Monthly Archives: January 2018

The Bee Zoofer

Necessity is the mother of invention.

 

The yellow zap icon indicates where the entrance to the hive is

 

And what a mother it can be.

I try to keep the compound safe for myself and others. I am watchful for hazards and remediate them as quickly as possible. I was sizing up this big arborvitae that needed some trimming when I noticed a yellow-jacket hive beneath the lower branches.

As I have mentioned elsewhere in this blog, (Bumbles) I dislike flying, stinging insects. Judging by the location of the nest, I could easily see myself getting stung (perhaps multiple times) while mindlessly cutting the grass. Or worse, one of my children or grandchildren suffering the same.

Yikes. No bueno.

I began with standard eradication methods – soaking the entrance hole with a couple of gallons of water-based insecticide. After a few days I could see that wasn’t having the desired effect. Not enough bees were contacting the poison and the leaf litter was sponging up the deadly liquid before it reached the core of the nest.

How could I ambush (bushwhack) the little bastards on their entrance/exit without standing there all damn day?

Enter The Bee Zoofer. (patent pending).

The Bee Zoofer  is a shop vacuum set strategically at the entrance to the bee hive. As each individual bee either exits and tries to take flight, or hovers in for a landing, it gets caught in the suction and…zzz-ZZOOOF! gets sucked into the vacuum. Neat, clean and effortless. The captured bees are bounced around violently inside the vacuum drum, which I believe kills them quickly. To be sure, however, I leave the vacuum alone for a few days before emptying it out, just to be certain.

The most difficult part of deploying the Bee Zoofer is the proper placement of the business end. You need to place the nozzle right beside the entrance hole. That can be a touchy proposition with the rapid comings and goings of an active hive. Once in place, however, you just press the ‘ON’ button and walk away. Of course, it is entertaining enough to watch, for a little while.

Initially, I left the Bee Zoofer running for about 3 hours. Activity in and around the nest certainly slowed down, but the next day it was back to pre-Zoofer levels. I then ran the Zoofer for two sessions of 2 hours each (to allow the shop vac to cool down). Again, activity slowed to nill.

My aim was to reduce the population of bees until the hive could no longer support itself and collapse. Surely any bees that were left are coming back to an empty nest. I could picture their reaction –
‘Hey…WHERE THE HELL IS EVERYBODY??’

But that wasn’t the case. Either the hive was much larger than I thought, or bee reproduction was ramped up to meet demand. So I turned on the Bee Zoofer and procured a long pole and proceeded to poke at the nest from afar. This produced the desired effect of an attack, which also put many more bees into the suction flow. (Full disclosure – I got stung once, on my arm. Aparantly one of the little bastards avoided getting sucked in and went on a large, circular hunt that ended with me. That is what you get from farking with a bee hive).

 

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The Gutter Zoofer

 

Once a year I turn my attention to cleaning out the gutters on the house. I usually do this by scooping up the old leaves, dead bugs, particulate matter the roof sloughed off and other crap with a gloved hand and bagging it. It takes much longer than I would like.

This year I set my mind to finding a better way. Somehow I managed to put two-and-two together and cast a thoughtful eye towards my trusty leaf blower. The leaf blower is by no means a one trick pony. It moves a lot of air with little to no effort. I have used it to flush varmints out of the drainage pipe, antogonize groundhogs in their holes and dry paint. I have also used it to get a hot fire going faster than you can say ‘what the fark is he going to do with that?’

At first, I blew out the gutters that were within my easy reach. However, there exists a second level that I have not ever cleaned out becuase it is above my head. There also does not exist a safe method for me to get up to the second story gutters around the house and as such, the accumulation of afore mentioned crap had built up to the point where grass was growing in the gutter.

When grass is growing in your gutters, mi amigos, it’s time to clean them out.

If you have ever purchased a new leaf blower you will notice that most come with a bag and attachments for SUCKING leaves up (as opposed to BLOWING them. As such, the leaf blower is a device that both sucks and blows). I have never used that feature, although I should look into it for some of those tight spots around the shrubs.

One of the attachments is a big curved tube, almost half of an oval. It reminds me of a large wind instument – tuba or saxaphone.

My initial thinking was that if it fit (somehow) for sucking, then maybe it will also fit on the business end for blowing.

Well, not exactly the fit I that I needed. Enter the purple duck tape. Now, before I have to listen to a whole chorus of caterwalling about the proper termination of DUCT vs. DUCK tape let me say this: DUCT tape is silver. It is made by one or two companies and has been around for a long time. DUCK tape comes in many, many colors and was born out of the mispronounciation of DUCT tape by the unenlightened. More on that at another time. This was purple DUCK tape and it did the job nicely – that being holding the black hunk of curved tubing onto the end of the leaf blower and thus turning it into –

The Gutter Zoofer (patent pending).

I clambered out onto the roof, fired up the engine and went to work.

The first thing that I noticed was that it worked well. The second thing I noticed (becasue I am very observant) was that it would have been good to outfit myself with goggles – and a face mask and a hat. The Gutter Zoofer moved a lot of crap, very efficiently, but it moved it ontop of me.

However, I had the gutters cleaned inside of 10 minutes and I didn’t have to perform any hight challenging theatrics or unsafe ladder tricks.

Good until next year.


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