A Beekeeper's Diary

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In these matters the only certainty is that nothing is certain.
-- Pliny the Elder --

This photo was taken on April 7, 2004 at a queen grafting yard in Georgia belonging to a well known package and queen operation; its nice to see such a large clean yard amongst the Georgia pines on a spring day!
Chuck Norton photo

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I've known what it is to be hungry, but I always went right to a restaurant.-- Ring Lardner

Tuesday 20 April 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002 
2001  2000

Time for a new page.  The Previous Page was getting pretty big.

Another beautiful day.  I'm planning to get outside and do the feeding, but also finish getting the books ready for the accountant.  hopefully, after this year, things will be simpler.

First thing, I updated the Global Patties site.  Frank is hoping to sell some patties for Fall feeding, so I made up a page about that.  I fed some in Fall, and noticed that brood rearing went on a bit longer in the hives I fed, but I did not follow through to check on differences in the Spring.   Global ships all over North America, now, with happy customers everywhere, so he is also looking towards the almond pollinator market, too.

It does seem obvious, though that protein feeding in Fall could be a big help in areas where there is little pollen, or only a few kinds, or in big wintering yards.  For pollination, particularly, yards of 40 to 70 are common, and some hives are subject to drifting of foragers or lose out to strong competition from others.  I used to run 20 to a yard and figured that they did better when I ran less, so I think feeding should help big yards stay more even.

I managed to go through pretty well the whole file cabinet and threw out a lot of old material and got everything filed.  That should make the rest of my work a bit easier.


Allen's
Links
of the Day

Here's my letter to CFIA regarding the long overdue proposal to permit importation of mainland queens, and here's a form letter in your choice of PDF (better for printing) or html which you can use if you are not inspired or confident in your writing skills. 


Today : Cloudy with sunny periods. 30 percent chance of showers this afternoon. High 12. UV index 4 or moderate.
Tonight : Cloudy. 30 percent chance of rain showers changing to flurries overnight. Low zero. / Normals for the period : Low minus 1. High 12.


Traditions are group efforts to keep the unexpected from happening. --Barbara Tober 

Wednesday 21 April 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002 
2001  2000

Work on the Force 10 site is pretty well complete now.  

I also did a bit more filing and continued the cleanup.  I have a lot of electronic stuff related to Ham Radio and sound systems I've had in the past that I've accumulated and some broken appliances that have piled up over the years.  What to do with all this stuff?  Landfill?  Repair?  Giveaway?  I hate to throw all this away.  Some items only have minor problems, some are even operational, but we have no need for them if we do get them repaired.  They are obsolete.  I doubt that we could give them away, and they are not getting any more useful or valuable, so, I guess landfill is the answer.  There is a lot of good metal in these items, but separating it and getting it to the recyclers would be a daunting task.  As i contemplate it, I think of how much dirt they have to dig up and process to make an ounce or two of iron.  It amounts to tons.  I have a lot of old ham stuff in the attic, too.  What to do with that?  Some may be old enough to appeal to collectors, but the rest is scrap.  Anyhow, I have to do something with it, so i think I'll back up the truck.

As I ponder my dilemma, I hear on the radio that the provincial government is planning to implement a tax on items like TVs and computers that are contributing large volumes to the landfills and also hard to dispose of properly or recycle due to the fact that they contain dangerous metals like cadmium.

Dennis came by late in the evening and returned some tools he borrowed last winter.

Today : A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers this afternoon. High 14. UV index 5 or moderate. / Tonight : Cloudy periods. 30 percent chance of showers this evening. Clearing overnight. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h overnight. Low 2. / Normals for the period : Low minus 1. High 13.


It's a rare person who wants to hear what he doesn't want to hear. -- Dick Cavett

Thursday 22 April 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002 
2001  2000

I got a call first thing this morning asking if I knew the details about a chloramphenicol find in 'organic' honey in Red Deer.  I chased it down, and here is the tale.

The seller in question is a small-time operator who buys honey where he can, repackages it and sells it a the Farmers Market.  I am told that he calls all that honey he sells, "organic", but it is not certified organic or properly labeled for public sale.  Apparently he bought the honey in question from a registered packer locally, and it was just two buckets which he subsequently repacked and sold at the market.  CFIA sampled it and found chloramphenicol.

