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Hives pulled to 4 high and supers stacked for abandonment

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Saturday August 10th, 2002
Last year on this date       Year 2000 on this date

We slept in a bit.  It looks like a dull day.  I was thinking of windsurfing, but the weather is forecast to be calm. I spent the morning and early afternoon paying bills.  I had several that had errors, including one VISA and a cellular provider, and spent over an hour getting them straight on the phone with the companies in question.  I each case I had to ask to speak to a supervisor and in each case, the supervisor was able to solve the problem quickly and easily and quickly do exactly what the first person to answer had told me was impossible.

Dennis came in to pump drums.  Ren was expected to be here to extract, but did not show up.  Jodi talked about coming in too, but did not call or come by.

We are getting rain almost every day lately and the country -- even the driest part --  is greening up again.  It looks like there is even an increasing chance of a late flow to make up for the poor July.  Predicting flows is tricky.  In all my 30 years of beekeeping, I have never been able to guess ahead of time when a flow would materialize.  Sometimes we get a nice flow in August in spite of unpromising-looking conditions, and sometimes -- even when things look good -- we get nothing.   At bed time, it was raining heavily.

We are now 52% finished the first pull, are filling drum 87 and project 50 lbs, if things don't change. 

Today..A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers. Risk of a thunderstorm. Wind becoming north 20 km/h. High 19.
Tonight..Cloudy with a few showers. Risk of a thunderstorm this evening. Wind becoming north 20. Low 7.
Wednesday..60 percent chance of showers. Low 9. High 17.
Normals for the period..Low 9. High 23.

Sunday August 11th, 2002
Last year on this date       Year 2000 on this date

I really need to go somewhere today, but there is no wind predicted and I don't feel like shopping.  My camper is off the truck, since I got tired of the loud exhausts on the truck and took it to the shop.  They did not have time to do the work on Friday or Saturday, so there the truck sits, and here I sit. 

El is late getting up, and even then she is not one to just jump into the car and go; it takes her hours to get ready.  So if I go, I go alone.  But where?  Riding, shopping, flying, sailing, bike riding, visiting?

I could just stay here and get caught up on the paperwork or work on the house. 

That's often what happens to my weekends.0810021.jpg (36162 bytes)


Well, I stayed home and worked.  I tell myself I'm banking time off.

Matt came by and we found the problem with D3 that kept it from shutting off and also drained its batteries.  It turned out that here was a short in a connector on top of the engine.  We just bypassed it and the truck is now 100%.

I also welded a broken brace on one of the blowers.

Today..Mainly cloudy. 30 percent chance of showers. Wind north 30 km/h. High 17.
Tonight..Clearing this evening. Wind north 30 diminishing. Low 5.
Normals for the period..Low 9. High 23.

Monday August 12th, 2002
Last year on this date       Year 2000 on this date
0810022.jpg (55180 bytes)

It's a bright sunny morning with good weather forecast for pulling honey.  Hi-way 9 called to say they have a delivery for us mid-morning: 150 more drums and a super cart from the co-op. 


The truck came at ten and Dennis and Tim unloaded the drums.  Meanwhile, Paulo and Kenton went pulling honey.  It is the first day after a rainy spell, and the bees are not abandoning as well as we might wish; so the guys did odd yards near home and I went out to check periodically, and to pick up. 

The photo on the right shows how we now set the supers in stacks -- rather than on end -- when the robbing season starts.   This reduces the area exposed, and, although the bees abandon more slowly, robbing is less likely -- and less serious if it does begin.  We are also able to pick up these stacks with a forklift, saving hard labour.

Picture_019.jpg (59892 bytes)El and I went to Meijers' for supper, and to photograph Joe's experiments with 4.9 foundation.  While we were there, we got to discussing prices and Joe called a honey buyer.  He was offered $1.75 CAD ($1.10 USD) payable in 30 days.  He called another buyer, but was only offered $1.60.  These are heady times.  Too bad no one has a normal crop around here.

The 4.9 experiment had not worked out too well. They did four hives and the foundation was drawn, but the wax had sagged.  Since there were no vertical wires, the foundation had slipped from the top groove and the combs were distorted.  The bees drew most of the plastic that Dee sent, but that work also was not perfect.  Of course, on the plastic, we can just scrape the bad spots off and try again.  I'd show some pictures here, but I am not sure what Dee permits in the way of disclosure at this point.  She has the pictures, and when she has time we'll see what she says.  It's her show.

