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Sunday November 10th, 2002
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I booted the office Me machine and the problem is back.  It seems to be time-related.  I'm considering removing MSIE6.

I read your diary with interest and checked out the link to the oxalic acid evaporation system. I have been quite interested in trying it myself but when I requested info from the producer of the equipment in B.C. during the summer he informed me that it was not approved for use in Canada so he couldn't sell me an evaporator. Has there been any change in the Canadian stance on oxalic acid or is there any movement in that direction ?  

I'm not sure what the actual situation is here in Canada.  It does, indeed, seem that we are free to do, and to discuss, anything we care to.  Our authorities seem to have enough respect for well-informed beekeepers that they allow quite a lot of  latitude. After all, the beekeeper is the guy who loses it all if he/she contaminates honey, and honey testing is becoming very widespread and getting very, very sensitive.  We saw the results of contamination when loads from Saskatchewan were dumped years ago due to sulfathiazole residues around 1ppm.

There are quite a few products and practices that are being promoted publicly which do not have official sanction, but which are displayed in public at conventions, in the presence of provincial apiarists and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) people.  I am sure that the officials think deeply about each of these products and practices.  If they see potential hazards, they speak up, but otherwise, they just watch.

The USA is a an exception in the Western world inasmuch as social pressure and government agencies place tight limits on free speech and action.  Even speaking about an illegal or unapproved treatment in the USA can result in prosecution (See Caldera's experience with the USDA a few years back).   In contrast to the US, I sometimes read the Belgian list, (archives -- in French) and am shocked with the pesticide and chemical use that is openly discussed and practiced in Europe.  Things in Canada seem to follow the trends in the USA, and I see lately that injury lawyers -- something we never saw here before -- are suddenly breeding like fleas.  From that, I can only guess that within a few years, people will become as fearful, and our freedoms will be as restricted as they are in the US.  My guess is that the Canadian equipment producer is more afraid of a civil suit than of legal action by regulators.  He'd feel safer if his method were endorsed by authorities.

So, as far as using oxalic in Canada is concerned, a word with local authorities like a provincial apiculturalist beforehand is wise, for perspective.  CFIA is the wildcard in the whole thing, since they seem to be a rudderless ship, bashing into things here and there, but with no firm course plotted, and no one clearly at the helm.  So far, they have acted with restraint, mainly warning about the use of unapproved drugs in hives and recalling the Chinese honey when chloramphenicol was found (not by them BTW, but by a packer who was monitoring the competition), and working towards a HACCP system industry-wide.

If there are no residues, and if our customers in Europe and the USA do not object -- as some currently do about benzaldehyde (a food ingredient) and butyric acid (another food ingredient)  it seems to me that we will be able to use these organic acid varroa control methods.  There has been no complaint whatsoever -- so far -- about formic acid (another natural ingredient in honey and food), and for what it is worth, oxalic acid apparently decomposes into formic acid, CO and water.  Oxalic is also found naturally in foods in far greater amounts than would likely to be a result of even careless fumigation.  Moreover, in the European studies, oxalic levels in the honey in the brood nest were actually lower after fumigation than before treatment.

I removed MSIE6 and played around with selective boot and the boot problem seemed to be solved.  I restarted the machine several times and was satisfied that the problem was licked.

I then installed Netbui on the XP machine and it suddenly noticed the Me machine which had been connected all  along by Ethernet, but invisible.  The notebook, connected by parallel cable also came into view -- more or less. I did the updates to XP from the web and left that download in progress while El and I went to the Mill for supper.  On the way, we saw that Wendy was at the Global Grounds Internet Cafe she is opening in Linden, and we stopped in to show them the website I gave her as an opening present.  The picture is from a Halloween party, and I think she will change it soon.

When I got home, I started to copy the drives from the Me machine to the XP unit to create a backup and to start my migration.  It is a long process, and I went to bed with it running.  I awoke at one-0-five AM to hear the printer reset, and realized that we had a power bump.  I hoped that this would not damage anything.  It shut down the machines in mid-transfer, but things seemed okay.

