottom. Of course the real test is in the dropoff of the mite level (if any) after treatment. Unfortunately due to lack of time I really didn't do much more than a spot check beforehand.

    -Tim

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Thousand Oaks, CA USA
    Posts
    1,206

    Default Re: So, I gave one of those sugar bellows a try

    CentralPA- Those hives are deep/medium. I center the 9 frames in the mediums, so they're still aligned with those below.

    Lots of good tips here and great pix of the mechanical improvements, thanks. For what it's worth, after another test run this weekend on some other hives I found that simply holding the dang thing so the gravity feed worked was an effective quick-fix. (Obviously, everything works better when you use it the way it's intended. Sooner or later I'll get that concept )

    Anyway, had plenty of dust poofing out the top of my deep/medium set-up. One new thing I learned: there's no need to push the nozzle deep into the hive. Just barely get the business end into the hive, and you get good coverage.

    And the bees get REALLY ticked off when you push this thing along the bottom board, so it's more comfortable for all concerned if you just get past the opening.

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