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Friday 10 September 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. -- Galileo Galilei

Worked at home doing deskwork

From BEE-L...

> I can roughly translate Allen's
> recipe to a single pound of Crisco vegetable oil to a pound of
> menthol crystals to soak a single roll of BSTs. I would be inclined
> to cut the roll of BSTs in half and divide the Crisco/menthol between
> the two half-rolls. I am not altogether comfortable with my
> conversions, especially to publish in a newsletter.

Many recommend a half-roll, but also, many of them also mention bees driven off the brood, brood damage, etc. We found 1/3 was right for us, and our conditions are fairly cool, so in warmer places, beware.

As it happens, I was at an oxalic research discussion/demo today, and in the discussion, menthol came up. A new commercial beekeeper had made up the towels, but found that they were hard to separate (he had stored them in a cold place, I gather) and therefore decided to make them on the spot as he went next time. He did, and it was not nice. I also gather that this (liquid, hot Crisco and menthol) was killing bees on contact and driving them out, too. Ugghhh!

It is important IMO to use Crisco, and not some other brand, since some are not as flexible when cold. Also I can assure you no other towel but the blue shop towel works well. I've tried fooling around a bit with the formula. What I present on the pages works well for me and for others who have followed the instructions. The problem is that it is very hard to mention every detail and anticipate every misunderstanding readers might have.

In a nutshell, about 6 grams of menthol and 6 grams of Crisco saturate each sheet of a 1/3 roll of towel. I think Bob described here on BEE-L how to melt the Crisco and then the menthol in a coffee can, then soak the roll. It is that simple. I think there should be a link to his BEE-L post from somewhere in my shop towel pages. See the third ref, below.

http://www.honeybeeworld.com/diary/articles/blueshoptowels.htm  http://www.honeybeeworld.com/diary/2001/diary041701.htm#Blue

There are about 55 sheets per roll, so about 330 g of each is required for a 1/3 roll. A half roll takes 10 grams of each for 550 g menthol and 550 g Crisco. Otherwise the process and details are just as described for our washtub amounts.


And more...

(Colour code: Bob, A previous poster, me).

> Now almost twenty years later I say test and see if you even
> need to treat for TM as many lines do not need treatment

But the key here is test, test, test.

TM resistance is not consistent in many commercial lines or from generation to generation. We discussed this some time back and a chart from USDA and some discussion can be seen at http://www.honeybeeworld.com/diary/articles/tracheal.htm  .

At http://msa.ars.usda.gov/la/btn/hbb/rgd/survey.htm  DANKA, R. G. and J. D. VILLA say, "The most striking result of this survey was the variability in levels of tracheal mite resistance among colonies of U.S. commercial breeding stock. This breeding population can be expected to yield propagated queens that range widely in quality: some queens will be useful in improving stock by imparting resistance, while others will predispose their colonies to damaging mite infestations. In the absence of knowledge about the resistance levels of individual breeder colonies, the performance (vis--vis tracheal mites) of production colonies headed by commercial queens becomes largely a matter of the chance associated with a queen producers' random selection of a grafting source from among his or her breeder colonies. "

>> Microwave for 4 minutes at 50% power. Check to see that all crystals
>> dissolved-if not, microwave for an additional minute at 50% power.
>> Must be used while warm otherwise crystals will reform.

> The above is a Mickey Mouse way to get the result . I would never
> make the formula in the house due to smell and risk of spilling a
> chemical which stinks for months and doubt many beekeepers wives
> would lend the kitchen or microwave.

If I recall, menthol is also flammable (explosive?).

> Using your Barbeque grill or a hot plate outside and a coffee can is
> better and safer.

And constant attention is necessary or you'll have a fire or evaporate all your menthol out of the mixture.

> > Place one paper towel over the top bars of each brood chamber.


That's for sure, and we went to 1/3 towel from the 1/2 because that was all we found we needed. Not two towels. They need two, because they use cheap household towels rather than the thick, absorbent shop towels, and because they use twice the dose we do.

> > Best time to treat is September.

I agree with Bob on this.

Best time to treat is when you know you have tracheal mites and can see that they will reach damaging levels, the weather is appropriate, and there are no supers on. That leaves most of us with spring or Fall.

I had some reservations about this article as well. It is in our archives, and was in some of the references I provided recently, but has some serious flaws IMO. The menthol does is twice what we use, and placing that many towels above the brood will drive the bees off it for sure.

Bob brought the blue shop towel method to our attention, and many of us have adopted it. If done right, it is simple, places the menthol where it actually does some good, ON TOP of the hive, and ensures it evaporates. Recent discussion in Saskatchewan reveals that the Hamilton boards, a similar idea popular there, for over a decade, which placed menthol and grease mixture UNDER the hive, have been shown not to have been working nearly as well as thought!

