A Beekeeper's Diary

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Spring in North Carolina

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Saturday 20 March 2004
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When a man says he approves of something in principle, it means he hasn't the slightest intention of putting it into practice.
Otto von Bismarck

We spent another day around home. I did a  foray for some cold medicine and shopping, then we went to Little Compton for supper at Margot's.  Katherine and her kids were there as well.  

We had steak for supper.  Wonder if it was Canadian?  

After supper, I cleaned up Billy's computer, and found about 200 various nuisances and threats on the machine.  He had no firewall, but is on dialup, so is not as likely to be used as a zombie, but nonetheless....

Today : Fog dissipating this morning then sunny with cloudy periods. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h this afternoon. High 5. UV index 4 or moderate. / Tonight : Cloudy periods. Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low minus 8. / Normals for the period : Low minus 8. High 4.

Sunday 21 March 2004
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It is impossible to predict the unpredictable.
Don Cherry

We spent the day at home.  Jon & I are recovered pretty much, so we took Katrina to the park for an hour, but Ellen and Sarah are still sick.  I went up to Seekonk for more medicine.

We watched Casablanca in the evening.  Made in 1942, it is still a great film.

Today : Sunny with cloudy periods. High 7. UV index 3 or moderate. /Tonight : Cloudy periods. Low minus 2./ Normals for the period : Low minus 8. High 4.

Monday 22 March 2004
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Have the courage to be ignorant of a great number of things, in order to avoid the calamity of being ignorant of everything.
Sydney Smith

Jon is back at work today, and I'm thinking of going exploring for the day.  The weather has improved a bit.  The snow is almost gone, and the wind has died down.

I drove down to Newport via the old road and came back via Seekonk, where I did a little shopping.  For the most part, the prices here are about the same as in Canada, only, in Canada, they are in Canadian dollars, which are 1/4 cheaper.  The department stores are good, but I have yet to find a food store with good meat and cheese selections and prices.  I miss my favourite Canadian food stores.

Tonight : Cloudy periods. 30 percent chance of rain showers or flurries this evening. Low minus 6. / Monday : Cloudy with sunny periods. High 12. UV index 3 or moderate.
 / Normals for the period : Low minus 8. High 4.

Tuesday 23 March 2004
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The people who are regarded as moral luminaries are those who forego ordinary pleasures themselves and find compensation in interfering with the pleasures of others.
Bertrand Russell

We are all nearly recovered from the colds.  I went for a long walk this morning, then drove up to Seekonk in the afternoon.

I must say that retirement is an interesting experience.  None of the things that used to be fascinating interest me any more.  I'm hoping this is temporary and partly due to the effects of having the cold.

I've been looking back over the previous years diary entries and am finding them quite interesting.  I hope others take the time to look at them as well, since topics tend to be seasonal, and over the past four years, I've covered a lot of ground.  I won't be covering much this year, the way things are going.

Seeing as I have nothing much to write about bees, I'll continue with my BeeMaid chronicles...  So far, I've received little or no feedback on my comments and suggestions, so I hope I'm not wasting my time.

I also realise that there are many things to consider that tend to fall through the cracks.  One is the whole concept of Quota 88 and Quota 88's poor stepdaughter -- which should have been a Cinderella these last few years -- Pool B.

Back around 1988, I think it was, Western Canada had a bumper honey crop, but there was little demand on the open market for honey.  Members flooded the Co-ops with honey and the result, for AHPC, at least, was the creation of  'Quota 88'.

The idea behind Quota 88 was that, each year, BeeMaid would predict in advance how much it required for its packaged honey sales and at the beginning of the crop year, and would set a 'Pool A' quota for that crop year, based on that estimate.  

Members were each assigned a 'Quota Base,' based on past deliveries, and each year, each producer was permitted to ship a percentage of that quota base into Pool A.  Ideally, the percentage would be 100% of quota base, but sometimes when markets were slow the figure went down to 75%. 

