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Wednesday 10 September 2003
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I spent the day at my desk, doing various jobs and finally installing the windows XP Home, that I bought a year or more ago, over the Windows ME on my old PII 266, then went to the mill for supper. 

When we returned, I stayed up far too late, updating and adjusting the installation, cleaning up, etc.  Readers may recall that I was afraid to do this and kept the ME O/S with the malfunctioning GUI on the machine, and the machine just sat there.  I wanted to be sure to keep all the files on it and just networked it to the new machine.  As it turned out, my fears were in vain.  The install went perfectly, and the old system actually seems to match the AMD 1800+ eMachines unit I bought to replace it -- with XP preinstalled -- performance wise!  We'll see after I finish all the tweaks, and use it for a while.

Things are picking up.  Beekeepers seem to have some money, now.  During the day, I got a call from B.C. and sold 1000 excluders, plus my sugar feeder tank to the caller.  I had other nibbles previously, but no firm order.  Now things are flying out the door.  I've had at least five calls for the Fager, but it is long gone.

Today : Sunny with cloudy periods. Wind becoming west 20 km/h this morning. High 19. UV index 4 or moderate. / Tonight : A few clouds. Wind west 20 km/h. Low 8./ Normals for the period : Low 4. High 18.

Thursday 11 September 2003
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Here's an email I got today (edited), and my reply...

> It has been years since I had a case of Foulbrood,
> one as significant as this season.

In that case, burning may be the answer, at least for all visible signs.

> What is the ratio of Terramycin to powdered sugar for dusting
> the top frames (I only manage 4 colonies these days)

You don't say where you are, so, although I can't tell you what mixture is recommended in your area or any other little wrinkles like that. Each state/province has its own rules and unique ways to deal with AFB.

IF your AFB is OTC (Terramycin) susceptible, you use 1 part OTC with 5 parts icing sugar, by weight or volume (no matter), however, you conceivably might have resistant AFB, in which case, you would need Tylosin. If you buy OTC, make sure you buy the OTC labeled for bees from a bee supply, since the products sold elsewhere may vary in strength. There is some discussion of OTC brands on my extender patty page (see the directory on my home page).

> I have read your column for several seasons now
> and you refer to a commercial syrup for fall feeding

> Years ago when I belonged to a beekeepers association
> I had access to that product and the bees did well

> Other than buying it in bulk, do you have any suggestions
> on how to procure the syrup? ( I prefer not to use the association )

We prefer a 67% premix. It is just 2 parts of white table sugar in 1 part water.  You can make the same syrup yourself. Just start with water as hot as you can get and stir in sugar until it will not dissolve anymore. Don't heat the container once you start adding sugar for fear of burning it. Even a little carmelization is hard on bees.

 

Here's an email I got today (edited), and my reply...

> Let's see if I have this right...

> 1) Canada feared that imports of US bees would  contain varroa, and more recently,  "resistant" varroa.

> 2) So, Canada banned US bees, and instead imported bees from places like New Zealand.

Not exactly.  Canada closed the Canada / US border in two stages against tracheal mites.  Once the ban was in place, it has been extended, on various pretexts.

For this and more info, my recent diary (last two months) has a number of references you might find helpful.

Sorry, but the diary is written for my own pleasure and includes lots of drivel.  There are a some nuggets there, though.

> 3) New Zealand certifies that the queens and packages exported are not only free of  varroa, but come from breeding yards far from any detected varroa infestation.

> I think you may want to speak with Medhat Nasr about the viability of this approach.

He is very much aware.

Currently, we, in the Northwest are realizing again that beekeeping is just subsistence beekeeping here (in normal honey market years) without massive annual imports.  The US is our logical and traditional supplier and the others were just emergency substitutes until we could learn if tracheal (then varroa) would destroy North American beekeeping.

We now know.  They haven't/won't.

Since most of this part of Canada is not in the natural range of honey bees, and, left alone they would die out within a decade for all intents and purposes, it actually does not much matter where we get our bees, as long as they are good on arrival and do well.