I looked at the bees Joe chose and some were quite small, but nonetheless, they had done an imperfect job, as had the larger bees in the next hives.  I must mention that we ignored all advice and just put bees from 5.3+mm comb onto 4.9, so what else should we expect?  Actually they did far better than I would have thought.

On returning home, around dusk, we checked the stacks I had picked up.  In most, virtually all the bees appear to be out.  There are several stacks, though, that still have quite a few bees.  Maybe there is brood in them?  Or maybe they are ones I picked up at Elliott's' and the stragglers can't find their way home. I think they abandon best when near their home hive.  In that case, they fly up, recognize the locale and just fly into their habitual hive entrance.  When removed to a distance, if they fly up, they do not recognize the locale, can't find their home, and thus return to the super stack and stay there until they are blown in front of a hive.

Today..Mainly sunny. Wind becoming north 20 km/h. High 22.
Tonight..Partly cloudy. Wind north 20. Low 11.
Normals for the period..Low 9. High 23.

Tuesday August 13th, 2002
Last year on this date       Year 2000 on this date

810022.jpg (43599 bytes)I started early -- 7:15 -- and picked up all the stacks in three yards using the forklift.   There were about 125 full supers, all told.  It took and hour or so. 

I returned home, then worked with Paulo and Kenton blowing them out and taking them in.  About a third still had bees, so my plan was not as good as I thought.  At any rate, I did get to teach the guys some blowing tricks that I had assumed they knew, but apparently did not.

It took until noon to get the bees blown and the boxes into the honey house, trucks, ready, etc. etc.  Ren showed up late and we sent him out with Paulo and Kenton to pull honey. 

I think we have broken our stride.  There is always a lag and some unhappiness when we have to change systems, and change we must due to the weather. 

We ran 25 loads in the extracting.  Boxes are a bit lighter again, since we only got 9 drums by the look of things.


0810023.jpg (42013 bytes) 810023.jpg (42073 bytes) 0810024.jpg (43852 bytes)

Held just right, the blower can create a huge cloud of smoke.  Make sure there is enough fuel, and no sparks. Heavy clothing is optional.  I usually avoid dark clothes, though

Supers are best blown from the bottom since the frames swing easily.  Bees tend to accumulate under the end bars and these spots require special attention. A high velocity blower is not needed if your technique is good, and can even be counter-productive.  Several passes, using short bursts of air work better than heavy blasts.

Today..Mainly sunny. Wind increasing to west 30 km/h gusting to 50. High 29.
Tonight..Partly cloudy. Wind northwest 30. Low 14.
Normals for the period..Low 9. High 23.

Wednesday August 14th, 2002
Last year on this date       Year 2000 on this date

We are now 60% done the first round.

The day started with rain and so the guys had to work around here, even though the honey house only had 150 boxes waiting extraction.  By mid-afternoon, though, Paulo, Marvin and Kenton were able to go out and blow bees out of the boxes we had pulled into stacks the day before.  It was double work, but the bees just do not abandon in cool, rainy weather.

I went to the doctor in the afternoon and found that I do have a broken finger.  My right pinky was hit with a hammer when we were working on the quonset the other day and it has not been quite right since.  I had an x-ray and it shows a little chip on the final joint of the finger.  The doctor put on a huge, unwieldy splint that immobilizes the entire side of that hand.  I'll have to improve on his work.  I can't have this unnecessary impediment for six weeks!

Today..Mainly cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers. Risk of a thunderstorm near midday. Wind north 30 km/h. High 22.
Tonight..Partly cloudy with 30 percent chance of showers this evening. Wind north 30 diminishing. Low 9.
Normals for the period..Low 9. High 23.

Thursday August 15th, 2002
Last year on this date       Year 2000 on this date

The morning started sunny and so Paulo, Kenton and Marvin went out to get honey with a blower.  By noon, they only had 48 boxes, so I sent Tim out with the one I repaired and hope they can speed up a bit.

Rene & Kay Berghs came by in the morning and we had a good visit.

Extracting is going slowly since we aren't bringing in as many boxes as when the weather is more co-operative and we have only two people at the machines.

Today..Becoming cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers. Wind increasing to north 30 km/h. High 14.
Tonight..Rain developing by midnight. Wind north 20. Low 3.
Normals for the period..Low 9. High 23.