If members wished to ship more than that their assigned amount, the additional honey was accepted, but went into 'Pool B', which was surplus to BeeMaid's needs for packaged trade, and was to be paid on the basis of what BeeMaid could get for that pool on the bulk market, but the honey was not actually kept separate and was -- AFAIK -- pooled in the plant.  I suspect that Pool B honey, if unsold was held over and used for Pool A purposes.  This would have resulted in a lower Pool A intake the next year, and a lower cost base for packed honey, as well.  (I really am no expert on any of this and never intended to be).

A producer's Quota Base increased or decreased over time according to a formula if a producer shipped more or less than his Pool A allowance.  Additionally, a producer wishing to ship more to Pool A could also buy Quota Base from other beekeepers who were retiring, or who did not need it for some other reason, in order to be able to ship more into Pool A.  The price differential between Pools A & B at that time was as high as 10, so it paid to buy quota.

We paid 6 a pound for Quota Base when we joined the Co-op, and as we expanded.  That was years ago, before Quota Base became valueless, due to 1.) creation of additional quota by management, 2.) BeeMaid's inability in recent years to maintain profitability and member confidence, and 3.) the fact that the bulk market started to pay better than BeeMaid's packaged sales.

This situation reversed over the last decade and a half, as brand name products lost popularity and as concentration in grocery markets put pressure on private brands.  Moreover, globalization took hold, opening new markets for Canadian producers and, at the same time, opening the North American market to foreign suppliers.  For the Co-ops, the differential in favour of the bulk market price became particularly acute after BeeMaid -- having no locked-in cost of sales due to lack of bulk honey pricing at time of delivery and underestimating the amount of the coming increase -- pushed a lot of honey into the Canadian retail market at sacrifice prices during the recent price rise, at the very time that US packers began to pay premium prices for Canadian bulk white honey.  This was a speculation that backfired doubly.  Not only did BeeMaid gamble to try to buy present and future Canadian market share, but that market share became a money loser.

At the time Quota 88 was implemented, BeeMaid got better prices for honey packaged and sold domestically, and Pool B honey was paid at a lower rate -- around 90% -- compared to Pool A, but, as BeeMaid's packaged sales fell in profitability and as the profitability of bulk sales increased, the Pool B return soon was made equal to Pool AHowever, AFAIK, Pool B has never paid more than Pool A, although, it seems obvious that it should have.  Particularly, since the bulk market was paying up to $2.75 CAD last year, the bulk pool should have paid most handsomely.  It did not.  IMO, members would have shipped much more honey to the Co-op if they had believed that management would return the bonus made on Pool B to Pool B shippers, rather than use it to make up the shortfall in Pool A returns.

It seems to me, and to others, that the basic Quota 88 ideas are good and could have worked if they had not been subject to constant tampering and short-sighted, ad hoc decisions.   The new membership contract requirements -- brought in to force beekeepers to deliver 100% to the Co-op --  are slowly killing AHPC.   Quota 88 worked, but is no longer available to new members or those inheriting a membership.  While many beekeepers like the idea of shipping some honey to the Co-op, depending on BeeMaid's performance, smart ones are not likely to want to sign up to have to ship 100% of their crop to any one customer.  As a result of the contract, the talent goes elsewhere and the Co-op gets the dregs.

A few more thoughts...

As it appears, from my perspective, co-op policy is made and applied on an ad hoc and personality basis and without a good long-term strategy or full consideration of the effects of actions.  Both management and boards increasingly are lacking the kind of talent required to win in today's markets, and what talent there has been is being stifled or driven out by the culture.  (IMO, Derrick is an exception to the above, and I have no idea why he stays on.  With his talents and ethic, I'm sure he could get a much better job anywhere).

It is hard to force people to work against their own best interests, and even the contact members -- those who have promised 100% to the Co-op -- have found ways to ship elsewhere in recent years.  Significantly, a number of former board members no longer ship more than the minimum to AHPC.