The US is our natural partner and our best friend and we are tired of favouritism shown to distant shores, even if these are our British Commonwealth relatives, that tie is weak compared to the N/S trade history on our continent.

allen

Tuesday February 25, 2014 04:35 PM

Today : A mix of sun and cloud. Wind west 20 km/h increasing to 40 gusting to 60 this afternoon. High 18. UV index 3 or low. / Tonight : Cloudy. Wind west 40 km/h gusting to 60 diminishing to 20 this evening. Low 3. / Normals for the period : Low 4. High 18.

Friday 12 September 2003
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I get email from AOL members expecting replies.  When I reply, they don't get my reply, replies are returned to me by AOL's postmaster.  AOL blocks over 30% of all incoming email.  If you use AOL for email, in case no one has told you, you lose a lot of incoming email.

I spent the day working on various  things, including getting the two computers to network

I've heard from several places now that CFIA plans to publish intent to permit US queens bees into Canada.  I don't know the details of the protocol, assuming there will be one.  I sure hope it is not clunky, complex and expensive.  We don't need a cumbersome import process.  We need easy access to US stock, delivered in small shipments -- or large, as needed, direct to the buyer.

Today : Showers. Wind northwest 20 km/h increasing to 40 gusting 60. High 12. UV index 3 or low. / Tonight : Cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers. Wind northwest 30 km/h becoming light near midnight. Low 6. / Normals for the period : Low 4. High 17.

Saturday 13 September 2003
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We went sailing at Gull Lake for the day.  Chris took his boat, and Purves-Smiths took theirs.  There wasn't much wind, but it was the most relaxing day I've spent in some time.

We met some interesting young men from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.  They were on a world tour and say they are members of a carpenters guild.

Today : 30 percent chance of showers early this morning then becoming sunny. Wind northwest 20 km/h. High 18. UV index 4 or moderate. / Tonight : A few clouds. Low 7 . / Normals for the period : Low 4. High 17.

Sunday 14 September 2003
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This letter has been going the rounds, and is not marked confidential...

Subject: Importation of Honeybee Queens from Continental US

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is proposing to amend the current regulation that prohibits the importation of honeybees from the continental United States. The amendment will allow the importation of honeybee queens and their attendants from the continental U.S. Packaged bees will continue to be prohibited from importation.

This action is being undertaken after CFIA was advised of major shortages of available queens in many provinces during the spring of 2003 and was requested to review Canada's import policies for honeybees. The risk assessment on the importation of U.S. bees also determined that the import of honeybee queens poses a lesser disease risk than packaged bees.

The proposed amendment will not result in the uncontrolled entry of honeybee queens into Canada. The existing provisions of the Health of Animal Regulations require importation to occur with the use of an import permit. The conditions of the import permit will be further developed with industry and other stakeholders

Could you please circulate this to the provincial apiculturists and regional industry associations. If there are comments or concerns at this time, I would ask that they be forwarded to Dr. Samira Belaissaoui, Staff Veterinarian, at belaissaouis@inspection.gc.ca  or by facsimile to (613) 228-6630. I would also remind Canadian Stakeholders that they will have an opportunity to comment on the proposed amendment following its publication in the Canada Gazette I.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Sarah Kahn, BVSc, MSc
Deputy Chief Veterinary Officer and Director
Animal Health and Production Division
Tel: (613) 225-2342, Ext. 4602
Fax: (613) 228-6631
E-mail: kahns@inspection.gc.ca

Looks to me as if they are throwing Alberta a few crumbs now, just before the upcoming BCHPA meeting, before the ABA meeting, and before the CHC meeting.  There is nothing concrete, and will not be for a while now, so I think the ABA members should reject this cynical attempt to buy them off, and pursue total border opening and also still consider withdrawing support from the CHC until we see the actual results of this gambit.  Personally, after what I have seen and heard, I think it is a cynical ruse to undermine the support for total border opening.  It may work, since a lot of people will be sucked in by promises, whether they actually come to pass or not.  We'll see, but I think that the Peace guys need to stick to their guns and hammer CHC until they see a white flag.

