A Beekeeper's Diary

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Do everything in moderation, even moderation.

Hives sitting on my lawn outside the south door.

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Friday 20 August 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.           -- Benjamin Franklin

Allen's Link of the Day:

* NHB's Bee-Mail newsletter has lots of interesting content.

* Unpatched PCs compromised in 20 minutes

I did a few chores at Pine Hill, visited Ron at his place for a while, dropped in on John Pat, then drove to John & Jill's cottage on Gloucester Pool.  John's brother, Rob was there with his daughter and a friend.  I hadn't seen Rob since 1974.
 

A discussion on BEE-L...

> Can anyone tell me what percentage of the total mite population can
> be detected in a 24-hour natural mite drop? Is there a formula to
> suggest how many total mites each fallen mite represents?

Natural drop has been my chosen method of monitoring for some years now, and my experiences can be found in the selected topics section of my diary http://www.honeybeeworld.com/diary/menus/topics.htm .

A Google search from the bottom of that page using the words 'natural' and 'drop' yields a few hits. Somehow, I had thought that I had documented my experience and thinking better, maybe I have -- somewhere (here?) --but there there is some practical info (illustrated) there. Also on that page there is a listing of varroa resources that might turn up something you have not seen.

There are problems with any measurement method, and the natural drop is dependant on assumptions. One is the lifespan of the varroa in the hive at the point in time that the measurement is taken. Season, phoresy, varroa levels in the hive, hive populations, brood area, history of the hive and more will have an influence on this number. Moreover, bees have been observed to stage episodes of mite detection and ejection (Thanks, Dee), that might just happen to coincide with the days of your measurement and give inflated results.

For those reasons, ND is just a rough guide, but a good and easy one. If ND turns up unexpected results, then the beekeeper needs to drill down further by consulting previous data, doing brood inspections, alcohol washes, asking neighbours what they are seeing, etc. etc. -- or just treat ...whatever seems to be appropriate to the size of operation, resources, and the timeframe available before remedial measures are not possible.

We use 100 days as varroa lifespan, and hence a multiplier. Others use 30. No matter. What you get is merely a number, and your decision will depend on what you turn up in additional investigation, your location, your appetite for risk, your opinion of chemicals, and the weather.

Calgary Weather: Today : Sunny with cloudy periods. 30 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms late this afternoon with the risk of a severe thunderstorm this afternoon. High 25. UV index 7 or high. / Tonight : Cloudy periods. 30 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms this evening with the risk of a severe thunderstorm this evening. Low 10. / Normals for the period : Low 8. High 22.


Saturday 21 August 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple. -- Barry Switzer

Allen's Link of the Day:

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Calgary Weather: Today : A mix of sun and cloud. 60 percent chance of showers this afternoon with the risk of a thunderstorm. Wind becoming north 30 km/h this afternoon. High 18. UV index 6 or high. / Tonight : Periods of rain. Amount 5 mm. Wind north 30 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 6. / ormals for the period : Low 8. High 22.

I spent the day visiting, swimming and resting.  At four-thirty, Jill, John, and I went to Ron & Joan's for supper, then returned to Neptune Island for the night.  We took John's new Lexus.  It's a pretty nice car, maybe even nicer than my '93 Mercury.


Sunday 22 August 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

The income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has.  -- Will Rogers

After breakfast, I drove to Sudbury.  The weather looks a bit cool, windy and rainy.  Not a great time to be in the unheated cottage. I arrived a bit late to see Linda, and drove to Mom's.  I'm hoping to get started on the curriculum job.  So far, I have been too busy visiting.

I did spend a few hours on the job, getting familiar with the concepts and the jargon.  I spoke to Matt and he says we have another 30 boxes to pull, but it is currently raining.

Calgary Weather: Today : Rain. Amount 5 to 10 mm. Wind east 20 km/h. High 10. / Tonight : Rain. Amount 10 to 15 mm. Wind north 20 km/h. Low 6.  / Normals for the period : Low 8. High 22.