This batch was related to the find in buckwheat honey sold by an outfit in B.C.  These were two buckets from that lot.  What happened was that the packer had bought some honey in unmarked drums from a packer or importer down East back in the late '98.  Shortly thereafter, he had been packing industrial honey from that lot when he discovered that the batch was turning darker than expected.  On examination, he discovered that the honey in three of the drums had buckwheat flavour, so he set them aside.  Years later, when a customer asked for buckwheat, he packed this honey for them, and the rest is history.  Apparently the honey had originally come from China.

The question of chloramphenicol has been coming up lately on BEE-L and the discussion has brought out some good information from those who know a bit about it, but not until a few had expressed their ignorance.  Comments like, "The only records one could expect to find in China in regard to this activity would be criminal records." and "It is hard to imagine a beekeeper in the US or Canada gaining access to Chloramphenicol without the use of safe-cracking tools." and "I always wondered why Chinese honey had its distinctive 'flavor profile' (translation: utterly unpalatable unless blended with honey from elsewhere)and now I think we can all understand exactly where the flavor comes from." were made, and, although others did correct the hyperbole and speculation, this kind of stupidity makes BEE-L an environment that I -- and apparently many others -- find embarrassing and increasingly avoid.

What is chloramphenicol?  I'm told that it is chloromycetin, a drug that was used quite a bit in Canada in the past and has been restricted for human use here mainly due to the fact that it is associated with aplastic anemia and is considered a bit hazardous (profile).  Apparently it is still available from vets, and for humans is used when  needed, to treat pneumonia, typhoid, parasites, eye and prostate.

What exactly caused chloramphenicol to show up in some Chinese honey is still not widely known.  Whatever the reason is, the presence of tiny amounts of the drug is no reason to make insulting comments about all Chinese honey.  China produces lots of very good honey, but, just as with other countries, some is not very attractive.  Besides, China is not the only country with drug residue problems. If the truth be known, the U.S.A. and Canada may be as bad or worse, if we are talking about fractions of parts per billion -- and we increasingly are. 

And, further, I'd personally be very careful what I said about China, particularly if I lived in the USA.  After all, China pretty well owns the US (more).  I doubt the rest of us are a whole lot better off.  We have all gotten very dependant on China.  It is, in some ways, fortunate for us that they are (mostly) nice to us and continue to send us toasters, TVs, cell phones, yes, and honey, and keep taking our increasingly worthless IOUs.  In other ways, it may not be so fortunate for us that we lack the discipline to say, "enough", when they siphon away our jobs and technology and control our currencies.


I sold the last forklift and its trailer recently and have been in touch with the buyer.  Some of our correspondence regarding trailers might be useful to others.

> The trailer came out the ball and hit the ground when we moved bees this morning. Good thing is that the forklift stayed ok in the trailer since we drove slowly.

There is a lot of weight on the tongue, so chances of the trailer coming off on a highway are not great, nonetheless, it sounds as if the coupler was not correctly closed and pinned (That's what the D-shaped pin is for) or you have the *wrong size* of ball. The ball MUST be 2-5/16" HIGH PROFILE and rated for over 6,000 lbs. Some stores sell low-rated or low profile balls, but they must be avoided, since low profile balls do not hold the coupler up high enough to allow a full range of motion when traveling over rough ground, and can bind.  The result of the binding can be amazing leverage that will bend or break the hitch.  The trailer and FL weigh about 6,000 lbs total.

Those bulldog couplers are very strong and, if they are properly closed on a reasonably new (not worn) ball of the correct size, in good condition, will *never* let go. I've seen a trailer flip the truck that was pulling it completely over when a trailer wheel hit the ditch. When the dust settled, the truck and trailer were still connected -- and both were upside down.

> The emergency brake in trailer did not work.

As discussed, that needs checking and the battery may need charging. It was fully charged when it left here, but may have discharged if the pin was pulled for any length of time.  Once the pin is pulled, the battery puts its full energy into applying the brakes.  It is only designed to last a few minutes before the charge is gone.  In a real emergency, that is enough time to stop the trailer.

> The other problem I had is both lights of trailer flash when truck make either
> left or right turn.

Sounds as if the wiring is not the same on the truck and trailer. One must have a different pin assignment from the other.  That is not unusual.  Although there is a standard wiring scheme, and it is now marked on the connectors, this was not always so.  Moreover, it is very easy to make mistakes when wiring these connectors.  They can be confusing, and sometimes wires are not well-marked.  Any time a trailer is attached to a vehicle that has not pulled it before, be prepared to do some rewiring -- unless you are lucky.