Speaking of the ABA convention, I see the office staff still have not put up a proper tentative schedule or the cost of registration, banquet, etc., and the convention is now less than two months away.  This year the convention is at the West Edmonton Mall, and there is a chance of getting a big turnout.  I wonder how people from a distance and others who are undecided are expected to make up their minds and plan. 

I've been after the ABA to do a better job of publicizing and promoting the convention ever since I was first a director, way back in the last century.  Sometimes they do a bit of promotion, but it mostly seems that our light is being hidden under a bushel.  Anyhow, folks, even if the program and cost is a secret, generally, if you are not an Albertan, if you arrive by noon the first day and leave mid-day on the last day, you won't miss anything.  Besides, the best plan is to come in early -- the night before at the latest -- and plan to stay a day or two after to take in the Mall, and maybe visit some new beekeeper acquaintances.

It would be great to get all the US people back up here again.  We used to have a huge turnout from California, but the border closure has killed that.  Maybe the prospect of future opening will get them back up here.


I got to thinking that it is time to write to BEE-L again about the Canada/US border closure, so I looked up historical articles on the topic.  The list below make fascinating reading.  I used 'border closure' as my keys at the BEE-L archive search site.  The first article only has one slight reference to the Canada/US border closure, the rest are more directly on topic.

As you can see, I've always been very moderate, until present, and now I am coming down hard in favour of free access to US bees. In its time, the embargo served its purpose by giving us time to adjust to mites, but now it has outlived its usefulness.  It is being used almost solely to illegitimately to hamper trade.  What do you think?

Ellen and Ruth went to Calgary to see a show of Inuit Art at the Glenbow.  El spent some time in Davis Inlet a few years back (see her website).  I stayed home and played with my computers.  The conversion of the PII went well, and it is pretty well set up and updated.  I am surprised how well it functions, and although it only gets a '148' on PCpitstop (This 1800+ gets '850') the older unit seems just about as fast as this newer machine, for most tasks.

I also sold two of the syrup tanks.  The first was easy, since it was empty, but the second still had some very thick syrup and crusted sugar in it.  Since the starter motor on the Beemer is being repaired, the buyer and I gave up until we get a forklift -- the Swinger is still at Meijers' -- and can lift the tank.  We'll save the syrup, wash the tank for the buyer, and deliver it.

Ellen & Ruth went straight to the mill from Calgary, and I met them there for supper.  We were all celebrating Fen's 54th birthday.  Fen's sister and husband, along with two visitors from China; son Noah and wife, Susan; Ellen, Ruth and I were there as well as Maddy and Lorilee, and Dusty who is staying in their bunkhouse.

Saturday : Clearing in the morning. Wind northwest 20 km/h becoming southeast 20 in the afternoon. High 17.

Monday 15 September 2003
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Hi Allen,

Here are results of re-powering our bee blower. Thanks for the good advice. I am pleased with the results.

Bob had to weld on two little supports, shown.  Otherwise the new 4HP Honda engine bolts right up on old Dadant blowers.  The new engines are much quieter, and twice? as fuel efficient as the B&S or Tecumseh originals.  This is the cheaper Honda.  The more expensive (red) one has problems fitting the blower.  On the red Honda 4HP, the muffler is in the way.


Allen,

A bit more info if you like. http://www.tulsaenginewarehouse.com/catalog/honda/gc/ is where I got my GC160QHA (5HP). I got very good service from these folks, actually talked to real people when I called their 800 number. The QHA1 is remote throttle and the others (P series) are tapered drive shafts. They list the GC130 (4 HP) but it is an order item for them. They sent me a GC160 for the GC130 price of $214US as I had already placed order with payment online and then called about availability. I guess there still are some bargains out there.

I bought my 4HP at Princess Auto.   It has no remote throttle, however, and that would be a nice touch, if mounted on the end of the hose.  Sometimes these engines are on sale for $219 CAD.

Please read back up the page.  I've made some additions.

I see my page fixes worked.  Within moments, here is some more input from the contact page -- now working again after a month of problems.