Many of BeeMaid's practices and ideas are outmoded.  The assumption under Quota 88 was that BeeMaid would always get a higher price for the honey it packed and sold as packaged honey than what it sold as bulk, and this turned out to be true in early years, but, since the members are required to ship in BeeMaid drums, any honey sold bulk had to be repacked into export drums unless BeeMaid sold the drum with the honey.  This created a logistical problem and added expense.  Moreover, if the drums were sold, then they were in the wild and hard to account for.  I know I picked up twenty or thirty from various sources over the years and added them to my reported drum inventory.

Since, for bulk sales, honey had to be melted and repacked into other drums for sale, the resulting 5 to 10 per pound cost made BeeMaid uncompetitive on the bulk market.  

BeeMaid has not been able to adapt the new realities in recent years since they have a philosophical problem selling bulk honey and are stuck on packaged product.  They believed (believe) that they should own the whole market and hate to sell honey to other packers.

To be continued...

Wednesday 24 March 2004
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Now is the time for all good men to come to.
Walt Kelly

I took a walk around the lake and then Ellen & I went to the local art gallery -- The RISD Museum.  It turned out to be a good one, and I had a chance to examine a wide range of work, including Monets, Manets, A Picasso, etc., etc.

We ordered in pizza for supper.  Margo came by for a while.

Today : Sunny with cloudy periods. Wind southwest 20 km/h. High 12. UV index 3 or moderate. / Tonight : A few clouds. Wind west 20 km/h increasing to 30 gusting to 50 this evening. Low zero. / Normals for the period : Low minus 8. High 5.

Thursday 25 March 2004
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Science has proof without any certainty. Creationists have certainty without any proof.
Ashley Montague

I got the job of babysitter while Ellen and Sarah took Kal to the doctor for a check-up.  I took the time to edit and improve (I hope) on the Co-op article (above).  It's a lot of work, and there is still a long ways to go.  I did get some comments, though.

In the afternoon, I went grocery shopping again, in Barrington, this time.  I spent a while at the park as well, but the day turned rainy and cool. As I observed before, I'm finding writing about the Co-ops very depressing.   That is one reason that I have not done it sooner and why I am not finishing more quickly.  I find it truly sad that so much potential is going to waste.  Not only is BeeMaid failing Co-op members, but it is damaging the entire Canadian honey industry -- IMO, anyhow.

I read your co-op article and found it interesting to hear another side of the story. Just because you get no feedback does not mean no-one is interested

Lately I have been annoyed with the misguided tactics of the BeeMaid CEO and some of their directors.  BeeMaid has spent a lot of time and effort trying to shaft their competition.  They have made complaints to the CFIA, been outspoken with their criticism, and refused to meet with the representatives of a new company that has emerged on the Canadian scene. 

The result of their campaign has been a CFIA initiated series of recalls on some Argentine honey and a lot of bad blood between packers. While this may seem like BeeMaid is taking the high road and supporting our industry, it could very easily backfire. When it comes to recalls, consumers do not hear the word import.  They only hear that honey has been recalled.  Loss of honey sales and less competition will in the end hurt the whole industry. 

There is no point going head to head with companies that have highly competitive business strategies.  Canadian producers have to be innovative, forward thinking and develop retail market for Canadian honey.  It is a good bet that most Co-op members would prefer to see more effort put into gaining the niche market for 100% Canadian honey and establishing some brand loyalty.


Enjoying your column about the Co-op.  I can't imagine it still exists.  It must be simply due to the fact enough people ship their crop there, dreaming of receiving there 30 and 40 year pins to proudly proclaim their ability to consistently weather huge financial losses for the chance to ship to the Co-op.

The Co-op has not been this bad until recently.  There have been times when it did well.

The bees are really consuming the patties, on the second round with them now.  The willows are starting to open up, should be flowing with a few days of warm weather. 

I hope this is a good year, so far the losses are at 7%.  I had one yard I split late last summer, it had very bad loss (40 %). So far I am unsure why so high, the feed, medication was the same as the rest.  A brief inspection into some boxes appears that the hives died early.  Possibly the queens failed or were not accepted? 