Keeping trailer brakes and lights working is a never-ending task.  The connectors can take a beating in service, and suffer from dirt, wear and corrosion.  The lights and brakes need to be checked every time the trailer is attached.  To check the brakes, just pull the activation pin out of the brake switch (the pin on the end of the leash) and listen.  There should be a fairly loud click at each wheel as the brakes go on.  The pin should be replaced immediately to conserve battery.  Some vehicles are wired to charge the trailer brake battery while it is connected to the truck, but some are not.  I believe that this trailer is not wired to charge that way, and needs to be checked and charged from time to time.


Today : Sunny with cloudy periods. Wind northwest 20 km/h. High 14. UV index 5 or moderate. / Tonight : A few clouds. Low 2. / Normals for the period : Low minus 1. High 13.


There are no wise few. Every aristocracy that has ever existed has behaved, in all essential points, exactly like a small mob.
G. K. Chesterton

Friday 23 April 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001 
2000

Well, I got it done!  This morning, I took the books to the accountant, and paid some tax ...and before that, I went to the dentist and got my teeth cleaned and checked.  I had expected that there would be some drilling and filling, but everything was fine.  Who'd have guessed that 25 years ago, my teeth were giving me so much trouble that I thought I'd be having hem pulled?   A few crowns and a few fillings, and age fixed that, and I've had little trouble since.  Modern dentistry is wonderful.

The accountant was glad to see me.  He enjoys an easy job among the shoeboxes that come through his door. My books are always well organized, fully categorized, and fully documented, so after twenty minutes of looking things over, he pretty well had the personal returns done before I left the office.  He is organized this year and, although it is April and coming up to the deadline, he is on top of things.   The corporate returns are not due for a while, but he seems to think they will be easy, too. 

For me this stuff is not easy.  I'm the sort who can complicate the simplest matter to the point where it becomes impossible.  Knowing that, over the years, I developed bee management systems that automatically took into consideration all the factors, and automatically made the compromises -- and also made sure that everything got equal attention.  Many beekeepers are like me and, since they can always see more work in the nearby yards as they drive out from home, they tend to work on the ten yards closest to home and never get to the farther ones. 

Knowing this about myself, I hire a professional who is intimately acquainted with the details of his craft, and can do the job properly in a few moments when given the raw materials.  If I did it myself, I'd never believe I got it right, no matter how long I spent.  He probably will not get it 100% right, either, but any mistakes he makes should be immaterial.

When I'm confronted by government forms, I always wonder.  I think back to school and recall that the average mark was about 75%, and think that the same people are filling out these forms.  I know that in beekeeping, anything less than 100% can result in a 0, if the error happens to be a critical one.  In school, all the questions had equal ranking in the sense that failing one would not zero out all the others.  I suppose it is the same in taxes and such, but I really wonder how many of us are paying too much and how many are paying too little, just because we are mathematically incompetent or don't understand a basic concept..

Anyhow, I got it done, and I am now free.  All I have to do is finish cleaning up the yard -- sometime -- and keep the bills paid.  I have to keep an eye on the cattle and buy and sell, and also manage other business, but none of that is pressing.  Next week, I'm planning to go to the West Coast and visit some beekeepers and my brother, and some friends, and write an article, and do some blue water sailing in a 30 to 40 foot boat.  So far, I have not made definite plans, but after the party we are holding tomorrow, I am totally free.  I've had glimpses of retirement, and last summer we did take a few months to travel, but then things got busy again.  So busy, in fact that I only got out snowboarding once.  (The mountains are still open and the conditions are excellent, but so is the sailing).  I imagine they'll get busy again, but for now, the pressure is off.


Allen's
Links
of the Day

Honey & Food Safety, Tim Townsend - March 2004

More on Honey & Food Safety, Tim Townsend - April 2004


Today : Sunny with cloudy periods. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h this morning. High 18. UV index 5 or moderate.  /Tonight : A few clouds. Wind west 30 km/h gusting to 50 diminishing to 20 overnight. Low minus 1. / Normals for the period : Low zero. High 13


It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.
William G. McAdoo

Saturday 24 April 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001 
2000

This morning, my neighbour comes over and we have a meeting about the cattle and then this afternoon, at four, we are having some friends over for a barbeque.