 From the US Mid-west...

Allen, The Honda conversion looks neat but still tough to beat the Stihl BG-65 blowers. Light weight & very stingy on fuel. We blew out 130 shallows Saturday afternoon & only used 2 tanks of fuel. Real hard to justify using chemicals anymore when 2 people on Saturday can blow out 300 supers in less than 6 hours. Temps started out in the 50's & 60's with no sunshine part of the time. Real hard to get chemical to work with those conditions. What's new up north?

Same old, same old... (hehehe.  I'm retired!)

 

 From a customer who bought some hives (no supers) last December.

Allen;

One last problem to ask your advice with for the season (I hope).

After extracting frames I had read that a good way to clean them is give them back to the bees to clean up. I have done this with some of the frames already. I had a sudden (bad) thought that with most of the honey coming from canola which crystallizes quick, am I not going to have problems giving these back to the bees ? I assume that they will clean out the honey from the extracted frames, take it back to the hives and it will crystallize now in the brood chambers ? Is this the case ?  I have held back on giving many supers with frames back to them to clean up until I know if its going to cause problems.

If I don't give them back to the bees and store them till next year I assume I will now have frames with bits of crystallized honey in them. Will the bees eat the crystallized honey next summer ? Is this the best thing to do ? (store them for next year )?

It doesn't really matter one way or the other.  We usually put them a way sticky and then put them on the hives a bit early the next spring.  The bees clean them up then, and the honey protects the wax from drying out over winter.  We've also had the bees lick them out in the Fall.  Either way is OK.

By the way, this year I used old frames which I cleaned up and the bees had a lot of work to do on them (some were pretty well just foundation) and I added many frames of new foundation so with this in mind I was not expecting a huge crop. The bees worked hard on what I gave them and presented me with about 4 barrels of honey along with all the nice comb for next year, so I think its been a good year. Thanks for all your help in getting me going with this fascinating business of bees.  Thanks again.

You almost recouped your investment the first year.  That's not bad!

Allen's
Links
of the Day

How to install Windows XP in 5 hours or less
   (Thanks, Jim)

Joe Meijer returned our Swinger and stayed for supper.  They will finish extracting at the end of this week, they think.

Today : Cloudy with sunny periods. 30 percent chance of showers. High 9. UV index 1 or low. / Tonight : Showers changing to snow overnight. Amount 10 to 15 mm. Snowfall amount up to 5 cm. Wind becoming northeast 20 km/h this evening. Low zero. / Normals for the period : Low 3. High 17.

Tuesday 16 September 2003
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We have snow on the ground.  It's just a light dusting, but it is a harbinger of what is to come.  The temperature is around freezing..

Dennis spent the day cleaning out a tank, and checked the home hives to see if the bees had left the top boxes.  He got five that were totally abandoned.

I cleaned up some papers.  

From Kristy at Stawns Honey in Vernon, where massive forest fires have been making big news during the summer.  I'd written asking if they had been affected.  From news reports it seemed almost impossible that they would have escaped harm

Hi Allen, I've been reading about your trip... sounds like you had a good time.

The fire in Falkland (cedar hills) was about a 1/2 km from Jim's dad's place and he was one of the first to be evacuated. There were two beekeepers in that area whom we offered to help move bees if needed but luckily it turned out that they were safe. The Kelowna fire has not affected us directly except that we've noticed a lot less honey customers (I'm suspecting because many people avoided coming to the Okanagan altogether, and also because some of our regular customers from Kelowna are staying close to home) The other scary thing is that the fire is directly threatening a lot of the orchards that we pollinate.

The other thing that is happening is a huge influx of bears. We've had bear damage at our home ranch where we haven't seen a bear in all the time our family has owned that land (since 1889) and at two other yards as well. In addition, they spotted a grizzly and two cubs in Lavington which is completely out of character... they just don't have grizzly's there. It's proving to be a bad bad year for bears in the Okanagan.

P.S. Oh yeah.. I meant to mention that we noticed that the bears have only managed to destroy hives that Jim figures weren't going to make it through the Winter anyways... I guess the strong ones stung the crap outta them and they had to retreat!

