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Putting on patties

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Sunday 10 April 2005
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It is possible to store the mind with a million facts and still be entirely uneducated -- Alec Bourne

When I was at Global the other day, I picked up some patties, and the weather today was nice enough to go out to put them on the hives, so out I went.

I have three types: 20% pollen, Bee Feed, and 10% pollen, so I put one of each on, crosswise.  The hives are still wrapped, and warm, so the clusters are spread out, so it is not obvious exactly where the brood is.

Patties will not be eaten unless they are within 2" of the brood, so, this way, the bees will eat out a spot near the brood, and I can move the remaining patty into the cluster area later for the weaker colonies, but the strong ones will eat everything by the time I get back. I'll also be able to compare the three feeds for attractiveness.

We put 34 hives into winter, and I see that 6 are dead or weak enough to be considered dead.  That's an 18% loss, and not too far out of line with our normal 12%.  None of the hives with high varroa counts last fall are dead or weak.

The patties this year are a bit softer than normal, and I made out okay getting them separated until I dropped a box.  As you can see in the pictures, that box became one big mass of goo., so I wound up just cutting the mass into chunks and putting it on the top bars as best I could. The bees won't care, but it was extra work and mess for me.  One of the big advantages of patties over just plastering on a paste, as some beekeepers do, is that patties can be handled quickly and without mess.  I'm told that the patties were made softer this year as a result of a request by one large beekeeper, but that other beekeepers said later that, although these patties were okay, they prefer the stiffer patties for easy handling.  As a result, Global will revert to making the patties tougher and less gooey, except when specific orders request a soft patty.

Although customer feedback has been pretty well 100% positive, I think Global may do a survey this year to see if there are any suggestions for improvement or changes in the products and ways to increase demand.  Now that the machinery is running perfectly and all the bugs are worked out, Global could double or triple output easily if customers want the product, and Global is looking for beekeepers who want to pool orders to cut costs.

So far, shipping has been the biggest obstacle to expansion, especially for small orders, where the cost of trucking can exceed the price of the patties, but if beekeepers polled orders to make up 45,000 pounds or so, then the shipping cost would be pennies a pound.  Even half a truckload would be cheap to ship.  45,000 pounds sounds like a lot, but, considering that i put three pounds on every hive to start and that I plan to put on another three, then that means beekeepers doing the same would use 6 pounds per hive.

45,000 / 6 = 7,500 hives.  In other words, several large commercial beekeepers could get together to buy a truckload. In addition to the savings on transport, there could be discounts as well.

 Sunday: Sunny. Low zero. High 13.


Monday 11 April 2005
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A cynic is not merely one who reads bitter lessons from the past, he is one who is prematurely disappointed in the future -- Sidney J. Harris

I went to the dentist and had a crown done today.  At least the temporary crown is installed, and the permanent one will be here next week.  I also had a ball joint on the car replaced.

On the previous trip to the tire and alignment shop, I had been told that the joint was loose up and down, but firm otherwise and did not need replacing.  Another shop that I trust looked at it when doing some other work and said it did.  The part, alone, priced out at $140 locally, for just the part, but the tire shop said they would install a part if I found one myself, so I picked one up in Calgary last week for $41.  Apparently it is a good, American-made part, too.

The hives shown elsewhere on this page are the same Styrofoam hives I have discussed many times here in the diary. 

They are now three winters old, and I have never painted them, or even glued them together.  I just fitted and tapped them together and added bees.  The first winter I had bad luck, which I now blame on disturbing the bees late in the season, but have subsequently found that the bees winter as well, or better, in them than in wrapped hives.

I feel now, after three winters, that I can safely recommend these boxes as a reasonable, cost-effective and convenient alternative to wooden brood chambers.  We have not used them as supers, and have some reservations about that idea, since they are bulkier and probably a little less durable where rough handling and throwing around is likely.  Brood chambers normally get less handling and more careful treatment.  Wooden supers, of which we still have quite a few, stack up just fine on these broods, and, at the time of year that supers are added insulation is less important. (I think -- I should try some of these as supers.  Maybe they would work better than wood in cool spells during springs and summers, and encourage the bees not to withdraw to the brood chamber as readily).

Assembled and ready to go, these expanded styrene boxes cost about the same as wood, but they are far easier to put together.  Each box takes only seconds to assemble, and no special tools.  Once set up, they eliminate the additional expense and inconvenience of wraps and wrapping, and stand up well in service.  We haven't babied them, and find that both the U.S. and Swedish versions have performed just fine, although I suspect the Swedish ones would last longer and take more abuse, since they are made of a slightly denser plastic and are molded in one piece, but the difference would be slight.