Today..Morning fog patches otherwise cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Wind light. High minus 3.
Tonight..Partly cloudy. Wind west 20 km/h. Low minus 5.
Normals for the period..Low minus 9. High 3.

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Monday November 11th, 2002
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Remembrance Day

I started the Me machine to find that it was once again hanging on boot-up, but also discovered that I could reach it by the network -- even if explorer was not running.  I turned off the monitor and resumed the work of configuring the XP machine and transferring files.  I am looking forward to doing a clean install on the Me.  Haven't decided whether to use 98SE or Me or XP. Or FreeBSD?  I have them all here.  Maybe Slackware?  Probably not.  The machine will be for Ellen, and Windoze is easier for me to support.

I think I like this new machine, and, surprise, surprise, I like XP!  Come to think of it, this machine has not hung even once, in all the time I've played with it, and I seem to be able to find my way around in it just fine.  I'm even getting to like the look and feel.  This 1800+ runs just fine.  It's fast.

Wendy was not having any such luck with her two new machines at Global Grounds.  The HPs were similar in specs to this Machine, but really slow compared to this box.  She has them hooked up to 2-way satellite, and the main feature of the shop -- other than high-test special coffees and sweet desserts -- is high-speed access out here in the boonies where 56K is the normal speed limit.  Johnny was working on those units and we expect they will be lightning quick when he is done.

Ellen and I drove to Red Deer today to meet Mom and Jean and Chris.  We had lunch, shopped a bit and came home.  Mom will be here until Thursday.

Today..Mainly sunny. Wind west 20 km/h. High 6.
Tonight..Mainly clear. Wind west 20 km/h. Low minus 2.
Normals for the period..Low minus 9. High 3.

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Tuesday November 12th, 2002
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Paulo and Dave are going wrapping.  We have eight yards to go.  For some reason, we are moving more slowly this year than last.  I like to think we are doing a better job, but partly it is the ice on the floors that makes it hard to put on the entrance reducers.   Dennis is un-installing the extractors for winter storage so we can set up a woodworking shop for the winter.


I spent the afternoon paying bills and further configuring this new machine.  It always takes a while to get things just right.  Often I don't realize what I need to do until I start a task and find that some little thing needs doing -- like downloading the 50+ megs of the latest OpenOffice.org office suite.  I have Microsoft Office 2000 right here on CD, but hate to use it. I'll install it, but not until I have to.

I am pleasantly surprised by Win XP.  It is rock solid, and seems to allocate cycles well to running aps compared to previous Windows versions.  I lost my download connection when I was about 90% finished downloading 50 meg file -- after 6 hours or so of waiting on a 26.6 connection.  Imagine my relief when I discovered that XP was smart enough to resume where it left off, rather than starting all over, as Me used to do.  I've now pulled all my user files off the Me machine and find I am ready to wipe it, and to reinstall Windows.  No rush, but it is surprising when that realization hits.


BTW, if you have written me in the last while -- or before -- and I have not gotten back to you, please realize that my email is now scattered over three machines and some gets lost.  Besides, with all the SPAM coming in, I nuke anything that does not come from someone I recognize or have a subject that I can see is personal. 

If, for example, you sent me a message with "Make a million dollars while sitting in your bathtub 5g82" or some such thing, chances are I did not read it. If you sent me an attachment, that might have been eaten by my anti-virus.  Please try again with a subject line that says something like:

Subject: This is about honey bees


Maybe I was too hasty, and a little heavy on my bragging about the freedom we enjoy in Canada.  A Canadian reader wrote to say that he had called the maker of the evaporator in British Columbia and been told that he could not buy one; it was not approved for sale for use in Canada.  A US reader wrote to say he obtained one, apparently without difficulty.

I phoned the maker of the device, and here's what Heinz said in response to my query:

Not long after my site went up, I was visited by (a CFIA employee). He had my site printed out and was complaining that I was selling Oxalic Acid.  After I told him that I wasn't selling Oxalic Acid and he reviewed the site and saw that I was not offering Oxalic Acid for sale, he then said that I couldn't sell the Vaporizer in Canada either, as the treatment is not registered.

I informed him that if I had to remove the site, it would be replaced by one of my distributors in Germany as it is legal there.

