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Thread: Anyone give up on sap bags?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Speyside, Canada
    Posts
    143

    Default Anyone give up on sap bags?

    Anyone else going to give up on sap bags?

    I only tap 20 or so trees per year so have been using sap bags with home made pvc holders. This year I've had to replace almost half of my bags due to holes created by forest critters. Usually I get 3 or 4 I need to replace, but this year it's way up. I even have a strip of duct tape along the bottom to try to prevent nibbling at the corners, but even that isn't helping.

    Shame since I bought bags in bulk last year so I have a big supply.

    Any other tips for keeping the bags from being nibbled before I switch to pails on the ground next year?
    2015 - 8 buckets, 332L sap, 8.5L syrup - Barrel evaporator, 2 steam pans
    2016 - 8 buckets, 432L sap
    2017 - 10 bags, 470L sap, 9L syrup
    2018 - 20 bags, 1050L sap, 17.6L syrup
    2019 - 20 bags, 970L sap, 22.2L syrup
    2020 - 17 bags, 813L sap, 17L syrup

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Merrimack, NH
    Posts
    551

    Default

    Are you sure its actually animals and not the bags getting some ice in them and the wind causing them to bang off the trees? That was my biggest problem with bags, I never saw animal bites and I was running 200 bags at a time. Im using tubing now, but I do know your pain.
    2020 Upgraded RO to 2 post and 7GBS Gould Pump. 400 taps
    2019 New Smoky Lake 2x6 raised flue, Simplicity Autodraw system, The Maple Guys Maple Jet Filter Press, a beautiful new bride to be my sugaring partner :-)
    2018 Deployed
    2017 Expanded Sugar Shack, new 2x6 with float box, NEXTgen Maple RO, 250+ taps (I hope for 300), still on sap sacks
    2016 New Sugar Shack, 2x6 evaporator, 160 taps, all on Sap Sacks
    2015 Deployed
    2014 110 taps
    2013 35 taps

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Ashtabula County, Ohio
    Posts
    1,677

    Default

    I gave up on them a long time ago when one season, red squirrels destroyed almost 200 bags in a day. I put out new ones, and they did the same thing.
    1000 taps on vacuum back down to 105 buckets
    2x7 A&A Raised Flue
    CDL 12" vacuum filter
    2019 Kawasaki Mule Pro MX Sap Hauler
    Past evaporators: Phaneuf 2x6, A&A 2.5x10, Smoky Lake 2x8 (oil then wood fired)
    Syrup made 2010:36 gal 2011:126 gal 2012:81 gal 2013:248 gal 2014: 329.5 gal 2015:305 gal 2016:316 gal 2017:258 gal 2018:147 gal 2019:91 gal 2020: 30 gal
    Tapping the same trees my great, great and great grandfathers tapped.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    New Hartford, N.Y.
    Posts
    2,005

    Default

    Wow. That's bad! Never used bags but I'd give up on them too with that issue. Used buckets for years- they have their troubles too- but the critters can't chew through them!

    Steve
    2014 Upgrades!: 24x40 sugarhouse & 30"x10' Lapierre welded pans, wood fired w/ forced draft, homemade hood & preheater
    400 taps- half on gravity 5/16, half on gravity 3/16
    Airablo R.O. machine - in the house basement!
    Ford F-350 4x4 sap gatherer
    An assortment of barrels, cage tanks & bulk tanks- with one operational for cooling/holding concentrate
    And a few puzzled neighbors...

    http://s606.photobucket.com/albums/t...uckethead1920/

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Brockport, NY
    Posts
    234

    Default

    I too feel your pain regarding the bags. We use them. Same issue with squirrels too. But being a stubborn Scandinavian, we keep using them every year so far. Only mitigating factor is that to a degree the squirrels are trainable. First round goes to the squirrels always. Second round we leave two/three bags WITH the chews in them. Third round we cut it to two with chews, and the squirrels seem to habituate to them and leave the rest alone from then on. Dont know why but they do. Critter tax I guess...
    Truthfully, we do want to go to tubing, its been the few thousand for all the equipment and pumps that we haven't been able to save up for yet.
    good luck
    Mark

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Speyside, Canada
    Posts
    143

    Default

    Pretty obvious critter damage. 20200317_152546.jpg
    2015 - 8 buckets, 332L sap, 8.5L syrup - Barrel evaporator, 2 steam pans
    2016 - 8 buckets, 432L sap
    2017 - 10 bags, 470L sap, 9L syrup
    2018 - 20 bags, 1050L sap, 17.6L syrup
    2019 - 20 bags, 970L sap, 22.2L syrup
    2020 - 17 bags, 813L sap, 17L syrup

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Halifax, VT
    Posts
    34

    Default

    I used sap bags successfully for years before I started having problems with rodents chewing on them. I then did two things. The first was to buy some rat traps which I nailed randomly to some of the trees below the sap bags and baited them with peanut butter. Worked pretty well. The second thing was I bought 100 used buckets. I prefer the bags to the buckets as they hold more sap, are easier to pour, and require less clean up and storage space - but if rodents decide to bite into them you are in a bad situation. I like the idea of leaving a few sacrificial leakers.

    This year I put put 30 buckets, 25 sap sacks, and setup about 120 taps on 3/16th tubing. The tubing is out performing the buckets and saps probably 2 to 1 in terms of sap yield and boy is it a lot easier.

    One other thing on the sap sacks - I would rinse them after the season and them reuse them the second season as an outer layer on a double bag system - as a few times I think I did have leaks caused by the sacks abrading against the trees.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Potsdam in far northern New York
    Posts
    742

    Default

    I was never tempted by them. Too much plastic trash in the Maple industry.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Rutland, Vermont
    Posts
    242

    Default

    I don't use any bags, but i am religious about trying to have no food residue on my hands when working on lines or building drops.
    Leader 2x6 Raised flue with preheater and hood. Patriot pans
    Leader Clear 5 bank filter press
    Memprotec 200H RO
    400ish taps

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Bennett,Wi
    Posts
    40

    Default

    We had bad trouble with gray squirrels 3 years ago, trapped them heavy then and had little trouble last year. This year they're back and we trapped a bunch again. We use peanut butter placed on a steel trap pan and set very lightly. Mostly head catches. We have neighbors who feed deer and squirrels in the winter, that's the problem.
    2X6 Smokey Lake Evaporator, Kawasaki 400, 260+ taps using bags and buckets. Retired.

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