I keep thinking that I should do some work on my package bees, but I haven't -- maybe tomorrow.  The feeder cans and cages lie strewn where I left them.  I have lifted a few lids and peeked, and all seems well, so I have let them bee.  I see bees coming and going, and that is what I expect.  Bees can take care of themselves, especially when the owner does not expect much.  The point of all the extra work is to get extra honey, but the basics are simply to put supers on in time and to remember to remove and extract the honey.  In the process, the amount of hive space gets adjusted, and hopefully medications and mite management are done, and preparations for winter are made.  That's about it. 

Hobby beekeeping is very simple.  In a nutshell:

  1. Unwrap and check the overwintered hives sometime before mid-June

  2. If getting package bees

    1. Prepare the brood chambers

    2. Install the bees

    3. Check them for queens -- if you care

    4. Put on another brood chamber in May

  3. Check all colonies for diseases and mites at some point and treat -- or not -- as indicated.

  4. Put on lots of supers in June

  5. Remove honey when indicated and replace boxes if the season is not over

  6. Check the hives again, if you feel like it

  7. Locate and wrap them for winter

In commercial practice, top survival and high production are essential to profits.  In hobby beekeeping, who cares?

Two weeks from now, the overwintered hives will need splitting or equalizing to prevent swarming, and four weeks from now, the packages will need a second box, either a second brood, or a super over an excluder, depending on management style.

I've talked to Medhat a few times about testing some patties, but he is very busy.  This border issue is still keeping his phone ringing, and I guess job one is making sure the importation initiative is not blocked at he last minute.  Getting adequate queen supplies is more pressing than anything else, since the costs associated with the shortages are estimated to be at least $8,000,000 a year.  The costs associated with the ban on packages is even higher, but that is another story, for another time.  Queens are within reach, but some selfish, unscrupulous people are still trying to block imports by trying to start a scare in the media, and that just makes work for people like Medhat.  We've discussed that here before. 

At any rate, Medhat  now has 100 packages installed near Wetaskiwin, and the initial test will be simply to assess whether feeding protein patties makes any difference.  We had hoped to try several versions of the patties, some with just yeast, and some with just soy, etc., but it is looking as if just patties vs. no patties may be all he can do this round.  We'll see.  Some beekeepers say that it is too late, since there is natural pollen coming in, but I think the test will be very interesting, since, if there is a positive effect, it will show that patty feeding is beneficial even at times when bees are foraging, and that would be very worthwhile.

Since I may be buying some package bees, maybe I should test several types of patties on my own?  Meijers have been using one of Tony's pollen dry substitute feeders with his BeePol supplement and they are impressed with it, so I wonder how it does in patties?  Maybe we should try it too.

Don't forget to look back in history: here's what we were doing at this point in 2003  2002  2001  2000.  Things were not always this tranquil.


Jim never did show up to talk about the cattle, but we had a good crowd for our barbeque in the afternoon and evening.  Some of us took a stroll over to look at the cattle.  Later, Meijers and I went out and looked at the package bees, and the overwintered hives.  The package bees are doing very nicely in spite of the fact that I have done nothing to them since they were installed.  The overwintered hives vary from very strong to quite weak.  I suppose I'll have to get out and do some work on them.

Today : Sunny. Wind northwest 20 km/h. High 12. UV index 5 or moderate. / Tonight : A few clouds. Wind northwest 20 km/h. Low minus 1. / ormals for the period : Low zero. High 13.


The difference between intelligence and stupidity is that intelligence has its limits.
unknown

Sunday 25 April 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

8 more months until Christmas

I worked on website development today and visited with Jean and Chis.  I've accumulated quite a little stable of websites that I design and maintain.  My prices are very low and the quality of my work is not too bad.  Some of my customers maintain their own sites, some get me to do everything.

Evaluating the effects of Feeding
Protein Patties to Honey Bees

A friend sent me some info a while back, but I did not get around to doing anything with it because it was full of hyperlinks going nowhere, and because I wondered if it is copyright.  At any rate, I got to looking at it again and decided to excerpt it here.  Hopefully this is fair use. 

My friend says:

You were looking for a comparison of yeast vs soy.....

NUTRITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS IN CHOOSING PROTEIN AND CARBOHYDRATE SOURCES FOR USE IN POLLEN SUBSTITUTES FOR HONEY BEE APIS-MELLIFERA.