As Bob says, TEST. It is amazing how people can use a technique for a decade or more, as with the Hamilton board, then find that someone does a test and finds it does not work or the dose was wrong.

One problem with TM, though is that the dead mites and tracheal scarring remain in the bee after treatment until the bees die, and the methods of testing are more technical and labour intensive than varroa surveying, so evaluating success of TM treatments is more difficult than with varroa.


Calgary Weather: Today : A few showers ending near noon then cloudy with sunny periods. Fog patches dissipating this morning. High 9. UV index 3 or moderate. / Tonight : Cloudy. Wind becoming south 20 km/h this evening. Low 6. / Normals for the period : Low 4. High 18.

Saturday 11 September 2004
Selected Topics | HoneyBeeWorld Forum | For Sale | Write me
Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. -- Dr. Seuss

Off to Red Deer for the afternoon, looking for a furnace relay.  Had supper with Jean and Chris in Ponoka.

> What was the consensus about oxalic acid?

It works. It's cheap.  It's easy to use.  It should be safe.  (I need to know more about the effects of oxalic acid on people over time.  I hear various things, but some people seem to think it is almost harmless.  I just do not know).

> I am a first year beekeeper (haver?) and I want to avoid using the Checkmite I have bought and is now in my basement. I recently (last week) re-queened with Russian queens, have screened bottom boards. I have only two hives that I got no surplus honey from this year (Italians). I plan on getting two or three more hives of Carniolans also plan on getting two or three nucs for backup for the spring, however both Russians and Carniolans are prone to swarming when crowded? I am willing to use lactic acid, oxalic acid, formic acid etc, more "organic " methods of control for Varroa. I have not seen any on my bees, not yet done the confectioner sugar roll.

Testing is the first thing to do. That determines what needs doing.

> Would menthol give better control of TM if I added thymol?

That is outside my field of knowledge. I know the methods I describe work for me. The blue shop towel method does the job, so how can it be improved by adding another, more nasty essence?

> I do have SHB, beetles only visible, but there has to be some larvae somewhere, but haven't seen even eggs.

They bear watching. I have no experience with them.

> Planning to use terramycin patties or sugar sprinkles, fumagillin B.

I recommend you evaluate the need for each treatment constantly, and not treat more than necessary based on what you see in tests or know about your risk of disease.

> I enjoy your website. Thanks for your time

No problem. Thanks.


Calgary Weather: Today : Periods of drizzle and fog patches ending this morning then clearing. Wind becoming southwest 30 km/h this afternoon. High 22. UV index 5 or moderate. / Tonight : Clear. Low 6. / Normals for the period : Low 4. High 18.

Sunday 12 September 2004
Selected Topics | HoneyBeeWorld Forum | For Sale | Write me
Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is at all comprehensible. -- Albert Einstein

I took out the ashes and cleaned the chimney.  Matt came over and pulled the honey.  All the hives are now down to 2 high and ready to feed for winter.

Calgary Weather: Sunday : Sunny. Wind becoming southeast 30 km/h in the afternoon. High 16.

Monday 13 September 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy. -- Nora Ephron


Allen's Link of the Day:

ACLU Pizza


Calgary Weather: becoming southeast 20 km/h this morning. High 16. UV index 4 or moderate. / Tonight : Cloudy periods. Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 3 with risk of frost. / Normals for the period : Low 4. High 17.

Tuesday 14 September 2004
Selected Topics | HoneyBeeWorld Forum | For Sale | Write me
Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself. -- A. H. Weiler

Another day of deskwork.  Meijers came for supper and took the last pallet of honey home to extract.

Dear Allen,

Have been reading your beekeeping diary. Am quite impressed. I have, so far, only finished the year 2000.

You have been very detailed and it is quite interesting. I am an amateur bee keeper, with little experience, and
your age. In all of your details, I find no reference to "smokers" -- do you not use them?  When pulling supers
full of honey, how do you clear out the bees?  As many as you pull, and as fast as you do them, I cannot imagine
that you take the time to shake the bees off of each frame.

Best Regards
San Jose, California, USA


We use abandonment mostly, but sometimes use a blower or repellants.

I list some topics of general interest Selected Topics. For taking off honey, " Abandonment Method of Honey Removal"  might be useful to you.  For other topics not listed, Google provides a custom a search at the bottom of every page that looks like this:

Search WWW Search www.honeybeeworld.com

If you enter a key, like, "smoker","repellant", "butryic" or "blower"", you'll find all the references on my site to these items and their use.