Today : Snow at times heavy. Amount 15 to 20 cm. Wind northeast 20 km/h. Temperature steady near minus 1. / Tonight : Cloudy. 70 percent chance of flurries. Wind north 20 km/h becoming light near midnight. Temperature steady near minus 1. / Normals for the period : Low 3. High 17.

Wednesday 17 September 2003
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Okay!  Gertie sent me the agenda and pricing for the Alberta Beekeepers Association convention at the Fantasyland Hotel right in the West Edmonton Mall.  Here is the agenda, and here is the registration form (PDF version).

The convention price is a bit higher than it has been some years, but there is a lot more included.  Looks as if some meals come in the deal, and there is plenty of free parking.  And, besides, what the heck, it's Canadian dollars ($0.72 US).  Be sure to get a room reserved now, and be sure to look into their "theme rooms"
 

The Alberta Beekeepers Association 2003 convention will be held at the Fantasyland Hotel at the West Edmonton Mall on November 3, 4, & 5, 2003.

The West Edmonton Mall is the largest mall in the world, and justifiably world famous.

  • The Fantasyland Hotel, the World Waterpark and Galaxyland are all located inside the mall
  • The World Waterpark is giant wavepool in a glass dome and resembles a real beach.
  • Galaxyland is an indoor amusement park, and is home of The Fabulous Mindbender, the World's Largest indoor triple loop rollercoaster.   Galaxyland's Mindbender rollercoaster is 14 stories tall and rated #1 in the world for G-Force.
  • The West Edmonton Mall has more submarines in service than the Canadian Armed Forces, and, oh yes, a pirate ship, a regulation-size ice rink, 102 eating establishments, an Imax theatre (plus the normal assortment of movie screens)... For a Mall tour, click here

Oh, and by the way, the Alberta Beekeepers Association convention program isn't too bad either!

This upcoming convention is an excellent opportunity for a family vacation combined with some business.  Anyone and everyone is welcome.   I recommend arriving Friday night and spending the weekend at the Mall.  Beekeepers typically arrive at least a day early, and I expect there will be a reception on the Sunday before the meeting.  Don't be disappointed.  Make your reservations now.

Edmonton is a city of almost 1,000,000 people, and easily accessible from Canadian and US cities via Edmonton International Airport.


More Edmonton Links:
Edmonton City | Edmonton Transit | Edmonton Journal  | The Edmonton Sun | Info Edmonton Online | University of Alberta | CBC Edmonton | Edmonton Chamber of Commerce | World Trade Centre | Edmonton Space & Science Centre | The Provincial Museum of Alberta | Edmonton Weather | Edmontonplus.ca | Edmonton Art Gallery | Edmonton Guide | Klondike Days 2004 | Edmonton Queen Riverboat | EdmontonTourism | Edmonton Travel Guide

Tonight : Snow. Accumulations near 10 cm. Wind north 20 km/h. Low minus 2. / Wednesday : Cloudy. 60 percent chance of flurries. Wind north 20 km/h. High 6. / Normals for the period : Low 3. High 17.

Thursday 18 September 2003
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Here's a list of my BEE-L posts since June 15th.  If you don't get BEE-L, maybe you should.  Subscribe here.  It's free!

