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An eye for an eye only leads to more blindness.
Margaret Atwood

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Thursday, January 1st, 2009
Chance of flurries High -5C  Low -27C
Normals: Max: -5C Min: 16C
Sunrise 0840  Sunset 1634

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

Honey Bee World ForumHoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home

We spent the morning with the Orams, then went grocery shopping.  I bought a terabyte USB disk on the way home, figuring I'm going to need some backup space.  Ellen's computer has gremlins, and so do the others.

A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on. -- Carl Sandburg

Before we left, Mckenzie tried to get me interested in the Wii.  Frankly, the thing leaves me cold. If I am going to have an "Outdoor Adventure", I am going to go outdoors, not jump around on a mat in the house in front of a flat screen, and if I am going to snowboard, I expect to see snow and some steeps, and feel the bite of the air going by.  If I am going to play guitar, I am going to expect to have to finger some chords and do some picking. I must be old school.

More on drone removal on BEE-L today.  Apparently some study Seeley did somehow showed that the drone removal colonies out-produced the controls.  Of course, one study, and everyone is on board.  We'll see.  So far, I am not all that impressed with what I have seen from that direction, but I also have not done my homework.  I love being proven wrong, but does one study prove anything?

Dave had a good post about putting holes in foundation to get it drawn.  There used to be a plastic foundation with a couple of holes near the top bar, so I guess this is not news.

Friday, January 2nd, 2009
Chance of flurries High -18C  Low -24C
Normals: Max: -5C Min: 16C
Sunrise 0840  Sunset 1635

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

Honey Bee World ForumHoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home

Looks like a cold one today.  We've invited the usual suspects for supper tonight.  If the weather turns as cold as predicted travel may not be wise.  We'll see.

The mind's first step to self-awareness must be through the body. -- George Sheehan

I spent the morning blowing out the driveway and looking at Ellen's computer.  It freezes when sitting unattended, and Google Earth barely ran.  I reinstalled GE, then DirectX.  Then Windows OneCare.  Still no solution, but the machine runs better.  I may wind up reinstalling Windows XP SP3 over itself to try to find a solution.  That means slipstreaming a disk, since my copy is SP2.  I did some more SharePoint work, in the VM I got from Jon, but am stuck with an error I cannot trace. Oh, Microsoft!.

The P-Ss, Ruth, and Flo showed up for supper and we had a good time.  Ellen had cooked a huge ham. 

Ruth brought over her laptop, which has been going dark suddenly after waking up from sleep and I played around with it.  It worked fine for me, but another one of those Windows glitches that are common. Not having been used for a few weeks, it needed tons of updating.  Seems to me there has to be something better than this.

I recall, in the early days when Apple and Commodore were emerging microcomputers.  Commodore had its O/S on a read-only chip (ROM) and Apple had a disk that had to be loaded into RAM at each start-up.  The former approach made for an instant start and an incorruptible O/S, but need for opening the machine and replacing a chip when changes were indicated (which was almost never).  The latter allowed for customization and easy upgrading, but that approach is vulnerable to corruption and unauthorized changing by various means. 

These days almost all computers have O/Ss which are loaded into RAM, and which are constantly being changed and patched by the suppliers, while at the same time being altered subtly and invisibly by installation of user software and libraries, and also being attacked by nefarious exploits on web sites and email attachments. 

The ROMs may have been less flexible, but they worked as well -- or as badly -- ten years later than they did out of the box.  For business, that is a good feature, and most users would love it, but computer are designed, built and sold by geeks who love customization.  Imagine if cars were built in a way that expected that they would be jacked up, hopped up and customized instead of used and driven the way they are delivered from the factory.  Drivers would start them up one day and find the steering wheel in the back seat and the hood on the roof or be driving down the road and find that an invisible someone was spray-painting the windshield. Ridiculous? 

When you consider how much effort is spent trying to get computers back to original state after being customized by third-party software and usage  and vandalized or sapped by viruses, worms and exploits...

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009
Sunny High -21C  Low -27C
Normals: Max: -5C Min: 16C
Sunrise 0840  Sunset 1636

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

Honey Bee World ForumHoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home

It's minus 33 this morning.  Don't know how the minimum (above) could be predicted as -27.

Hi Allen:

Cats are smarter than dogs. You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through snow. -- Jeff Valdez

...I run around 1500 hives. I would like to ask a few questions, I am making my own pollen patties and am trying to come up with the products in order to make them. In bulk I am trying to find a source for: Soy, citric acid, and Torula yeast.

I don't know of any source of torula yeast and would be interested if anyone does. 

I buy brew tech from Pat Heitkam in California, I also can get sugar in bulk here in Oregon and canola oil. I collect my own pollen here also. However I'm still trying to locate these three other ingredients. I might have a tract on the citric acid.

I have never used citric acid, although I have heard it recommended for insect diets.  I worry about the HMF that acids and sugars can produce. I don't know how much you plan to use, but home brewing places in towns and on the Internet offer it in bulk. A fellow named Steve Tackaberry 559-760-3563 / 559-683-8472 handles yeasts and soy, and some beekeepers buy from him.  I haven't talked to him for a few years.  If you call him, say, "Hi", from me.  He deals in large lots, and I think that maybe Pat deals with him, so it might be best to get the soy through Pat, too.