Author, Editor, Inventor: LEHNER-Y {a}
Author Address: {a} BEE RES LAB, AGRIC RES SERV, USDA, UNIV WIS, MADISON, WI 53706, USA
Source: Journal-of-Apicultural-Research. 1983 (RECD. 1984); 22 (4): 242-248.
Publication Year: 1983 (RECD 1984)
Document Type: Article-
ISSN (International Standard Serial Number): 0021-8839

Abstract: Small colonies of honeybees (A. mellifera) were fed for 6 wk on diets of protein concentration increasing from 5-30% using soyflours and a Torula yeast product, the commonly available pollen substitutes. Either honey or sucrose was used in formulating the diets; sucrose enhanced protein utilization. While no statistical difference was found in brood production at different protein levels, the 5% level of protein may not be as good as the others. All tested supplements and pollen gave the same efficiency of protein utilization at all concentrations. The Torula yeast product sustained brood-rearing longer than the soyflours. Addition of proteolytic enzymes to soyflour diets had no effect on protein utilization. Colonies fed pollen raised more brood than those fed the test diets, and on the average produced populations about twice as large.

ALSO

DISAPPEARING DISEASE 1. EFFECTS OF CERTAIN PROTEIN SOURCES GIVEN TO HONEY BEE COLONIES IN FLORIDA USA.

Author, Editor, Inventor: KULINCEVIC-J-M {a}; ROTHENBUHLER-W-C; RINDERER-T-E
Author Address: {a} DEP ENTOMOL, OHIO STATE UNIV, COLUMUBUS, OHIO 43210
Source: American-Bee-Journal. 1982; 122 (3): 189-191.
Publication Year: 1982
Document Type: Article-
ISSN (International Standard Serial Number): 0002-7626

Abstract: A commercial beekeeper's report of disappearing disease stimulated an investigation utilizing the diseased colonies. The effects on population growth and honey storage, of giving 1 comb of pollen, of feeding Fumidil-B and of feeding soybean flour with yeast and soybean flour alone were observed in an experiment involving 36 colonies of bees. Addition of 1 comb of pollen led to a significant gain in bees and the production of more honey. Fumidil-B had no effect. Feeding of expeller processed soybean flour, from a supply 3 or 4 yr old, especially without yeast, hindered population growth. Inadequate amounts of natural pollen along with feeding an inferior pollen substitute were 2 causes of this beekeeper's losses.
Update Code: 1983

And, I finally found this article....

EFFECT OF SUPPLEMENTAL FEEDING OF HONEY BEE APIS-MELLIFERA HYMENOPTERA APIDAE POPULATIONS AND THE ECONOMIC VALUE OF SUPPLEMENTAL FEEDING FOR PRODUCTION OF PACKAGE-BEES.

Author, Editor, Inventor: PENG-Y-S {a}; MARSTON-J-M; KAFTANOGLU-O
Author Address: {a} DEP ENTOMOL, UNIV CALIF, DAVIS, CALIF 95616
Source: Journal-of-Economic-Entomology. 1984; 77 (3): 632-636.
Publication Year: 1984
Document Type: Article-
ISSN (International Standard Serial Number): 0022-0493

Abstract: To determine the effect of feeding on A. mellifera L. populations and the economic value of feeding colonies for spring production of package-bees, a feeding experiment was conducted to evaluate the effect of feeding time and feeding treatments on the A. mellifera population, and to compare the cost with the benefit of feeding. Colonies produced significantly more bees from fall feeding than from spring feeding or continuous feeding from fall to spring (P < 0.01; analysis of variance). Colonies fed with protein supplement containing 21% protein from Torula yeast and/or syrup also produced significantly more bees than unfed control colonies (P < 0.05; Duncan's multiple range test). Colonies fed with 1/3 the amount of protein supplement in the fall had the potential to yield high adult bee populations and a net gain in production of package-bees. Feeding sugar syrup in spring was less profitable than feeding protein supplement in fall.

These studies all point to interesting conclusions, and it would be easy to make assumptions from what is presented. 

Unfortunately beekeepers have tendency to go off half-cocked and jump to conclusions from scant evidence, from inference, or from rumour.  A prime example is the large number of Alberta beekeepers who are mindlessly applying a coumaphos to their hives with no evidence of any need to do so, and the number of beekeepers who are afraid to use extender patties after Shim maligned them with conjecture, a conjecture which has proven unfounded.  I hope that we don't make that kind of mistake here.

The obvious conclusions may be exactly opposite to the truth.  Hopefully I'll be able to find the time to analyze the abstracts and show what the most probable conclusions -- if any -- might be.  If nothing else, they certainly indicate what we need to confirm for ourselves.