044683 03/06/16 06:49 69   Re: Varroa Control
044692 03/06/17 08:32 48   Re: Eastern Apicultural Society Deadline
044697 03/06/17 16:41 34   Re: honey processing area question
044711 03/06/18 18:33 38   Re: dance language vs. odour
044745 03/06/22 22:25 25   Re: raising queens
044752 03/06/23 06:56 36   Re: Unsuccessful queen rearing
044753 03/06/23 07:32 70   Re: Eastern Apicultural Society Deadline
044766 03/06/23 16:04 51   Re: viral research (was Varroa Thresholds)
044783 03/06/24 12:21 24   Free Swarm Near Boston
044801 03/06/26 05:34 54   Re: [BEE-L] FW: HEALTH HAZARD ALERT (chloramphenic ol) / AVERTISSEMENT DE DANGER POUR LA SANTÉ (chloramphénicol)
044813 03/06/27 09:09 39   Mid US Hotline
044847 03/07/01 00:17 43   Re: What do with contaminated honey
044851 03/07/01 08:12 92   Re: Eastern Apicultural Society Deadline
044856 03/07/01 13:08 32   Re: Mid US Hotline
044910 03/07/07 19:27 71   Re: Eastern Apicultural Society Deadline
044914 03/07/08 18:26 122   how to make the bees use an upper entrance
044940 03/07/10 21:48 25   Re: Hive Body Jig
044948 03/07/11 13:01 65   Re: Hive Body Jig
045299 03/08/12 10:30 41   Re: Poor Spring Foraging
045313 03/08/13 09:57 31   Re: Poor Spring Foraging
045379 03/08/21 08:08 27   Re: BEE-L Wax foundation
045493 03/08/30 06:16 22   Identify Berries?
045495 03/08/30 07:50 37   Paradigm Shift
045513 03/08/31 11:00 26   Tender Comb
045515 03/08/31 11:50 58   Re: Bee Stings LD50
045531 03/09/01 05:58 34   Re: Paradigm Shift
045532 03/08/31 21:02 42   The Last Refuge
045533 03/08/31 21:06 28   Re: Identify Berries?
045535 03/09/01 06:11 48   Re: Bee Stings LD50
045550 03/09/01 13:01 36   Re: Bee Stings LD50
045564 03/09/01 17:03 29   Re: Bee Stings LD50
045592 03/09/03 08:24 49   Ruminations
045593 03/09/03 08:25 55   Re: Identify Berries?
045609 03/09/04 11:59 55   Re: Ruminations
045619 03/09/05 14:55 59   Re: overwintering nucs
045637 03/09/06 13:30 43   Re: overwintering nucs
045644 03/09/07 11:21 60   Custom Mite Management Services
045652 03/09/07 15:49 47   Re: [Bee-L] suicide bee
045663 03/09/08 11:49 70   Re: Apilife Var
045668 03/09/08 16:53 27   Re: Mid US Hotline
045669 03/09/08 17:18 39   Fantasyland
045681 03/09/09 08:48 35   Re: Fantasyland
045682 03/09/09 09:23 32   Re: Fantasyland
045701 03/09/10 15:14 42   Re: Accidental DL Experiment?
045720 03/09/12 06:29 63   Open Feeding
045761 03/09/14 09:16 21   Write a Page in an Encyclopedia
045815 03/09/17 17:03 28   Re: Fantasyland
045817 03/09/17 21:07 50   Re: FGMO-Thymol
045829 03/09/17 23:13 28   The ABA site is still not coming up
045830 03/09/18 07:36 52   Re: Fantasyland

I spent some time on my Bee Sting page, What Everyone Needs to Know About Bee Stings and fixed a few glitches.

In the afternoon, I drove to Red Deer and did some shopping.

Allen's
Links
of the Day

Of interest to stock market traders

Today : Early morning fog patches then a mix of sun and cloud. Wind southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 this afternoon. High 11. / Tonight : A few clouds. Wind southwest 20 km/h this evening. Low 3. / Normals for the period : Low 3. High 16.

Friday 19 September 2003
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Re-opening the Canada/US Border to Bee Imports.

I've been speaking to various people in the bee industry lately, and there seems to be a consensus forming for re-opening the Canada/US border to bee imports. 

Whether to open it 100%, with free traffic in bees both ways, something that would vastly aid Prairie beekeepers, or restrict the opening to just queen bees under protocol -- or something in between -- yet remains to be seen.  What is becoming clear is that the embargo has served its purpose and slowed the spread of tracheal and varroa mites, but that the mites are so widespread in Canada now that the cost of the closure much exceeds any benefits to the industry, on the Prairies, at least.  Moreover, maintaining the closure at this point is a violation of several of our international trade agreements, and it is only a matter of time until it is challenged in courts.  Those challenges could be costly and embarrassing.  No one wants that, so the time has come for dealing.