I used canola oil a bit, but have no idea if it helps either, so went to a simple yeast/soy/sugar patty, with some pollen being optional.  Medhat's research seems to bear out their value, and beekeepers seem to find them optimal as far as performance for price is concerned.

Glenn Apiaries has a good collection of bee-related news articles

Any help is appreciated, Thanks This fall I got behind on work and went in with some local beekeepers and bought some mega bee. The bees really liked it but it's way to expensive. It's kinda funny that I paid for the research to find a supplement for the bees, as a US tax payer, and I have to pay even more for the product.

Yes, it is a shame that Gordy got mixed up with commercial firms that seem to be mainly in it for the money.  We had hoped that a firm like Global Patties would get the contract, since they produce and sell at very low cost to the beekeeper.

Actually, Global did make the patties in the US under contract for the prime contractor at first, and do have the Canadian rights, last I heard, but in the US there are large royalties on the product, and then the distribution chain gets its share.

The reports I have heard was that MegaBee -- unlike some other proprietary formulations -- is actually pretty good, but I have not heard that it is noticeably better than Global's standard  -- and much cheaper -- patties.  Maybe it is, Dunno.  Nobody in Canada seems to want to buy the MegaBee patties and they are made only on request now.

MegaBee was designed as a liquid diet and most of the engineering that went into it was to keep it suspended in liquid and to prevent spoilage.  None of that sophistication is needed in a patty, so if the ingredients are more expensive, it is possible that there is no benefit over cheaper products when made into patties.

Anyway I'm back to making my own product. If you have any questions my email address is...

I hope this helps. Maybe I should start a bee nutrition discussion list.  I've meant to do some comparative research, but it is a huge job.

Personally, I could never make patties as cheaply or as well as Global does, and they make any formula anyone wants, so an option is to contact them and see what they would charge for your product, delivered. You never know. I know you can make up pails of feed and ladle it onto the top bars, but the Global patties are neat to handle -- you can put them on hives and move them around if they are still there when you need to work the hives -- and Global makes their money by being mechanized and efficient, not by gouging the beekeeper.  Also, they buy ingredients in large volumes and cheaply, plus they use enough to ensure the supplies are fresh.  That is very, very important! 

Most beekeepers who make their own have too much or too little of one or another ingredient and store the left-overs.  A year later, the ingredients may not have much nutritional value left.  Also, small quantities are often bought locally and may have been in storage for some time.  Global buys factory-direct.  I would never again make my own patties if I could buy them pre-made.

-28 | -19
-11 | -10
Chance of Snow
-8 | -3
Chance of Snow
-19 | -7

Sunday, January 4th, 2009
Sunny High -13C  Low -17C
Normals: Max: -5C Min: 17C
Sunrise 0839  Sunset 1637

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

Honey Bee World ForumHoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home

> Brian & I have been looking for some time for a recipe to make some real good patties in the next few weeks. We just used brewers yeast, oil & sugar last spring.

Howcum everyone is adding oil?  I know some lipids are needed, but which ones?  Some oils are harmful and so is too much.  Besides, the soy we use has had the oil deliberately removed!

> The big hives cleaned it up great but the small ones, well did so so. Brian bought a 30 quart or so mixer. And my cousin 15 miles up the road has a soya extruder/feed mill. He has access to darn near anything that is used in feed & what not.

Be careful what soy you use.  The recommended soy has been properly toasted under controlled conditions to de-activate the harmful enzymes that are normal in soy.

> If you are unable to help please let me know who might be able to.

"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music." -- Friedrich Nietzsche

My recipes and instructions are at http://honeybeeworld.com/misc/pollen/default.htm

It is the same formula that Global uses and has proven very effective.  Beekeepers report it is as effective as anything they have tried and Medhat found it increased brood rearing as well as the other formulas he tried, including BeePro.  We found it improved our overall success, year round when fed in spring.  Global tried leaving out the soy, since some California beekeepers prefer to use just yeast, but they found the texture was sloppy and besides, nobody bought them.  Everyone likes the regular ones, and the ones with some irradiated (US grown) pollen included are the most popular.

In Medhat's' test, one beekeeper provided patties that the bees ate well, but which gave no results!

I really recommend that anyone who is planning to feed should call Global first to see if there are stocks nearby and what the price is, since the cost may be the same or cheaper than making the patties at home, and you can be sure that the right ingredients are used -- plus, you know they are fresh. 

There are so many things that can go wrong when obtaining the ingredients and mixing them up, I prefer to leave it to the pros.  Many beekeepers figure they will save a few dollars or come up with something better, but there is the huge risk of making a mistake, using the wrong yeast or soy, getting old stock, or adding something that is detrimental.  Beekeepers seldom run a control and have no idea if their home-made feeds are actually doing more harm than good. 