  1. Looking at "NUTRITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS IN CHOOSING PROTEIN AND CARBOHYDRATE SOURCES FOR USE IN POLLEN SUBSTITUTES FOR HONEY BEE APIS-MELLIFERA", the first study above, I see that

    1. Pollen was considerably better than either torula yeast or soyflour, and that

    2. The yeast was better than the soy alone.

    3. Sucrose was better than honey (and I assume High Fructose Corn Syrup) for the sweetener portion of the patties

    4. Protein concentrations between 5 and 30% seemed to be equally efficient, but at 5%, the effect was falling off.

    5. Obviously twice as much patty was required at 10% than at 20%, to achieve the same result, however.

    6. Adding enzymes to the soy did not seem to help.

    They do not specify what sort of pollen, and we all know that pollen loses its value fairly quickly over several years of storage.  I have wondered about how the value of supplements deteriorates, and that is addressed in one of the next studies.

     

  2. "DISAPPEARING DISEASE 1. EFFECTS OF CERTAIN PROTEIN SOURCES GIVEN TO HONEY BEE COLONIES IN FLORIDA USA", the next study,  demonstrates:

    1. That shortage of pollen can cause dwindling.

    2. Fumigillan did not help, so we can assume that nosema was not a prime contributor to decline.

    3. Old soy flour, fed alone, made matters worse.

    4. Bad pollen supplement was worse than nothing

    5. Adding yeast helped

    6. Feeding combs of pollen had a good effect

    This study raises questions that are not answered, but seems to indicate that old soy flour can be worse than nothing.  Nothing is learned here about fresh soy flour, and we are not told the age of the yeast or pollen.

     

  3. EFFECT OF SUPPLEMENTAL FEEDING OF HONEY BEE APIS-MELLIFERA HYMENOPTERA APIDAE POPULATIONS AND THE ECONOMIC VALUE OF SUPPLEMENTAL FEEDING FOR PRODUCTION OF PACKAGE-BEES was run in California -- I assume.  Although conditions and requirements there are different from Alberta, we can see that the effects of Fall feeding carry on until Spring.  In fact, to quote, " Colonies fed with 1/3 the amount of protein supplement in the fall had the potential to yield high adult bee populations and a net gain in production of package-bees. Feeding sugar syrup in spring was less profitable than feeding protein supplement in fall".  This seems to me to be very significant and indicates that we need to evaluate this effect in Alberta.

This article for printing

Sunday : Sunny. High 16. / Tonight : A few clouds. Wind northwest 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 3. / Normals for the period : Low zero. High 13.


An idealist is a person who helps other people to be prosperous.
Henry Ford

Monday 26 April 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

 

I drove to town and picked up my completed tax forms, paid some more tax, and drove home.  On the way, I passed Elliotts' and stopped to look at the four hives there.  They All look quite prosperous, and, although I did not tip them back, they seemed equally populous and were fairly heavy.  The reason they are there is that Leroy rejected two of them when he was picking up hives, and I kept a whole pallet, since he had an even load without it and I wanted to leave enough there to make a visit to the site worthwhile.  There were also two drums with some syrup to use up.

Now, the hives all looked about equal, and although there were a few bees in the drums, the syrup still remains.  I guess it goes to show that the early sizes of hives does not tell much.  some types, like carniolans tend to winter small, then explode in spring.

The afternoon was spent helping Ellen get her site into shape for her upcoming show in Drumheller.  Jim came over to discuss the cattle after supper.

Today : Sunny. Wind becoming west 20 km/h this afternoon. High 24. UV index 6 or high. / Tonight : Clear. Wind west 20 km/h becoming light near midnight. Low 6. / Normals for the period : Low zero. High 13.


An idealist is a person who helps other people to be prosperous.
Henry Ford

Tuesday 27 April 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000


I was going to go to B.C. today, but am feeling a bit tired, and I have some things to do, so maybe tomorrow.  I was corresponding with Murray in Scotland and mentioning the styro hives,  he gave me these tips:

My comments are first:

> Yup. Maybe I'll take pictures. Haven't decided whether to inspect them and
> split, or just super them. The way it looks now, I could super them any
> day, but we all know that there is cold weather between now and summer.

... Cross between the modern and the old, but the Scandinavians have a way round that.

Firstly, the changes between warm and cool, even cold, do not matter so much in a polystyrene hive, so you do not need to worry about it so much.

Secondly, there are ways they deal with things like that in those countries where these hive types are now the normal.

