Birds, Leps, Observations & Generalities - the images and ramblings of Mark Skevington. Sometimes.

Friday, 5 March 2021

Suck, Don't Blow!

I've had a sedentary and unproductive week on the natural history front, mainly due to feeling a bit crappy from the chemo but at least I've not missed a load of great weather in the process. I've not been completely unproductive, I've sorted out a couple of tools for the coming invert season. With the impending easement of lockdown measures coming up it seemed the right time anyway.

So, I've been busily spending money on Amazon and suchlike. I've restocked with some entomological setting pins and a couple of new handtools for dissection and fiddling about (pin handles mainly), and a couple of chemicals that might come in handy. I've ordered some white Correx board to make some flight intercept vane traps. And, most importantly, I've finally got hold of one of these ....


It's a 36V cordless model, which is actually very lightweight. That comes with having the build quality of a child's garden toy and I doubt it would survive being dropped to the ground or being abused too much. But it does suck, and I know others use this model with success so should all be good. I've sourced some jam-making muslin bags but they may be a bit big - not sure yet. Also not decided on how best to affix the bags to the tube - gaffer tape, tie-wrap, jubilee clip - all suggestions welcomed.

I hope this will get some use in the next couple of weeks - I'll wait until another prolonged dry spell so I'm not sucking up wet debris, and head out to somewhere with tussocks after the first stage of easement which seems to allow leaving home for recreation (social one-to-one, picnics, suction sampling ....).

10 comments:

Ali said...

How big's the nozzle? Would a bicycle clip hold it?

Skev said...

Yes, could work (if I had one) - wonder if it would be sturdy enough though. Have you trued one?

martinf said...

I use a thick elastic band plus plastic edging round the end to protect the bag

Skev said...

Hmm, didn't even think of a laggy band! Edge protection is a good idea, I'll see what I can get for that.

Gibster said...

There was a thread about this on the PSL FB page. Graeme Lyons certainly had some input regards beefing up the rim with gaffer tape (I think) which helps prolong the life of the mesh bag as you slam dunk it into tussocks and whatnot. I suspect Andrew Cunningham and maybe Muzza will have come up with some wonderful inventions and adaptations too. No point re-inventing the wheel buddy, just backtrack through that FB group's postings.

Gibster said...

See https://www.facebook.com/groups/1550187855270648/permalink/2668792720076817 and see https://www.facebook.com/groups/1550187855270648/permalink/2686047221684700

martinf said...

This is the kind of stuff I use round the end

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Rubber-Black-Car-Van-Vehicle-Interior-Edge-Trim-14mm-x-8-5mm/112671001282?hash=item1a3bb70ac2:g:GAwAAMXQVERS29r1

Certainly cuts down on bag wear and tear

Skev said...

Cheers Seth, did have a look back and picked up some good tips apart from how bag fitted - seems most were/are using bespoke bags with collars on etc. But I like the 'cheese sauce tub' tip. Will try that first whilst saucing đŸ¤£ some edge protection strip [thanks Martin].

Graham Finch said...

Hi Mark,

For what it's worth, I use a vac bag, now sold by Watkins and Doncaster, they are about a tenner (inc. post), but it has lasted a year and a half and I'm not at all careful where I poke it. It's begining to fray a bit now, but that's because it's been snagged by Brambles etc. They have a strengthened collar/neck which takes most of the force so all in all I reckon it's decent value.

Not sure how powerful the Black & Decker is, but I use Gorilla tape on my Husqvarna and it's been on for a year and a half, not showing any signs of wear yet.

If you know anyone who shops at Aldi, they sell reusable fine mesh nylon vegetable and/or fruit bags for 25p. I keep a handful in my rucsac, tend to use them for keeping tubed catches separate, all swept stuff in one all tussock sieved stuff in another etc. They seem strong enough, I'm sure they would be okay for a replacement vac bag.

Skev said...

Cheers Graham. The bags I got were very cheap and probably won't last - will give them a go to find my way and then may well end up getting a proper bag. I see they usually have a 'pull cord' attached too which I'll need to add to mine somehow. I expect gaffer/Gorilla tape would hold very well, but I also want to be able to remove bag.

The Aldi nylon bags sound ideal - I'm sure Nichola will be nipping there in the week ...