Late splits -- after July 15th or so -- are risky.  One year they work, the next they are a disaster.  We had one year when we had very good success, and that caused us to do them again on a larger scale.  That resulted in 50% losses in those yards.  We decided, "Never Again!"

Today : Sunny. Becoming cloudy late this afternoon. Wind west 20 km/h becoming south 20 this afternoon. High 10. UV index 3 or moderate. / Tonight : Cloudy. 60 percent chance of rain showers or flurries overnight. Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming light overnight. Low 1. / Normals for the period : Low minus 8. High 5.

Friday 26 March 2004
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Today : Cloudy. 30 percent chance of flurries this morning with the risk of freezing rain. High 9. / Tonight : Clearing this evening. Wind southwest 20 km/h. Low minus 1. / Tuesday : Sunny. Low 5. High 18. / Normals for the period : Low minus 6. High 6

Saturday 27 March 2004
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I took these photographs today, just a few minutes ago of bees on our Japanese cherry tree in 95% bloom.  One photo is of a nectar gatherer the other lady is collecting pollen as well.  Above, the sounds of hundreds of honey bees can be heard as they fly from blossom to blossom.  The sounds blend together to produce a humming so very pleasant and peaceful to the ear which is intermittently interrupted by the deeper buzz of a bumblebee or two.  Such is a very small part of the beauty of Spring here in North Carolina.  

An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things he predicted yesterday didn't happen today.
Laurence J. Peter

It was surprising to learn in your Diary of the apples blooming already in Vancouver. They will not bloom here until another 10 days or so. Yes, beekeeping is local, so is Spring!.   I always look forward to Spring, yet there is, along with it, the message that you must be prepared for the year ahead.  The seasons are short, the honey flows are even shorter. 

As beekeepers we must be ready to face all that is thrown at us in order to assure ourselves of a honey crop and the well being of our wonderful honeybees. 

Happy Spring Allen and Ellen! Happy Spring!

spring.jpg (83032 bytes) spring1.jpg (82588 bytes)

Always with warmest regards,


Today : Sunny with cloudy periods. Wind becoming west 20 km/h this morning. High 11. UV index 3 or moderate. / Tonight : Clear. Wind west 30 km/h becoming light overnight. Low minus 1. / Normals for the period : Low minus 6. High 6.

Sunday 28 March 2004
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On account of being a democracy and run by the people, we are the only nation in the world that has to keep a government four years, no matter what it does.
Will Rogers

Our flight was scheduled for 3:43, but Jon, Ellen & I left early for the airport.  Our plan was to do a tour of Boston before going to Logan.  I have seen most of the sights, but this was a good way to put it all together and for the others to see the city without driving.  We parked under the common and caught the Old Town Trolley for a two-hour tour of the city, figuring we had an three hours to spare before the flight.

We had noticed signs advertising a Greek Heritage parade, and that streets were being closed down for the afternoon, but figured we would be finished in plenty of time.  We finished our tour, had lunch, then noticed a marching band coming down the street.  We hurried, and got back to the car just in time to scoot out of the parkade before the parade could seal us off from access to the streets.

We boarded our plane, then were told we were to wait an hour before take-off, since Chicago was experiencing a storm.  We finally did taxi out and take off, but then we were stacked up over Minnesota for a while until Chicago let us in.  We had another wait at our gate until we finally were able to fly the last leg, arriving about two hours later than planned.  Mike was waiting for us and we were home around midnight.  The cats were glad to see us.

Sunday : Sunny. High 14.

Monday 29 March 2004
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All human beings should try to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.
James Thurber

We're back again.  It is nice to be in Alberta.  It is also a big change from the dull weather we hit in New England. 

I got a huge pile of mail and started reading.  In the stack was the Saskatchewan magazine, with a note attached saying my membership has expired.  At any rate, I was pleased to note an article encouraging discussion from all perspectives.  Of course there was also a long article about border closure and how much better off we would all be if we could just somehow, magically, be self-sufficient and not have to deal with any new problems.