I have not observed any chewing by the bees or mice or damage from handling, although the sun has chalked the surface slightly.  I suppose I should paint a few black or brown, as is popular in Europe, to see how that affects their performance.  I also suppose I should glue them together.  If I don't get around to gluing the ones I have now, I will at least use a little white glue on any I order in the future, since I notice that at least one of the boxes has pulled apart a tiny bit at a joint.  (That is no problem.  The bees don't seem to mind, and neither do I.  I probably can tap the gap closed if I think of it).

As for the plastic floors and lids that came with them, they seem to work just fine, although the mesh square in the floors came out the first season, and a piece of wire hardware cloth would probably be a better choice than the plastic mesh provided.  In one hive, a mouse had entered where the mesh became detached, but I observed no damage.  We also use our plastic pillows under the lids for a little extra insulation and a better seal against wind.

Today: Sunny with cloudy periods. Wind southeast 30 km/h becoming southwest 20 this afternoon. High 18. UV index 4 or moderate. Tonight: A few clouds. Wind southwest 20 km/h. Low minus 3.


Tuesday 12 April 2005
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All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident -- Arthur Schopenhauer

Here is a list of my BEE-L posts since the beginning of March.  The subject line does not always reflect the topic actually under discussion.

050980 05/03/01 22:03 65   Re: Feeding with pollen
050990 05/03/02 18:51 21   Re: Physical methods of cleaning Queen excluders
050994 05/03/02 19:43 25   Re: Feeding with pollen
050999 05/03/03 03:56 43   Re: Physical methods of cleaning Queen excluders
051000 05/03/03 04:17 42   Re: Feeding with pollen
051026 05/03/07 19:39 43   Re: Physical methods of cleaning Queen excluders
051059 05/03/11 07:14 33   Re: Over wintering nucs or small colonies
051090 05/03/15 09:19 42   Radiation
051095 05/03/15 13:52 36   Fw: bee hives at a middle school
051121 05/03/17 08:18 32   Re: Tracheal mites
051126 05/03/17 09:12 41   Re: Tracheal mites
051143 05/03/20 10:24 50   "tens of thousands of hives crashing"
051153 05/03/21 09:14 77   Re: "tens of thousands of hives crashing"
051167 05/03/22 23:10 80   Re: "tens of thousands of hives crashing"
051201 05/03/27 09:52 101   Re: "tens of thousands of hives crashing"
051202 05/03/27 10:34 55   Re: Australian queens
051207 05/03/28 03:42 40   Re: Russian queens
051234 05/04/05 08:12 45   Re: Spring Cleaning
051245 05/04/06 07:43 28   Re: Spring Cleaning
051246 05/04/06 08:08 41   Re: "tens of thousands of hives crashing"
051251 05/04/06 13:30 88   Re: "tens of thousands of hives crashing"
051252 05/04/06 14:34 26   Re: Spring Cleaning
051273 05/04/08 05:29 30   Re: Package Bees and Oxalic Acid.
051282 05/04/08 22:21 28   Re: Shook Swarm Varroa Treatment
051293 05/04/12 10:04 161   Re: Shook Swarm Varroa Treatment
051295 05/04/12 13:07 27   Re: Fondant recipe

Today: Sunny. Becoming cloudy this afternoon. Wind becoming south 20 km/h near noon. High 14. UV index 4 or moderate. Tonight: Cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers. Low minus 1. Wednesday: Sunny with cloudy periods. High 14. Thursday: Cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers. Low 2. High 9. Friday: Sunny. Low minus 2. High plus 11. Saturday: Sunny. Low 1. High 15. Normals: High: 13C Low: 0C


Wednesday 13 April 2005
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Never believe anything until it has been officially denied -- Claud Cockburn

Winter storm watch for Drumheller-Three Hills issued: A pacific disturbance will cross the Rockies and move into southern Alberta on Thursday. Heavy wet snow is likely in eastern areas with 10 to 25 cm from Cypress Hills northward to Coronation on Thursday

We went to Drum in the afternoon for supper with Meijers at Fred and Barney's.  Still no snow, and very little rain.

