A Beekeeper's Diary

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History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely
once they have exhausted all other alternatives.
-- Abba Eban --

Checking newly mated queens

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Monday 24 May 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't. -- Douglas Adams

I drove the rest of the way home, arriving in mid-afternoon. 

Meijers and the Purves-Smiths came for supper.

Monday : Sunny with cloudy periods. High 15.
Tuesday : Sunny. Low 4. High 18.
Wednesday : Sunny. Low 6. High 17.
Thursday : Cloudy. Low 7. High 16.


Tuesday 25 May 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

I don't deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don't deserve that either. -- Jack Benny

No, we don't have snow.
This is an old picture.

I spent the day catching up and did a little work outside as well.  Matt had brought back the Beemer last night, and it is running well.  With the new engine and automatic transmission, it is much easier to use.

Today : Sunny with cloudy periods. Wind becoming west 30 km/h this afternoon. High 19. UV index 7 or high. / Tonight : Cloudy periods. Wind west 30 km/h. Low 9. / Normals for the period : Low 5. High 18.
 


Wednesday 26 May 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

I spent the day at my desk, doing various tasks, and tried to line up up a truck to send the supers to their new owners.  In the afternoon, I went out and made up brood chambers for the packages.  I usually put them on My 19th, and am a bit late this year.  I'm neglecting my bee work.

Today : A mix of sun and cloud. Wind northwest 20 km/h. High 19. UV index 7 or high. / Tonight : Cloudy periods. Low 6. / Normals for the period : Low 5. High 18.


Thursday 27 May 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

Honesty pays, but it doesn't seem to pay enough to suit some people. -- F. M. Hubbard

We went to Calgary to get our passports renewed today, then spent the rest of the day car shopping.  We looked at Hyundais, Toyotas, and even test-drove a Prius hybrid.  That was interesting.  We are thinking of a van, but also test drove a Mercury Marquis and even decided to buy it, but then discovered that the oil was down -- not even on the dipstick!  We decided to take a rain check on that one for now.  We want a vehicle with a big car ride and towing capability, but 30 MPG (imperial gallons)  economy.

Today : A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers this afternoon. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h this afternoon. High 18. UV index 7 or high. / Tonight : Cloudy periods. 30 percent chance of showers this evening. Wind southwest 20 km/h. Low 8.  / Normals for the period : Low 5. High 19.


Friday 28 May 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem more afraid of life than death. -- James F. Byrnes

We drove to Calgary and bought a 1998 Toyota Sienna van.  I'm told that it does 28 MPG on the highway.  30 is my usual lower cutoff point, and although 28 is barely okay, the savings in not needing a truck or to take several cars on one trip, etc. should justify the added expense.

Today : Cloudy with sunny periods. 30 percent chance of showers this afternoon. High 18. UV index 5 or moderate. / Tonight : Periods of rain. Wind north 30 km/h. Low 7. / Normals for the period : Low 5. High 19.


Saturday 29 May 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble. -- Samuel Johnson

Chris and Jean and Mackenzie came down for the weekend.  In the afternoon, we all piled into the van and went to Drumheller.  Ellen had an art show to take down and while she did that and delivered paintings elsewhere, Chris & I went to Canadian Tire.

We returned home.  Ruth came over for supper.

Saturday : Rain. Amount 15 to 20 mm. Wind north 20 km/h increasing to 40 gusting to 60 late in the morning. High 9.


Sunday 30 May 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

Everything is vague to a degree you do not realize till you have tried to make it precise. -- Bertrand Russell

Today, I am really going to get another brood chamber onto the rest of those packages, and give them a quick check.  I've agreed to sell 8 of them and should make sure they are okay and ready to go.


I did get the boxes under, and checked several, but the wind was so strong that the job was unpleasant for both me and for the bees.  I quit for fear the wind might blow a queen off a frame into the tall grass as I inspected for brood.  What I saw was good, although I see another queen has gone bad in the ones I stacked up last time.  Did the bad queen survive the good one. Unusual.

Jean & Chris stayed until mid-afternoon, then headed back to Ponoka.  Ellen and I went to the Mill for supper.  Tom & Dorothy Makepeace were there and Esther came out from Calgary, bringing Shanny and Elijah along as well.

Today : A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers late this afternoon with the risk of a thunderstorm. Wind northwest 20 km/h. High 16. UV index 7 or high. / Tonight : Cloudy periods. 30 percent chance of showers early this evening with the risk of a thunderstorm. Wind north 20 km/h. Low 5. / Normals for the period : Low 6. High 19.


Monday 31 May 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly considered.-- G. K. Chesterton


Good brood, but a little spotty.  Okay in my books.


I shook out one hive that had quite a few bees, a few cells of drone brood and nothing else.  I'll split the hive that got the extra bees later.  There is no use trying to put a new queen into a hive that has only old bees.  Better to combine the hives, then split later with balanced populations in each half.

I spent the day at the desk again, and I really don't know what I accomplished, but I managed to strike a few things off my list.  Later in the day, I managed to finish checking queens in the packages.  All were okay, but a few had slightly spotty patterns.  Not sure if it was chalkbrood or what.  I also shook out the queenless hive I found the other day.

Spotty brood is not necessarily the fault of the queen, and if the brood is otherwise plentiful in package bees, I often blame it on the comb or other factors.  I bought these packages to use up some brood chambers that needed cleaning up, so some of the combs were a bit dirty to start, and once a pattern is spotty, it may stay spotty since the queen lays in any odd cells as soon as they come available, unless there is a break in the brood rearing.

That explains why a new queen will often appear to clean up a spotty pattern.  Introducing queens often causes a break of up to ten days, as the queen is first introduced, then awaits release, then starts laying.  During that time, most or all of the spotty brood emerges, leaving solid expanses of open cells for the new queen.  When she fills them the beekeeper then assumes she is better than her predecessor, but is she?  Having had no larvae to feed for all that time, the nurse bees have a pent-up supply of larval feed are ready to raise large slabs of brood.  These two effects make new queens appear to be a huge improvement, but who really knows?

The forklift runs beautifully, and is a pleasure to use, compared to how it was before the conversion.  The automatic transmission makes everything smooth and easy, and the electric start adds a nice touch.

Today : A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers late this afternoon. Wind becoming north 20 km/h this morning. High 17. UV index 6 or high. / Tonight : Cloudy periods. 30 percent chance of showers early this evening. Wind north 20 km/h becoming light near midnight. Low 3 with risk of frost.  /  Normals for the period : Low 6. High 19.

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