Of course. Who can argue with that sentiment?  The only problem with such approaches is that we have tried them and managed to prove only that, while a few manage to be self-sufficient and thrive, and soem can take advantage, that the industry and society as a whole do badly.  Backwaters seldom prosper. 

On the other hand, trading centres are usually populated by people who are sufficiently well off -- and have the leisure time -- to dream about the "Good Old Days".  Contrary the fuzzy ideas that some try to foist on us, we all benefit from increased trade.  Any gradeschool kid knows that from sitting in history class.

Of course we can all think of some horror stories associated with trade, but, with few exceptions, trade raises everyone's standard of living.  Even though there are risks and costs associated with trade, such as risks of new diseases, the benefits far outweigh the risks and the costs.

Although (living as we are in the luxury brought to us by worldwide trade dreaming of self sufficiency) when we actually see trade cut back -- even a little -- we see how drastic the damage can be.  When trade is disrupted and we suddenly have to 'make do' without suppliers and/or markets, we suffer. 

Mad cow, and the loss of the US cattle market is a graphic example.  The damage to the Western Canadian bee industry was just as serious, in its way.  Unfortunately the effects were concealed by bad reporting and inaccurate stats.  The truth is only now becoming clear.

I also noticed an announcement of the new structure of BeeMaid and the Co-ops, dating from last Fall.  I have to confess that I skipped the last annual meeting, having entirely given up all hope that these organizations would ever get their act together.  I guess I'll have to study it and see if there is any glimmer of hope in the announcement. I just glanced at it, being in a hurry.  I had been aware that there has been talk of converting AHPC to a new type of Co-op.

The temperature got up to 20C today.  That is about 70 in F.  We still have a few drifts sitting around that have not melted, and there is ice on the pond.  My guess is that the pond will not fill this year.

Don't you wish there were a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence? There's one marked 'Brightness,' but it doesn't work. Gallagher

The cattle are all OK -- no more losses, and they are are on full feed.  I drove by to take a look and they are starting to fill out, but are not as heavy as I somehow expected.  Prices have been decent lately, but what they will be in June and July is anyone's guess.  Our spring is, by my guess, about two weeks late this year.

I called Meijers, and they are in the middle of picking up their Mexican help and getting ready for the package bees that arrive tomorrow.

This came in a few days ago from a regular correspondent in the Mid-West US.

Morning Allen.

Been in the 70's all of this week here & the bees are hauling 4 or 5 different colors of pollen. Saw a dandelion in front of the building at work last week. And found quite a few all bloomed out yesterday in the middle of the street near church. I don't recall spring ever being quite this early.

I remember 7 or 8 years ago we had to move about 40 plus hives out of a farm place that was to be re-inhabited.  Temps were in the upper 70's for 2 weeks or better.  A lot of the equipment was in poor shape at best.  We moved every thing on to a wide open CRP field. 2 days later we had 18++ inches of snow & 50 MPH winds. I think we lost all but 2 of the hives.  Snow was packed in the hives so tight from the wind the bees never had a chance.

I really hate to see spring start this early. All the water & mud we had a month ago has all most dried up with all the wind we have had. In my 25 years of this fun it always seems like that when the bees get a 10 day early start in March of good fresh pollen, we tend to have a lot of swarming problems in late May. 

Seems to be a lot of news print in the past week or so with regard to the lack of bees for almonds, & now in Florida, for other Fruits & Veggies. 

I heard tales of some small packers looking for small lots of " GOOD " white honey for packing.  Many have a real strong customer base & the price increase for a good quality product has not hurt them at all. 

I took a peek in a hive or two here in town.  Too many bees for this time of the year.  I guess I shouldn't complain as I would rather have this problem as opposed to a an empty box bees.


Today : Sunny. Wind becoming south 20 km/h this afternoon. High 19. UV index 4 or moderate. / Tonight : Clear. Wind southwest 20 km/h. Low 3. / Normals for the period : Low minus 5. High 7.