FWIW, if anyone happens search out references on a particular topic of general interest not listed under Selected Topics, compiles a list, and sends the URLs to me, I might include in Selected Topics to make it easier for others.

I also appreciate hearing about any error messages or bad URLs. Write me if you come across any.

Allen's Link of the Day: Herb Isaac Sales

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 4 or moderate. / Tonight : Cloudy. Wind northwest 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 2 with risk of frost. /Normals for the period : Low 4. High 17.

Wednesday 15 September 2004
Selected Topics | HoneyBeeWorld Forum | For Sale | Write me
Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody. -- Bill Cosby

Medhat and his helper, Sam, came by this morning and sampled our bees for varroa and tracheal mites.  They will examine the bees in the lab and determine how to best treat, then do some experimental treatments, if indicated.

Allen's Link of the Day: Adbusters suing networks for not airing spots - Anti-consumerism group hires Ruby to take on CBC, CTV, CanWest, CHUM.  Adbusters website

They also found a few cells of AFB.  We haven't treated with OTC for several years; not for anything.  We used to always apply OTC prophylacticly in the Spring, but have not since I retired.  Goes to show that any equipment that has been in commercial use around here is likely to break down at least a little, if not treated.  Since only a few cells were apparent, we applied OTC treatment the two hives, and will have to watch them, now to see that they respond.  Fall is a time of year when bees tend to clean up AFB really well, since they are reducing brood rearing and there are lots of young house cleaners in the hive.

I wrote to Fraser Auction this Spring, and they remembered me...

Hi Allen,

I don't know if you had received our auction flyer for this Saturday, Sept.18th Beekeeper Auction Sale at Winfield, Alberta - so I just thought I would drop you a line with the link to our website for more information.

Thank you

Neil Fraser

Yes, I did.

Unfortunately, we will be out of the province at the time.  Hope it goes well.


This auction should be a good one.  I think it's a good thing I won't be there.  I'd probably buy 'way too much

Calgary Weather:  Today : A mix of sun and cloud. High 16. UV index 4 or moderate. / Tonight : Cloudy. 30 percent chance of showers this evening. Wind east 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 4. / Normals for the period : Low 3. High 17.

Thursday 16 September 2004
Selected Topics | HoneyBeeWorld Forum | For Sale | Write me
Today's events in 2003  2002 
2001  2000

Lack of money is the root of all evil.
-- George Bernard Shaw

Ellen & I drove to Airdrie and Frank drove us to the airport in our van.  By 5 PM, we were in Toronto, picking up the Mercury at the parking lot, where my niece had left it, and by 7 or so, we were at Pine Hill gathering the items left there from the summer.  We then drove to Sudbury and arrived at Mom's around 10.

Calgary Weather: Today : Increasing cloudiness. 30 percent chance of showers late this afternoon. High 17. UV index 4 or moderate. /Tonight : Cloudy periods. 30 percent chance of showers early this evening. Wind west 20 km/h. Low 2 with risk of frost. /Normals for the period : Low 3. High 17.

Friday 17 September 2004
Selected Topics | HoneyBeeWorld Forum | For Sale | Write me
Today's events in 2003  2002 
2001  2000

One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say. -- Will Durant

We visited with Mom, then Brenda, rented some DVDs at Blockbuster, and some supplies for installing Mom's washer & drier, and tried to get in touch with Bill& Faye.  We reached them in the evening, and it turned out that they were at camp.  We decided to go out Saturday.

Saturday 18 September 2004
Selected Topics | HoneyBeeWorld Forum | For Sale | Write me
Today's events in 2003  2002 
2001  2000

When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion. -- Abraham Lincoln, (attributed)

We had arranged to meet Bill at the landing at 3, and headed out to Whitefish Falls.  As we left Espanola, I was able to reach Bill on my 2 meter handy-talkie (We are both hams, as is Faye.  I am licensed as VE6CFK, he is VE3BEK, and she is VA3YOY) and he was on the way to pick us up.

He met us at the landing and soon we were on Teepee Island.  Myra, Ken, and Emma were already there.

Obviously, I missed the beekeepers' auction at Winfield.

Today : A mix of sun and cloud. High 15. UV index 5 or moderate. Tonight : Clear. Low 3 with risk of frost. / Normals for the period : Low 6. High 16.

Sunday 19 September 2004
Selected Topics | HoneyBeeWorld Forum | For Sale | Write me
Today's events in 2003  2002 
2001  2000

...when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. -- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, (Sherlock Holmes)

The day was spent visiting and working on my project.  The Piirtoniemis left in the evening.

Sunday : Sunny. High 16.

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