I asked him for specific instructions as to what he wanted removed from my site and a few days later he faxed me the required alterations, which basically consisted of removing all the Canadian references and including a disclaimer stating that the Oxalic Acid Vaporizer is not registered for use in Canada. He threatened legal action if I did not make the changes.

At first, when I heard this, I was annoyed and thought that CFIA was out of line, but after thinking it over, I decided that they had a valid point and that the solution was a -- typically Canadian -- reasonable compromise. 

I also then recalled that the promoter of the device had been SPAMming every beekeeper on the 'net, and bee-related mailing lists where he could, with claims that this was The Answer to varroa.   The promoter had annoyed me so much at that time, I had thought I'd NEVER deal with him.   I can therefore understand why CFIA had to react somehow to moderate such in-your-face claims for a product and method that -- even if it is harmless and effective -- is yet unproven in Canada.  After mulling it over, I now consider their response moderate and reasonable.  I've also since mellowed, and decided that  -- regardless of his obnoxious approach to marketing -- the idea he is promoting has merit and I'll keep following his techniques, as well as those of other contributors.

A reader of these pages wrote and told me that he enquired of his provincial apiarist about approval for oxalic and was told "in the next year or so"

He says,  "Whenever I hear "in the next year or so", from anyone connected to government I find it difficult to be optimistic !  It doesn't sound as if they think it is a very high priority item".

Nonetheless, I expect that, seeing as there are apparently no residues, and that we are all seeking milder and less toxic solutions, that we may well see some action, as well as tacit acceptance of responsible beekeepers experimenting with these methods.

BTW,  Cor called and told me that the slides are on their way here, so when the CD arrives, I'll be sure to post the slides here on this site.

And... speaking of sites, honeybeeworld.com is live and active.  It will be the future home of this diary and all my other material.  One day soon, I expect that this current URL will pass into history.


Having said all this, evaporating oxalic is not the silver bullet.  It is just one more weapon in the arsenal, a good one, it appears. There are some tales in Europe of failures with OA -- mostly when used with drizzling or spraying -- two methods that do not appeal to me even a little bit (see the links below).  It seems no method is without at least some failures.


Allen's

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Today..Becoming cloudy this morning. Wind light. High zero.
Tonight..Clearing. Wind southwest 20 km/h. Low zero.
Normals for the period..Low minus 9. High 3.

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Wednesday November 13th, 2002
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Paulo and Dave went wrapping.  Dennis did cleanup. 

Ellen, mom and I went to Rosebud for lunch and the theatre matinee.  We saw Caribou Magi and enjoyed it thoroughly.

I'm still getting computers and websites straightened out.   I see that Windows XP is still no *nix.  XP gets slow and flaky -- just like any Windows I've ever used -- after installs and uninstalls, and needs rebooting.  I noticed that the icons got corrupted in one situation and that was only fixed by a reboot.

Allen's

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Today..A mix of sun and cloud. Wind west 20 km/h. High 9.
Tonight..Mainly clear. Wind west 20. Low minus 1.
Normals for the period..Low minus 9. High 3.

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Thursday November 14th, 2002
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Dennis and I each drove a load of granulated supers to Meijers' in the morning.  We've had hundreds of supers full of granulation ever since we were on pollination, and we never seem to get them entirely cleaned out.  We decided this year to take them to Meijers', heat them for a week in the hot room, then run them through the Bogenshutz and hopefully narrow down the combs and recover some of the honey. 

It took forever to get out of here.  I had been reassured several times that both trucks were completely ready to go, but at the last minute, it turned out that there was a flat -- and about ten other little things to tend to. We finally got to their farm around eleven, and were greeted by Doreen.   The men (minus James who was down with the flu) were out wrapping, but hurried home when they heard we had arrived.  We unloaded the trucks and trailers, then Dennis had to hurry home, but I stayed for lunch.  We had a good visit, then I headed back.

Paulo was transferring a few hives to the Styrofoam boxes for a wintering test.  I ran out to supervise a bit and then left him to finish.  El, Mom and I drove to Jean and Chris' in the late afternoon and had supper at Dino's in Ponoka.  We then stayed over, since El and I and will drive Mom to the airport tomorrow, leaving around 8.