People will buy anything that is one to a customer.
Sinclair Lewis

Tuesday 30 March 2004
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Well, I went to bed early last night, and I'm up early.   I'm still running on Eastern time.  Normally the weather report is not ready until 5AM, but it is now only 4:48, and the 5 AM report is already up.  That is unusual.  We're expecting temps of +23C. today!

Here's a note from a beekeeper a few hours northeast who started a few years back by buying 100 hives from us.  It came a few days ago, and I replied privately, but the email address bounces...  As usual, my comments are in italics.

Hi allen and ellen

At 18 our convictions are hills from which we look; At 45 they are caves in which we hide.
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Yes, we are still going up here.  Had a good year last year about the same honey production as the first maybe a little less because of the canola flowers falling off because of the drought, but still very good

Glad to hear you've had two good years in a row. The prices are good, too.

We did some splits because they were so strong in the spring but couldn't get any queens, so just let them make their own.  Some worked out ok, some not.  Of course the weather always turned cold every time we tried

We've done it that way, and sometimes it works very well. Other times it doesn't.  Mostly it does.  Some beekeepers have concerns that the queens raised this way -- emergency cells -- may come from larvae that are too old, since the bees build cells over larvae that are already anywhere from one to three days old.  I have always questioned that belief, and have never seen a study that proves them right.   Nonetheless, getting good queens with this method depends on splitting well-fed hives with lots of young bees during a flow.  As long as the weather leading up to and during the first few days after the split is good, the weather after the cells are fed and sealed is less important --until it is time for the queens to mate.

Hope we get our queens this year.  Ordered in November, but not early enough, and am only on the waiting list

There is always a shortage, and the big beekeepers are careful to order early.  I always had a problem hitting the window for ordering.  One day I was told I was too early, but the next time I asked, I was too late.  I was often on the waiting list.

Ordered some Russian queens, but can't get them until July.  But will be nice to try some local queens  Maybe have to requeen in the summer or fall, but what about the spring splits?

That's the problem. Summer queens are easy to find.   For those who find it works with their system summer queens are OK, but for those building up or different systems, spring queens are crucial.

Maybe USA will open up -- bees and cattle -- everything goes around

I hope so. US packages would be nice, too.  Then the industry could get back on its feet.

I have been reading your dairies spend a couple hours daily on them so much to learn so many different ideas

A lawyer starts life giving $500 worth of law for $5 and ends giving $5 worth for $500.
Benjamin H. Brewster

Have been thinking about opening up and checking feeding med, but all of our sites are still under 2 or 3 ft of snow.  But this week temps were up to 5 and 10C and lots of activity at the hives, so hauled in a couple of feeder pails into most sites.  One is a mile walk so didn't get to it!!   But (I got to) the others by days end.  Some bees found it and lots by next day.  Of course today is snowy cold & windy so maybe too early.  They were feed med very well last fall.  Hope they are OK.  We opened and started meds pollen feed last year April 8th so will try around that time again

If you can't get in, that is all you can do. They should be OK. The best approach is to make sure that they are heavy in Fall, which you did. 

I always figure the first visit at this time of year is mostly for fun, and to appraise the losses, and need for future action, on the chance that something happened.

I hope you all are over your colds next time try making a tea out of raspberry jam 2 tbsp per cup when you first feel a cold or sore throat coming on .

The colds are about gone, but they had us pretty sick for a while.

Well, took up enough of your time.  Just wanted to say thanks for all the information from your site.  Have a great day.

Thanks for writing, and I'm glad the site is worthwhile for you. I have fun doing it and hope that others get some good ideas.


Morning Allen:

Opened yesterdays mail after work last nite & found another check for queens returned.  The producer is from east Texas & it is the 1st time I ordered from him.  He had a ad in the Bee Journal & is a neighbor in Texas to one of our neighbors here in Nebraska.  He has good stuff I am told.  He cited lack of drones & very poor weather.