The BCHPA meeting, coming up in, Kelowna will definitely be the first in a series of venues for the border debate this year, and I encourage everyone with an interest in the matter -- Canadian or American -- to attend.  I don't know if this question s on the program, but it will come up, I am sure.   I hope that parts of the meeting where this matter is discussed will be well and firmly moderated, and that everyone has read Roberts Rules of Order (More links 1  2 ) so that everyone will be permitted to speak, and so that a few individuals or viewpoints will not dominate the agenda.

Too often, at bee meetings, the chairperson does not know or follow the rules, and allows one person or group to dominate.  Too often, beekeepers don't know the rules, and are shouted down or overruled in debates.  When that happens, everyone goes away feeling ripped off.  Knowing and following the rules can make an emotional meeting bearable, and result in a more rational, more just, conclusion.

From what I have seen of the BCHPA, the members are very fair minded people, and open to hearing and considering contrasting points of view.  BC beekeepers and regulators  have been very co-operative and very fair with Alberta beekeepers, sometimes at some cost to their own interests, and I expect that all aspects of this important matter will get careful consideration when it comes up.

After that, the ABA meeting, then the CHC and MBA meetings, and SBA meeting will follow, and hopefully all sides will be heard, and, hopefully, a solution that satisfies each region will emerge.  Personally, I think that we should get CFIA right out of this, and turn the matter over to the provinces and municipalities.  Local governments are very capable of discerning the unique local conditions and politics, and imposing a local solution that satisfies the majority of their constituents without trampling on the minorities.

You may notice that I am not including Eastern meetings in this list of gatherings where border discussion will take place.  I am sure that the question will come up at each provincial meeting across Canada, but, frankly, in my opinion, East is East, and west is West.  Toronto is 350 miles farther away from where I live than Mexico is.  It is 1956 road miles to Toronto via the shortest route -- which happens to be thru the USA -- compared to only 1609 miles to Mexicali.

Swalwell to Mexicali,
Mexico -- 1609 miles
Swalwell to Toronto
(Via the USA) -- 1956 miles
Swalwell to Redding,
 California -- 1140 miles
Note how isolated, and how far south Eastern Canada is, compared to Western Canada, and to Northern California. How can Eastern Canadians have any idea what the problems are in the Northwest?

I mention Mexico only to illustrate how comparatively distant and isolated Eastern Canada is from where we live, when compared to a third country that is separated from us by the entire United States -- and to illustrate how comparatively close California is to us.  

Consider this: 

  1. Sydney, Australia is about 8173 miles from here by air, and NZ is about 7429 miles away.

  2. Package bees from Down Under must be  trucked some considerable distance to an airport in Australia or New Zealand.

  3. Package bees from Down Under must often wait around at an airport before being shipped,

  4. Package bees from Down Under are produced at the tail end of their season.

  5. These Southern Hemisphere suppliers cannot supply late packages, when a long winter or bad spring unexpectedly increases demand

  6. These Southern Hemisphere suppliers have often been unable to meet demand AT ANY PRICE

  7. These Southern Hemisphere suppliers have, more than once, cut off scheduled shipments of confirmed orders, leaving beekeepers with empty hives.

  8. There is always the risk that airlines may suddenly announce a refusal to haul bees at all.

  9. Package bees from Down Under often undergo treatment with CO2 (dry ice) in transit for cooling.

  10. Package bees from Down Under often must also travel an additional 650 miles (12+ hours) or more, by road, from Vancouver airport to reach the final destination

  11. Australia has Small Hive Beetle and does not test exhaustively for varroa (I'm told that periodic sugar shakes are used)

  12. New Zealand has varroa and, on at least one occasion, has shipped heavily infested bees to Canada.

  13. Package bees from Down Under are often inferior on arrival

  14. A researcher counted as much as 30% chalkbrood in the sealed brood area of Australian packages hived at my place a while back.

Then consider this:

  1. Redding, CA, is only 1140 miles from here -- 22 hrs by road -- and is even closer to beekeepers in B.C. and in Southern Alberta.