Friday August 16th, 2002
Last year on this date       Year 2000 on this date

Today was cool, but there was no snow.  It was windy for a while, but it turned nice around four and there were four hours of flying weather before dusk.  This is the third day we could have been pulling honey for at least four hours late in the day, but I left it up to Paulo and Kenton and they decided to take today off and work tomorrow when the forecast is more promising.

Got this email today.  Things are getting very interesting:

Hello Allan:

Talked to (name withheld), he had just contracted 6 loads of white honey @1.27/lb U.S.  That computes to $1.99 Canadian.   

My crop is dismal, somewhere around 40 lbs extracted and I don't know what's out there.  Flow is currently shut down with this cold weather

Today..Rain ending this morning. Becoming sunny this afternoon. Wind increasing to north 30 km/h. High 15.
Tonight..Clear. Wind northwest 20 diminishing. Low 5.
Normals for the period..Low 8. High 23.

Saturday August 17th, 2002
Last year on this date       Year 2000 on this date

Paulo, Kenton and Marvin came in and pulled honey.  The day was marginal and the blowers were in use all day.  They got 199 boxes and there are now about 240 awaiting extracting Monday.  They also put in some mite drop boards to check for varroa.  We put in both natural drop and Apistan tests  and are hoping to be able to come up with some sort of correlation so we can just use natural drop for our fall survey.  We treated 100% in the spring and do not expect to have to fall treat, but we must keep our guard up and survey periodically so we will not be taken unawares.

We're 2/3rds done pulling now and the projected crop, according to my spreadsheet, still looks like 50 lbs.

Late in the day, Ellen and I met Joe and Oene for supper at Fred & Barney's restaurant in Drum, then El and I stayed the night in our camper.

Saturday..Mainly sunny. Wind increasing to northwest 30. High 20.

Sunday August 18th, 2002
Last year on this date       Year 2000 on this date

Ellen & I spent the day reading and walking in Drumheller and returned home around six.

The country is greening up, and except for the cut and stunted crops, and the small number of bales in hay fields and missing or tiny hay stacks, one would hardly know there had been a drought.  Our lawn will need cutting again soon.  I really doubt that we will get much of a late flow, but we are leaving one super on now, just in case.  We have 6020 supers still out, so there is work to do before the fall.

Sunday..Sunny. Low 5. High 22.
Tonight..Clear. Wind light. Low 7.
Normals for the period..Low 8. High 22.

Monday August 19th, 2002
Last year on this date       Year 2000 on this date

Yes it's true.   Honey  is over the $1.25 mark here in the states last week.
Many of the  " BIG " boys are talking $1.40 by October 1st.  Many a large
packer are telling there customers not to expect honey prices below $1.25
for at least the next 2-3 years. 1 neighbor to the north of us turned down
$1.20 for dark honey last week. Extreeeeeeeeeeemley short crop here in the
states also.           Rich

This just in from another writer:

Yes it's true.  

Honey  is over the $1.25 mark here in the states last week. Many of the  " BIG " boys are talking $1.40 by October 1st.  Many a large packer are telling there customers not to expect honey prices below $1.25 for at least the next 2-3 years.

1 neighbor to the north of us turned down $1.20 for dark honey last week.

Extreeeeeeeeeeemley short crop here in the states also.    

$USD1.40 is $2.19 CAD.  Personally I expect the price to break suddenly and hard once immediate needs are filled.  This is a price squeeze and these peaks tend to be very sharp and brutal going up, and equally brutal going down.

  • I went to Meijers in the morning to watch them extract and to borrow some blower chutes

  • I met the crew in the field to demonstrate

  • Ellen worked on the mural

  • The cre4w got 160 boxes.  Abandonment was marginal and blowing was required

  • They finished at eight, a twelve hour day.

  • It rained heavily all night

Today..Increasing cloud this afternoon with a 30 percent chance of showers. Risk of a thunderstorm. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h. High 24.
Tonight..Cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers. Risk of a thunderstorm this evening. Wind north 20. Low 9.
Normals for the period..Low 8. High 22.

Tuesday August 20th, 2002
Last year on this date       Year 2000 on this date

 

Today..Showers ending this morning then a mix of sun and cloud. Wind increasing to southeast 20 km/h. High 21.
Tonight..Partly cloudy. 30 percent chance of evening showers. Risk of a thunderstorm. Wind southeast 20. Low 8.
Wednesday..Sunny. Wind becoming south 20. High 25.
Thursday..Sunny. Low 10. High 22.
Friday..Sunny. Low 8. High 23.
Saturday..Sunny. Low 9. High 25.
Normals for the period..Low 8. High 22.

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