I think I would always rather have a check returned & no queens as have a producer ship me poor queens.  Talked to the guys in Texas yesterday & temps are still below normal.  Some have went back & put pollen patties on everything as they are so slow.  Another told me that his 1st round of cells were a 80% flop due to the weather.  Another had much the same story. 

Some bees that came back from almonds were in real good shape & others were tough shape due to lack of feed. 

I have no idea how anyone in the States could gear up to ship queens north of the border yet this year.

Makes no sense, no sense at all, Allen.


Chatting with a friend...

Him: So, the pollen supplement (don't recall the name) is disappearing at an amazing rate. Blowing away my patties.

Me: Really?

Him: Can't speak for anything but consumption, as I haven't pulled any frames. But the cakes are way huger than anything I gave the bees, and they're mostly gone whereas the patties I made are being slowly consumed.

Me: That is strange. You used what formula?

Him: Unless I've got my notes wrong.

Him: I didn't have my recorder when I put them on, so I'm not positive. I could be mistaken.

Him: My recipe is 2 parts pollen, 1 part bee pro and enough syrup (sugar or HFCS, whatever is on hand) to make it "runny".

Me: Shoulda been a clear winner

Me: Global is the name. Care to be a testimonial?

Him: Yup. I'll have to check my hives again.

Me: www.globalpatties.com

Him: No testimony yet, I wanna make sure. P'raps I have my yards mixed up.

Me: Maybe

Him: I only had 3 Globals. Put them mainly because I felt I should use them (gift from *** and all).  Had some of my own with me, but put the globals on instead.  Didn't pay a whole lot of attention as I was sure of the results before I did the experiment.

Me: Scientific, for sure 

Him: Now I'm regretting my inattention, as it seems they disappeared! Woulda, coulda, shoulda paid more attention.  And unfortunately, supplemental feeding time is coming to an end as the soft maples are starting to bud (New York state). Bees are bringing in their own.

Me: Bees eat Globals year around.  A friend who was looking at huge losses last year fed Globals last fall and reports 10% loss so far this spring.

Him: As I was looking at things, I was thinking, "If this is true I'll throw away my pollen traps!"

Me: Of course he is ecstatic

Me: Well. We're still studying this. Medhat has a plan...

Him: Was also wondering what are the results as far as consumed patties equaling more bees. Are they turning the Globals into more bees or are they just eating it and crapping it out? Are they eating it at all? Perhaps they're just removing it (I doubt that).

Him: I'm definitely intrigued and wish I had paid much closer attention.

Me: Dunno. You'd think a high pollen patty would be better than soy and yeast?

Me: That's why we are doing a study. We're a bit late this year, so they are going to do it with package bees.

Him: Yes, I would. I'm wondering if the consumption might be empty calories (the equivalent of beer and potato chips, not that I eat beer and potato chips).

Me: We all wonder that.  The yeast and soy are high quality protein, though, and stored pollen is not always particularly good, especially after drying and more than short-term storage.

Me: Nonetheless, Frank & Mike made 170,000 patties this year and the orders just keep coming. I think that this fall will be just as big.

Him: Well, I imagine I could do some side by side with packages (I have 20 on order), but I'm intrigued enough to look a lot more closely next year.

Today : Sunny. Wind southwest 20 km/h. High 23. UV index 4 or moderate. / Tonight : Increasing cloudiness. 30 percent chance of showers overnight. Wind southwest 20 km/h becoming light overnight. Low 2. / Normals for the period : Low minus 5. High 7.

Historians are like deaf people who go on answering questions that no one has asked them.
Leo Tolstoy

Wednesday 31 March 2004
I'm retired now, and days or weeks may pass between beekeeping articles  I recommend visiting pages from previous years.

One Year ago | Two years ago | Three Years ago | Four Years ago | Forum | Sale | Home | Write me

Today : A few showers beginning early this morning. Clearing this afternoon. Wind north 20 km/h. High 8. / Tonight : Cloudy periods. Low minus 3. / Normals for the period : Low minus 5. High 8.

Another day at my desk.  Purves-Smiths and Bert came for supper

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