Monday 23 August 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

Don't worry about people stealing an idea. If it's original, you will have to ram it down their throats.
 -- Howard Aiken

I spent the day at Mom's, visited Linda for an hour or two, then worked on the books and the curriculum.  The weather is sunny but cool.

Calgary Weather: Today : Periods of rain. Amount 5 to 10 mm. Wind northwest 20 km/h. High 11. / Tonight : Cloudy. 30 percent chance of showers. Wind north 20 km/h becoming light near midnight. Low 2. / Normals for the period : Low 8. High 22.


Tuesday 24 August 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.   -- Krishnamurti

On the radio, they are talking about frost throughout Northern Ontario.  Calgary weather is still warm.  I can remember years when we had frost around the 20th of August in Alberta, while Ontario experienced hot weather.  This year, the pattern has, so far, reversed.

Mom & I visited Linda in the morning and friends of hers, Doreen S & George K, in the afternoon.

Calgary Weather: Today : Cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers. Risk of a thunderstorm this afternoon. Wind southeast 20 km/h. High 15. UV index 4 or moderate. / Tonight : Cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers this evening with the risk of a thunderstorm. Wind north 20 km/h becoming light near midnight. Low 7. / Normals for the period : Low 7. High 21.


Wednesday 25 August 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

A person is always startled when he hears himself seriously called an old man for the first time. -- Oliver Wendell Holmes

My flight to Calgary was scheduled for 10PM out of YYZ.  After breakfast, I drove to Pine Hill, had a swim, and did a bit of work on the curriculum.  At six, I drove to Toronto, parked the car, and boarded the plane for YYC

Calgary Weather: Today : Cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers. High 13. UV index 4 or moderate. / Tonight : Cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers. Wind north 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 8. / Normals for the period : Low 7. High 21.


Thursday 26 August 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

Either this man is dead or my watch has stopped. -- Groucho Marx

At 12:30 AM, I retrieved my bag from the baggage carousel in Calgary and caught the bus to the parking lot.  By 2 AM, I was home in bed.

I spent the day catching up on things.  Ellen is still in China and will be back late Saturday, so the place is pretty quiet,  The cats are delighted to see me back.

I met the Meijers in Drum for supper.

Calgary Weather: Today : Cloudy. 30 percent chance of showers. High 17. UV index 3 or moderate.  / Tonight : Cloudy. Low 3. / / Normals for the period : Low 7. High 21.


Friday 27 August 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

There are only two kinds of scholars; those who love ideas and those who hate them. 
-- Emile Chartier

Meijers have been wondering how Cor Dewit's Oxalic method has been working out and thinking of going to see him some day soon.  I called Cor, and he says it is working well.  He treats spring and fall and gets about 18 mites when he does.

More paperwork today, and a bit of cleanup around the yard.  I'm still studying investment and that keeps me busy, too, as does BEE-L.

A discussion on BEE-L today...

> I theorize that we can apply a similar approach to the virus problem
> associated with varroa and in this case the varroa themselves will do
> the culling - if we let them. By attempting to kill virtually all
> the varroa we remain on the treadmill; but if we use less effective
> treatments and tolerate a moderate (to be defined!) varroa
> population, then the most susceptible colonies will not survive. Of
> course, we do not want varroa levels to be so high that virtually all
> colonies die (because the US has huge pollination needs!), but should
> be able to cope with slightly higher losses if this leads to
> resistant bees.

This makes sense, but there are other considerations, too.

If -- and this is a big IF -- the beekeeper has commitment to a breeding program, and if that beekeeper has the resources -- money, time, education, discipline -- to follow through, then this can be a worthwhile avenue. However, for most of us, I suspect that completion of such a project is doubtful.