I watched them do spring prep in Denmark last year, and they went to their doubles, and if they were wall to wall in both boxes they added box 3 on top of the second directly, then took a sheet of polythene and covered the top of box 3 by about 80 to 90%, leaving a gap at the front, and added box 4. Then they took another sheet of polythene and did the same, this time leaving the gap at the back, and added box 5. They then left them to get on with it for a few weeks.

When the colony filled one box it moved up into the next one through the gap, yet most of the heat was kept down in the nest area.

An older variant on that, used by lots of these guys too, is to place a sheet of newspaper above box 2, add box 3, another sheet of newspaper, add box 4, another sheet of newspaper, add box 5.

All designed to keep the brood area warm and active, yet have the space on hand if the bees decide they need it.

Smaller colonies not occupying both boxes fully got reversed, and then the boxes stacked up. Nothing was left on less than 4 boxes or more than 5 when I watched them, apart from the obvious dinks of which there would be less than 5%, and these were marked for refilling with fresh bees rather than persevere with potentially poor stock. This was in April in a Scandinavian climate (which I suspect is not too unlike some parts of Canada)

Might give you food for thought.

One final point, all these boxes must also be polystyrene. A wooden box in the stack alters the temperature profile badly and the end result approximates to that of a wooden hive, with the attendant risk of early season chilling.

Murray

 

From Kirk
Just for the record:
---

Hope your day was a good as the dozen or more windsurfers at KEHOKIPA today.
Kiters tried their luck early in the day but were quickly blowin' off. Your 3.2 to 4.7 sail was the call with SW-W winds increasing to 90 km at times with the odd building size wave. I had probably the best wave ride at KEHO ever with 20 pus turns on the face that kept peeling and
rebuilding for about 500 meters.... Life is good.

24 degree air temp and sunny skies were fantastic until around 7:30 when wind went north, clouds rolled in and temp dropped to 6 degree in about 15 minutes. Small partied
followed........ Currently it is SNOWING.

Check out web site for daily wind record, SEE BELOW, or look at http://www.force10.ca/
Be sure to visit BOBS BEST BET for the call on wind ( see his link on the club site)

If you want to be on the club e-list... have a look at web site and the grapevine@force10.ca option Did anyone sail Dam, Ridge, St Mary's, Ghost etc..?  let me know how it was.

Kirk

p.s. Yesterday was a great 10-14 meter kite day at Keho, warm and med- sw-w winds 25-40 km.

Keho weather station reads correct up to 50 km then reads progressively low, <U>70km read is actually 95km.</U> Tower has been relocated in more sheltered area to protect it from damaging wind gusts

Keho Summary
from Tuesday April 27, 2004

Time        

     Wind
Dir

       Low      

Temp    

Wind
Speed
Km/Hr


7:50am            287         18         16         21
8:00am            283         16         16         26
8:20am            310         28         18         39
8:40am            290         35         18         42
9:00am            265         32         17         43
9:20am            268         22         17         43
9:40am            291         44         19         49
10:00am           282         36         19         51
10:20am           221         21         19         39
10:40am           201         25         18         46
11:00am           220         25         18         46
11:20am           249         24         18         46
11:40am           217         28         18         46
12:00pm           224         36         19         46
12:20pm           216         47         23         48
12:40pm           208         38         23         50
1:00pm            217         32         24         50
1:20pm            252         37         25         54
1:40pm            215         29         25         58
2:00pm            227         48         26         58
2:20pm            199         38         26         61
2:40pm            233         50         27         69
3:00pm            215         39         26         69
3:20pm            257         39         26         70
3:40pm            218         34         26         70
4:00pm            223         36         23         70
4:20pm            235         53         24         63
4:40pm            225         38         24         63
5:00pm            201         34         24         63
5:20pm            209         47         22         63
_____________________________________
Grapevine mailing list
http://force10.ca/mailman/listinfo/grapevine_force10.ca

Well I'm glad I've been hanging back and not going to B.C.  Turns out that the wind hit 100 km/hr today and started peeling the skin off our quonset.  The power of that much sail is impossible to fight, but Ellen and I managed to get it under control without too much damage occurring.  The skin is getting old, though.  It must be at least 7 years since we put up the building.  The life expectancy for the skin is about eight, but I'd say it will last 10, if the thing does not get away.  Our problem has been that drivers have hit the corners a few times and  we have had to repair.