Today: Cloudy with sunny periods. 30 percent chance of flurries or rain showers early this morning. High 13. UV index 3 or moderate. Tonight: Rain changing to snow overnight. Rainfall amount 10 mm. Snowfall amount 5 cm. Wind becoming northwest 30 km/h gusting to 60 near midnight. Low 2.


Thursday 14 April 2005
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This isn't right. This isn't even wrong -- Wolfgang Pauli

We had a bit of rain overnight and a few flakes of snow.  False alarm, I guess.

I studied all day, then we went to the mill for supper.  Esther and Stella are home for a day.

Below is a link to the photos of a Kelley Beehive Loader I purchased on Ebay and have now completely restored. I've tried to be as original as possible since they don't make them any longer. It's been very interesting tearing it down and rebuilding it. As it stands I can carry about 7500lb of beehives on the trailer (12,000lb gross wt). I'll add pictures using it when I get ready to move my hives up to Illinois in mid-May. There is essentially no information concerning hive loaders on the web. Yours is the one of the few.

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/dwozment/my_photos

Thanks, Dennis Ozment, M.D.

Thanks, Dennis.  I'll have to add it to my loader page.  BTW, last I checked, Kelley still sells parts for the loaders.  BTW, send me a list of the sites you've found and I'll add them to the loader page.

HEAVY SNOWFALL WARNING FOR DRUMHELLER-THREE HILLS ENDED  -- Today: Rain changing to snow this morning. Snowfall amount 5 to 10 cm. Local blowing snow. Wind northwest 30 km/h gusting to 50. Temperature falling to 1 by midday. Tonight: Clearing this evening. Wind northwest 30 km/h gusting to 50 becoming light near midnight. Low minus 1.


Fri., Sat. and Sunday 15, 16, & 17 April 2005
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There are two kinds of people, those who finish what they start, and so on -- Robert Byrne

Friday at 6 PM, I was in a pool in  Calgary, learning SCUBA from an instructor from the Dive Shop.  We then did a classroom session, and I left around 10:30 to drive home -- an 85 minute drive.  Saturday morning at 9 AM, I was again in the water.  Sunday was a repeat, and I was done by 6 Pm, with the first part of the diving training complete.  Four open-water dives, and I'll be certified.  The course was steady work, but not hard.  I did well in all the underwater modules and got a 96 on the final.  There are always a couple of ambiguous questions, it seems, just so nobody gets 100.

I had been somewhat intimidated going in, but feel quite confident coming out.  I haven't been panning to do anything particularly deep or difficult, but, ever since diving with Stan and Aaron in PEI, the summer before last, I have wanted to get better educated about diving.  Now that I am done the course, I am quite pumped and can't wait to do some more, especially when I am on the West Coast in June.

Friday: Sunny. Wind west 30 km/h gusting to 50 diminishing to 20 near noon. High 14. UV index 4 or moderate. Tonight: Clear. Wind southwest 20 km/h becoming light near midnight. Low 1.  Saturday: A mix of sun and cloud. Wind becoming southwest 30 km/h this morning. High 18. UV index 5 or moderate. Tonight: A few clouds. Wind southwest 30 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 1.  Sunday: Cloudy with sunny periods. High 11. UV index 3 or moderate. Tonight: Clearing near midnight. Wind north 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low minus 2.


Monday 18 April 2005
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People demand freedom of speech to make up for the freedom of thought which they avoid. --  Soren Aabye Kierkegaard

My crown was ready, and I went to the dentist to have it fitted.

Today: A few showers ending near noon then clearing. Wind becoming north 30 km/h this morning. High 15. UV index 4 or moderate. Tonight: A few clouds. Low minus 4.


Tuesday 19 April 2005
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There art two cardinal sins from which all others spring: Impatience and Laziness -- Franz Kafka

I was up at 4 and left by 5.  I arrived at Global in Airdrie at 6:45 and Frank drove me to the airport.  By one, I was waiting for a shuttle to my rental car at Pearson.  I chose a Mazda 6, and headed for Sudbury.  It has 234 km on it and handled well.  Nevertheless, I think that I prefer my 1993 Mercury Marquis, other than the steering.  The steering in my Merc has been a bit slack lately, and, although I've had it to the shop several times, no one seems able to fix it.

Anyhow, I stopped at Pine Hill to check fro problems and looked in on Ron's place too, then drove on.  I arrived in Sudbury around seven and went straight to Mom's.

Tonight: Clearing early this evening. Wind north 20 km/h becoming calm near midnight. Low minus 6. Tuesday:

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