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Here's an interesting article on Oxalic acid Vaporization:

2002 | 2004 | 2008 | 2010 | Using Formic & Oxalic | Home

A Device for Quick, Safe1 Oxalic Acid Vaporization
Read this important disclaimer
Oxalic Acid Safety

At the recent ABA convention, Cor De Wit described his experimental set-up for using oxalic acid vaporization to control varroa.  I was so impressed, that I asked him for his slides and he obliged.  In fact, he drove to Edmonton, had them put onto a CD and sent them to me -- and he won't let me pay him for the effort.

At first, Cor tried the VARROX oxalic evaporator as designed and recommended, but encountered some problems:

Treatment took too much time per hive for commercial bee operations with hundreds or thousands of hives

Fumes were escaping out of the entrance and cracks in the hive, lowering efficacy and presenting a hazard

The low clearance of entrances in North American hives resulted in  poor circulation of fumes in the hive, and possible fire hazard.

Click on any thumbnail photo for a full-size view.

Here's the VARROX Verdampfer, used as designed. There is an obvious clearance problem.

F1030009.jpg (24331 bytes) F1030010.jpg (43632 bytes)
(The green carpet strip is to deter skunks).

References:

Cor decided to use the best features of the device, but to improve on the method of use to increase convenience and efficacy, and to reduce hazards to the operator.  He built a  cart with automotive batteries and a fan, and developed a small sheet metal enclosure for the VARROX verdampfer. 

The enclosure has an inlet for the fan, a spout to fit easily into the hive entrance through the small hole in the reducer, and a filler funnel, into which the oxalic can be dropped onto the hotplate of the VARROX verdamfer.  A cork plugs the filler hole to prevent fumes escaping there when the fan is activated.  The boxes have legs and a handle to make it easy to swing one into place in front of each and have it stay it there during two minutes of the treatment.

A timer on the cart turns the fan off after two minutes. I think it controls the VARROX evaporator as well, but I'll have to ask and learn more about the details.

Here are some salient facts:

Oxalic acid (OA) is present in foods like rhubarb.

OA in food is dangerous in concentrated form, but apparently harmless and non-cumulative in small amounts.

OA vapour and the dust from the powder can be dangerous to humans if not properly handled.

Applied properly, OA seems harmless to bees.

OA is naturally found in beehives and honey

OA levels found in hives and honey did not seem to increase at all after OA vapour treatments.

Oxalic acid vaporization treatment is as effective around zero degrees C (freezing) as at higher temperatures

OA works best when there is little or no brood in the hives

In Alberta the most reliable broodless period begins in late October and November. 

Mean temperatures run just above zero in in late October and November.

We wrap out hives in October and November.

Note: Although Canadian authorities have not yet gotten around to verifying the work and making a formal approval, use of oxalic acid in beehives to treat for varroa has been extensively tested, and is approved in some of the fussiest European countries.

As with any treatment, there are advantages and disadvantages to this method.  This article is not meant to be a recommendation or an endorsement, but is merely presented to encourage understanding, further study, and, hopefully, early approval.

Oxalic Sublimation

Next >>

The cart in a yard with wrapped hives

A close-up view of the 12 volt fan.


Another view of the fan, showing the timer

Set up and ready for the crystals

Adding the oxalic acid crystals.  2 grams is the amount used.

The fan and verdamfer are actuated.  In two minutes the acid is evaporated and blown into the hive where it precipitates everywhere.

2002 | 2004 | 2008 | 2010 | Using Formic & Oxalic | Home

Using Formic & Oxalic Acids for treatment of Varroa & Tracheal Mites

Read this important disclaimer

Today..A mix of sun and cloud. Wind light. High 5.
Tonight..Cloudy. Clearing near midnight. Wind northwest 20 km/h. Low minus 3.
Normals for the period..Low minus 9. High 2.

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Friday November 15th, 2002
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goodbye.jpg (126975 bytes)We dropped Mom off at Edmonton International around nine, and drove to Red Deer, where we shopped for a while, then came home.  The car had acted strangely last night, making several poor shifts, but now was losing power badly.  Everything seemed okay, but the engine just would not pull.