My friends at Keho had a big day, though, and we are starting to get some chatter on the new website

The wind blew all night, but, as of 4AM, the quonset is still okay.

Today : Cloudy with sunny periods. Wind becoming west 30 km/h gusting to 50 this morning. High 22. UV index 5 or moderate. / Tonight : Rain changing to snow overnight. Rainfall amount 10 mm. Wind west 30 km/h becoming north 60 gusting to 100 this evening then diminishing to 30 gusting to 50 overnight. Low minus 2. / Normals for the period : Low zero. High 14.


Wednesday 28 April 2004
Selected Topics | HoneyBeeWorld Forum | For Sale | Write me
Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

First secure an independent income, then practice virtue.
Greek Proverb

We awoke with a bit of a cold and feeling stiff.  Maybe it was fighting the wind yesterday, or maybe it was something I've been fighting for a few days now.  I suspect the latter.  At any rate, we put a few more ropes on the quonset and tied it down a bit better, then headed into Calgary to do a bit of shopping.

I finally made a decision and bought a Toshiba at Costco.

Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 20:32:04 EDT
From: Bob  Harrison
Subject: Re: [BEE-L] Oxalic acid
To: BEE-L@COMMUNITY.LSOFT.COM

> Oxalic Acid is "wood bleach." We use it all of the time in our shop, but
> can be purchased cheaply at any store that sell products for cleaning wood;
> decks, etc.

The kind I use is "Rainbow Pure Oxalic Acid" made by Empire Blended Products Inc. Bayville, NJ 08721 A one pound box will cost about $5.00 and last you a very long time. The easiest place to find it is at a store that specializes in paints.

I have had good results when vaporizing it.

Visit www.honeybeeworld.com/bee-l for rules, FAQ and other info

Today : A mix of sun and cloud. Wind north 40 km/h gusting to 60 diminishing to 20 this afternoon. High 7. UV index 5 or moderate. / Tonight : A few clouds. Wind north 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low minus 2. / Normals for the period : Low zero. High 14.


Thursday 29 April 2004
Selected Topics | HoneyBeeWorld Forum | For Sale | Write me
Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

Anarchism is founded on the observation that since few men are wise enough to
rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others. --Edward Abbey

I'm feeling okay today. Ellen still has a cold.

I spent the entire day, pretty well, updating the computer and installing all the various software programs that I use daily.

We also spent some time planning the summer.  It is coming up quickly.

We awoke with a Today : A mix of sun and cloud. Wind becoming north 30 km/h near noon. High 14. UV index 6 or high. /`Tonight : Cloudy periods. Wind north 20 km/h becoming light near midnight. Low minus 3. /`Normals for the period : Low 1. High 14.


Friday 30 April 2004
Selected Topics | HoneyBeeWorld Forum | For Sale | Write me
Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

Never eat more than you can lift. -- Miss Piggy

I spent the morning continuing to update the computer and work on several projects.  It is amazing how long it takes to customize things.  I had thought that i might not keep this one, and that I'd get another to compare to it, but -- as I had already realized up front -- by the time I've broken this one in, I'm not likely to want to do another one.

The decision was whether to buy a light portable, or a desktop replacement.  I guess I bought the latter.  This Toshiba A20  is quiet and powerful.  Display was a major concern going in, and when I got this unit, it turned out that it had jagged fonts. Some adjusting of the desktop properties enabled smoothing, but it is still no desktop as far a quality is concerned.  Mind you, I can add a monitor, and likely will, BUT, at this point, I am thinking of going mobile all summer and beyond. (As I write this, Randy Bachman is playing , "Blue Collar", on the radio in the background ,and I am taken back to Salt Spring last Fall and to Moby's, where we sat around a table and listened  while his wife and friends performed.  Small world).

Will this computer replace my desktop?  I think it already has.  Want advice?  Don't scrimp when buying a new machine.  The time you spend training the new arrival is worth more than the purchase price.  It is like getting married (or getting a puppy).  Make a mistake, and you'll regret it for a long time.  Am I happy?  At this point, I'd better be.

There is software that claims to transfer software from one machine to another.  I had one once - CleanSweep.  I presume that it takes the registry entries and moves them, too, but I really do not trust any such thing.  On this brand new machine, RegClean took 55K of junk out of the registry after I did some installs. Uggggh!  And another 35 K just now!

Today : Sunny. High 15. UV index 6 or high. / Tonight : Clear. Wind north 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low minus 1. / Normals for the period : Low 1. High 14.

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