I know from experience that we may have big plans, and great expectations, but we often wind up buying replacement stock from a convenient supplier, moving, retiring, getting sick, losing interest, changing direction due to an opportunity... etc., etc. It happens more often than not. In such cases, little is accomplished in return for the effort and sacrifice.

Unless we are certain that we can -- and will -- persevere, we may be wiser to leave this selection and breeding to those who can and do -- and support their efforts by buying their stock in preference over others, and limit varroa populations in our own hives, however we can, to assure that we do not take needless and pointless losses.

Another thought: We know that the problem of virus transmission becomes a lethal problem when mite loads increase to where multiple foundress mites are found in more than the occasional cell.

AFAIK, varroa do not by choice enter cells already occupied by another foundress, and thus, we can deduce that these chance multiple infestations are likely to increase with mite populations (many seekers) and reducing brood area (fewer choices of cells).

We need to be particularly careful to maintain the ratio of varroa to brood below the level where frequent occurrences of multiple foundresses per cell become a statistical certainty.

The probability function (multiple foundresses/cell) rises much more rapidly than the mite/brood cell ratio, and explains why colonies tend to collapse suddenly as the varroa load increases and at the end of the summer when the brood rearing slows.

Anything we can do to avoid a high mite/brood ratio saves colonies.

Unless we are committed and capable breeders, failure to control varroa levels will not do us -- or anyone -- any good.

IMO, anyhow.

allen

Calgary Weather: Today : A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers late this afternoon with the risk of a thunderstorm. High 18. UV index 6 or high. / Tonight : Cloudy periods. 30 percent chance of showers early this evening with the risk of a thunderstorm. Wind southwest 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 6. / Normals for the period : Low 7. High 21.


Saturday 28 August 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

A short saying oft contains much wisdom. -- Sophocles

I worked at he desk in the morning, then drove to Morris Meadows to Jeremy & Nicole's wedding.   I left there at eight and drove home, slept an hour, picked up Grant and drove to YYC to get Ellen & Shirley.  They were due in at 1108 from China, but were a few minutes late.  The two arrived OK, but tired after 33+ hours of travel.

Calgary Weather: Today : Becoming cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Wind becoming north 20 km/h near noon. High 17.  / Tonight : Cloudy. 30 percent chance of showers this evening. Clearing overnight. Low 5. / Normals for the period : Low 7. High 21.


Sunday 29 August 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless. -- Thomas A. Edison

I did some yard cleanup, filled propane bottles, and weighed the 36 boxes that Matt pulled.  We had them under a tarp to protect them from robbing, and I had to make sure there were no holes open, since bees were looking.

Meijers came for supper, so Joe & I loaded the two pallets onto their truck.

Calgary Weather: Today : Cloudy with sunny periods. 30 percent chance of showers. High 20. UV index 5 or moderate. /Tonight : Cloudy. Clearing near midnight. Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 8. // Normals for the period : Low 6. High 20.


Monday 30 August 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

Some editors are failed writers, but so are most writers.     -- T. S. Eliot

Calgary Weather: Today : A mix of sun and cloud. Fog patches early this morning. Wind becoming north 20 km/h near noon. High 22. UV index 6 or high. / Tonight : Cloudy periods. 30 percent chance of thunderstorms this evening then clearing. Low 9. / Normals for the period : Low 6. High 20.

A day of deskwork, study.


Tuesday 31 August 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he gets to know something.
 -- Wilson Mizner

A day of deskwork, study.  We took the van in for cleaning.  It has a stale sweat smell that drives me nuts.  Some European and Japanese vehicles have a climate control setting that re-circulates the interior air instead of drawing in fresh, and I've noticed that, after years of use, these vehicles can smell awful inside.  Seems most people don't notice, though.

Purves-Smiths came for supper.

Calgary Weather: Today : Clearing this morning. Wind becoming south 20 km/h this afternoon. High 27. UV index 6 or high.  / Tonight : Clear. Wind south 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 13.  / Normals for the period : Low 6. High 20.

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