I went to Canadian Tire in Red Deer, but they ignored me for five minutes at the counter and I got a bad feeling about the whole business and left.  I drove downtown, confident that something better would present itself.  Then I had a brainwave, and phoned Three Hills Motor Products -- our local Chev/Olds dealer.  Normally, I hate to deal with dealerships -- I used to consider dealership repair facilities to be an expensive rip-off, -- but recently I gave this shop a try and found them very personable -- and careful with my money.  I appreciate that.  A pleasant woman made me an appointment to get and the engine tuned and the interior shampooed at three.  I'd been planning to get the interior done, and this gave me an opportunity.  It's cheap at $50 to $75, compared to the outfit I had do the Buick.  They charged $100.

We headed home and the car was getting even worse, but it got us to Swalwell, where we picked up our 1/2 ton and drove the car in for repairs.  I walked up to the repair counter and recognized a familiar face, Rene Nixon. 

"I thought it was you", she said, smiling.  She'd recognized my name on the phone when I called to make an appointment, but I had no idea to whom I was speaking at the time.  I spent a pleasant evening with her and her husband, Kevin -- plus several other beekeepers -- in Esmeralda's, the night before the ABA convention, a little more than a week ago.

When we returned, Dennis had loaded two trucks and Paulo came back shortly.  He reported that we are now completely done wrapping for winter.  Dave took the day off to look for winter work.  Our season is about done.

Today..A mix of sun and cloud. Wind southwest 20 km/h. High 8.
Tonight..Mainly clear. Wind southwest 20. Low minus 2.
Normals for the period..Low minus 10. High 2

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Saturday November 16th, 2002
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It's time to plan to go to Niagara Falls for the international meeting.

It starts December 4th for most of us.  (Some groups will be meeting earlier).  There is a huge agenda of really good topics by excellent presenters.

Looking out over the American Falls The Canadian (Horseshoe Falls)
A bee at work (on the flower) A bee (centre) working a flower at Niagara Falls.
Photos by allen dick
Click any picture to enlarge
granulation3.jpg (121187 bytes)
granulation2.jpg (131776 bytes)

Dennis showed up at nine and took a load of granulation to Meijers'.  Dave rode along with him for the trip. As it turned out, he had a flat tire on the way over, but was able to remove the flat and drive on the remaining wheel, at greatly reduced speed to prevent overheating the remaining tire.  Rubber ride axles are good that way; they have little deflection and the bare hub does not hit the ground.

He unloaded and returned for another trip, which went uneventfully.  The round trip took about three hours.  There are two similar loads left to go, including drums of cappings which we plan to heat and run through the Fager -- as soon as I get the new gear and get it installed.


El & I had a quiet day at home and got the plans firmed up for our trip to Rhode Island and the Niagara Falls meeting.

I am getting quite a few calls for the bees and it looks as if we will have them all sold by spring.  If not, we'll keep them.  I'm not doing all the spring work and then have people pick through them and chisel on price.  They are for sale right now for $200 cash each in doubles, fed and wrapped and on locations.  As-is, where is.  20% holds them until January.  Balance due by March.

We may make some exceptions and deals, such as partnerships or other arrangements.  I have to check with the accountant about that.

I must confess that I have mixed feelings about selling.  I love beekeeping, but hate extracting honey.  At any rate the time has come to sell, and whether we sell another 700 or so -- like last year -- or sell them all, I don't care, as long as we get a good price.  Either way, we do okay, and I'll figure out something to do, and I'll have work for my loyal staff, too.

It looks to me -- by the calls I am getting and the market environment -- as if we may be charging too little.  I remember the last time that honey prices jumped like this in the '70s -- from 12c to 55c -- every stick of beekeeping equipment -- including absolute junk -- went for the price of new, assembled equipment simply because there was a serious shortage of drawn comb in face of strong demand. Old floors and lids, and any old box that would hold frames, were vacuumed up by eager buyers, no questions asked. 