  2. Good, healthy bees can be had from California.

  3. We know that we can manage mites.  We did not know that when the border was closed as a precaution.

  4. In the past, California bees were shaken, loaded, delivered inexpensively to the beekeeper, and installed into hives within a span of 36 or 48 hours.

  5. Prairie beekeepers often drove down to get their own bees.

  6. The bee health risks that caused the border to be closed are now very similar between Western Canada and California.

What are we doing?  It makes no sense at all to buy bees from NZ or Australia in preference to bees from California, given the current circumstances.  Western Canada -- even after a decade and a half of wintering research, practice, and bee breeding -- depends very heavily on imported package bees and imported queens.  Shortages, due to border closure to US bees, have severely impacted profitability.

Western beekeepers and Western Canadian governments must make their own decisions.  Decisions affecting only Northwestern beekeepers should not be made or controlled by the minority Canadian beekeepers who live south of the 49th and are much farther from us than our natural suppliers in California.

In this matter, in Canada, the West is isolated from the East -- by the Great Lakes, and by many miles of forest -- and that the two regions might as well be different countries.  Virtually all of the beekeeping in Eastern Canada is also south of the 49th parallel, while all of the beekeeping in the West is north of the 49th, so Easterners are simply are not northern enough to understand our problems out here.

They have their problems, and we have ours.  Hopefully, they will have the good grace to mind their own business.

Tuesday February 25, 2014 04:38 PM

Speaking of the MBA, apparently their previous election was struck down due to irregularities.  I visited their site, but could not find the results of their summer elections in any obvious announcement, so I downloaded their newsletter (which is excellent), and that seems to indicate a meeting to be held November 24th.


Dennis and I pulled Elliott's yard this afternoon.  Rain began when we were half done, and settled in for the rest of the day, so we quit when done.  There was not much honey on the 14 hives.  We got 8 boxes, of which some were only partially filled.  I had split heavily last Spring to avoid extracting, and it worked.

Ellen sold some wraps today to a gentleman who came down from Falher.  He will be picking them up on his way home tomorrow or the next day.


I have been puzzled recently, why AHPC has not replied to my objections to some arbitrary charges they put on my account, and to my objections to arbitrary decisions made by the AHPC board which, in my opinion, have oppressed some of the membership.  These concerns were expressed back in June and July and I had not heard back.

In particular, the board made some decisions immediately after the AGM that could have been -- and should have been -- presented to the membership, but were not.  Instead, at the AGM, the membership was presented with the usual snow job, that appears to me to be designed to obscure bad decisions made previously. 

Amazingly, board presentations over the past year have emphasized the poundage of honey sold, and avoid discussion of the vastly increased size of our sales in dollars, and the resulting growth in the size of the business.  The presentations also obscure the fact that AHPC used the availability of honey trusted to them by members to undercut competitors to the point where the return to members is compromised.  More on this later...

Apparently they had written me a letter July 9th.  When told that a letter had been sent July 9th, I checked my fax records carefully.  My fax prints out a sheet of every message going in or out, and I have always considered that a waste of paper, but kept the records anyhow.  Now I am glad I did.  I guess they wrote a letter, but did not actually send it.  When I informed them, they sent me a copy today by fax, and when I read it, I could see that my concerns have not been addressed, and that my instructions have been misunderstood.

At any rate, it looks as if I am going to have to take on the co-op management, and perhaps even organize some action in response to recent mismanagement.  We'll see.  If readers of this page have a gripe with BeeMaid management, please Write me.  In this day of the Internet, it is much easier to get stakeholders together to confront management gone awry.

In my opinion, there is no reason that BeeMaid should lag the competition in payments to beekeepers almost every year.  A well-run co-op should be able to pay market price, PLUS a profit to the members, instead of paying amounts that barely compete and in a less than timely manner. 

To make the payments look competitive, management finds it necessary to even include the maximum colour and moisture bonuses (which not everyone gets) and also include the deductions which are held back by the co-op for their own use.

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