Going by that reasoning,  any useable box with nine or ten combs should go for around $35.  With honey at $2.50 Canadian, brood chambers with some feed should be at least $50 CAD, by that same reckoning.  What the bees are worth is anyone's guess, since it now appears that packages will be next to impossible to get next spring and, if the prices escalate with the price of honey, as they always have in the past, a two-pounder should easily command over $100 Canadian.  Decent over-wintered hives always out-perform packages and are worth more.

Adding all this up, I can see a heavy double with good feed, and good bees, on pallets, with decent lids, being worth $250 by spring.  We're asking $200, so I doubt that they will last.  Of course there are a few people who are out of touch or who always sell too cheap.  Their equipment will go first, then the price will skyrocket.

By then, the demand from pollination in the US may have driven US prices up to Canadian levels, and we may wind up selling into the US in January.  We've sold south before, many years ago, for cash.  We sent a reefer van with 400+ hives to Arizona to be built up for pollination.  I think that the almond guys are already starting to worry. May be I'll give Joe Traner a call.

Allen's

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Today..A mix of sun and cloud. Wind increasing to southwest 50 gusting to 70 km/h late this afternoon. High 9.
Tonight..Clear. Wind southwest 50 gusting to 70 diminishing. Low minus 1.
Normals for the period..Low minus 10. High 2.

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Sunday November 17th, 2002
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styronuc.jpg (116307 bytes)We were talking about Styrofoam nucs some time back.  Here's a shot of one.  These units are tough, and very useful. These are 5-frame nucs, not full size hives and have hard plastic molded in at the contact areas in the box and in  the lid. They have the one flight hole in the front, and the beekeeper just feeds by shooting syrup into that hole.  the syrup sits on the floor until the bees pick it up.  Works like a dam.

We're into some warmer weather now.  Plus eight Celsius is forecast for the next few days.  That'll be nice for a change.  It's lovely outside right now, but I have an article and two ads to write by tomorrow, and I haven't even finished procrastinating yet. My new site at www.honeybeeworld.com has been giving me some grief.  It is a Unix site and Unix doesn't like FrontPage very much, so I have been busy troubleshooting.  Drat!

I had a visitor this morning.  A fellow came by to look at the hives and talk about several hundred.  I had a call yesterday from a friend who is considering buying them all -- the whole 2,400 -- and wondering if we are interested.  I said "Yes, come by and talk".  We've several serious enquiries lately, and it is still early.  So far he hasn't come by, but I suspect he will visit his banker first.


I'm running a bit late again for my Bee Culture article and have two ads to place in BeeNews by noon tomorrow, so I'm working today.  The Unix server at www.honeybeeworld.com is still giving me serious grief.  For some reason it is inserting the same page twice into the diary.  Ugggh.

Today..Mainly sunny. Wind west 40 gusting 60 km/h diminishing to 30 this afternoon. High 8.
Tonight..Clear. Wind west 30. Low 3.
Monday..Sunny with some afternoon cloudiness. Wind west 30 gusting 50. High 8.
Tuesday..A mix of sun and cloud. Low plus 1. High 7.
Wednesday..A mix of sun and cloud. Low minus 4. High plus 1.
Thursday..Sunny. Low minus 5. High plus 2.
Normals for the period..Low minus 10. High 2.

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Monday November 18th, 2002
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Dentist at 11.  Tires to take in to repair.  The car to pick up in town.  Two BeeNews ads to be in by noon.  A magazine article overdue.  It's a busy day.

I went to the dentist and took care of things in town, then worked at the desk until three,  I drove to Calgary to get the gears for the Fager and the bandsaw blades.  While there, I picked up a copy of FrontPage 2002.  From the cover blurbs, it should solve some of my problems with this site. 

Meanwhile Paulo and Dave cleaned off the trucks and got one truck and the forklift ready to move hives into sheltered locations.  We have some spots that are good in summer, but just too exposed in winter.

I got home and installed FP2002.  As I could have guessed, it would not load my site properly, and gave share me a share access violation notice.  I guess this replaces the famous Windows BSOD.  I went to bed while the machine downloaded SP1 and SP2.  I'm loading them in in spite of the dire warnings I've heard.  I sure hope that this fixes the problems.  So far -- after the honeymoon period when I had nothing of value or interest on the machine -- Win XP has been less reliable than Me, and harder to figure out.  Still, I won't go back.  There is only one direction.  "Resistance is futile.  You will be assimilated".

Today..A mix of sun and cloud. Wind west 40 gusting 60 km/h. High 8.
Tonight..Clear. Wind west 30. Low 4.
Normals for the period..Low minus 10. High 1.

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Tuesday November 19th, 2002
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We took some bee samples while we were wrapping and Paulo did some mite analysis.  For the yards we have done so far, we got the following results:

Yard Name  Bees
Tested
 Varroa
Count
 %
Varroa
Bees
Examined
 T r a c h e a l   C o u n t

Left side

Right side

Dixon Bush 229 6  2.6 20 - -
Roden
Clearing
218 0 0 20 - -
Wilsons 235 5 2.1 20 - -
Getz 230 1  0.5 20 mmm -
Guards 240 2 0.8 20 - -
Freres S 210 0 0 20 mm e -
Vanovers 215 0 0 20 - -
Elliotts 220 0 0 20 - -
Osguthorpes 205 0 0 20 - -
Jonathans N 225 0 0 20 - -
Jonathans S 215 0 0 20 - -
CCW pending          
CCE pending          
Davidsons 240 0 0 20 - -
Dixon 210 3 1.4 20

mmm
m ee
mmmmm eee
mmmm
mm
mmmmm

mm
mm
mmmmmm ee
mmmmmmm
m
mmmm

Genert W 205 4 0.98 20

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
mmmmmmmmmm eee
mmmm
mmm
mmmmmmmmmmmmm
mm
m

mmmmmmmm
 mmmmmmmmm
mmmmmmmmmmmm
mm
mmmmmmmmmm
m
mmmm

Key:  Where infected bees were found, each line represents one infected bee.
each "m" = 1 mite                 each "e" = 1 egg                      "-" = No mites found

With the exception of two yards where the tracheal levels are high, the mite loads we're seeing, are quite good for this time of year. 

Two yards of the thirteen we have tested have tracheal high enough to be a concern.  That is 15% of our outfit showing levels at around 30%, if the sample holds true.  What is curious is that the other yards are close to zero.  Maybe these two are anomalies.  We'll see.  We'll do some further sampling as we go around, now that we found these two 'hot spots', and we should know better in a few days if we have a problem, or just a freak occurrence.  In the meantime, I am concerned about Davidsons and Genert W, and, as it happens, we have some warm weather coming up and we'll get menthol on them today.  Reportedly, blue shop towels can work quite well in wraps if the temperatures are high enough.

As for varroa, I hate to see any at all, but we know that the levels we've found so far should cause little harm.  At some times of year, varroa levels this high would be cause for concern, but November is our broodless month. This is a time when all the mites are riding on adult bees, not hidden in brood, because most hives have stopped brood rearing for the next month or two. We'll be inserting a single Apistan strip into the hives in early March or April, before the brood rearing gets going in earnest, so that should ensure control. It seems to have worked for the past two years.  Of course we are looking at some alternate controls to use along with Apistan, because resistance development becomes more likely as time passes.  Rotating treatments should forestall that problem.

We tested all the same yards for nosema and found no nosema spores. When I tell people that we seldom find any nosema spores in our bees, they don't believe me, but I recall that when I tested before some years back after I took a course on bee diseases, I had to ask a friend to send me some of his bees so I could compare and prove that we had none. His bees had lots of spores, and they were easy to spot.


Dennis took a another load to Meijers.  Paulo and Dave went north in the 4 x 4 and put menthol on a few hundred hives.  The bees were flying and it was a warm day -- ideal for the job.

I worked here at the desk and went for a bike ride in late afternoon.  Much of the snow has melted, and the ground is soft.

Today..A mix of sun and cloud. Wind west 20 gusting to 40 km/h. High 12.
Tonight..Partly cloudy. Wind west 30. Low 5.
Saturday..Sunny. Low minus 10. High minus 2.
Normals for the period..Low minus 11. High 1.

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