I have actually seen this happen over and over.  In Medhat's' test, one beekeeper provided patties that the bees ate well, but which gave no results!  (This beekeeper is no dummy. He has been a major contributor and is hugely respected in the bee industry, but he had no clue). It turned out that he had material left over from previous years and had used it in the patties -- a total waste of time.  The bees did no better or worse than if nothing had been fed.

Sorry if this sounds like a lecture.  Probably it is Smile emoticon, but I have spent so much time on this and seen some crazy things fed, and of course no card-carrying honest-to-god beekeeper would ever just feed the stuff to a few colonies first to see how well it works, so they never really know.

-11 | -10
Chance of Snow
-8 | -3
Chance of Snow
-19 | -7
Chance of Snow
-15 | -14
By the way what is honey now worth in drums up north?

Seems the honey parkers are playing games as always. One of the big players in Kansas knocked the price down to $1.23 for white. But one of there contract truckers tells us that they can not seem to get any bought for this price.

We have half a load left to sell & I think it is sold for $1.40 drum exchange. We delivered some to Omaha last week for $1.50.

The small packers have upped there shelf price & are having no problems selling a quality product. We had a grocery store in our family for almost 40 years. Grandpa & my dad always told me that when times were tough people will still stay at home & cook a good meal.

People in the United States are becoming so cautious as to the county of origin for food stuffs in the past year or so it just blows my mind.


Maybe someone will respond with some more prices.  Last I heard, the price was $1.50 in Canada for white.  Our dollar is around $0.82, so actually that means $1.23 US.

I spent an hour out blowing snow off the driveways in the afternoon.  The weather has moderated a bit.  It appears we will be right in the normal range for the next few days.

Monday, January 5th, 2009
Sunny High -6C  Low -17C
Normals: Max: -5C Min: 17C
Sunrise 0839  Sunset 1638

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

Honey Bee World ForumHoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home

The Chinook blew in last night after midnight and temperatures have risen.  I was afraid that my snow blowing efforts might drift in, but it appears there was little drifting in spite of strong winds.

I took a look at BEE-L.  Seems the boys (where are the girls?) are playing nice over there.  Nothing earth-shattering, but decent, informed discussion.  I suppose, if history can be a guide, someone will decide to start an uproar and it will get through moderation.  That is the reason for my one-month rule.  Every so often things get civilized and the level of discussion goes up, and people get their hopes up, but then someone has to bring it down. The list never makes it through an entire month without some sort of debacle.  I'd love to be proven wrong, but this is the cycle, and moderation never sees it happening -- or enjoys the mess.

This is not a problem for some, but each go-round, the more sensitive and mannerly people (and the women?) tend to leave the room or simply shut up, so this process continually selects the list participants and determines the evolution and direction of the list.  We all know that there are many knowledgeable people who could and would contribute a lot to BEE-L and some have made an effort in the past, but we have seen them driven out by ignorant and insensitive comments or by the low level of some discussion.

I understand that the list tries to be all things to all people, but as such it fails all but the most persistent adherents.  Some cite the ideal of "Free Speech", but fail to understand that on a narrow channel, this is an impossibility.  The flow must be managed.  A list is a narrow channel.  Some have tried to get around this limitation by establishing forums, which allow parallel access, rather than serial like a list, but, of course, what happens is the participants splinter off into small interest groups and seldom meet.  A well-run  and well-weeded list can offer a spectrum of ideas, but the narrowness of the channel must be understood, and chatter and posts falling below a threshold must be suppressed to make it useable and high-grade.  Slashdot and some other forums have an interesting way of including all input, but not displaying the least useful or popular.  Unfortunately this impossible on a list, unless the sub-list feature or a nested list feature is invoked.

A budget is just a method of worrying before you spend money, as well as afterward.  -- Anonymous

El and I are both feeling a bit under the weather today: aches and pains and tired. The temperature did get up above freezing in the afternoon, so I went out and started the forklift and tried to move the car, which was blocking the doors.  It would not start and I found the new battery was completely flat.  The key had been left slightly on.  I boosted it, moved it and left the charger on it.  I hope the battery was not damaged by freezing.  It was not bulged, so maybe we'll be lucky. 

All this was in order to get at the snowmobile.  I got it out, gave it a shot of ether and it fired right up.  I took a quick run and noticed it was a bit sluggish and smelled of gas.  On examination, I found that one of the fuel hoses had cracked at the nipple and gas was pouring out.   That was quickly fixed and I took another short run.  I'll have to do something about the missing windshield, I suppose -- the wind is cold and snow comes up over the cowling when hitting drifts -- and dress up a bit, then take a run around the country.  We are expecting some warmer weather for the next few days.

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009
Increasing clouds High -7C  Low -15C
Normals: Max: -5C Min: 17C
Sunrise 0839  Sunset 1640

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

Honey Bee World ForumHoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home

I  was planning to go to Calgary today, since I have things to do and my sailing club meets tonight, but we'll see.  I still have aches and pains.

I notice that, immediately after my comment yesterday, a woman posted to BEE-L.  It was only one line or so, but...

   *    *    *    *    *    *    *   

I went to Calgary and did some shopping before attending the Bluewater Cruising Association meeting.  This is a group of hardcore sailors, usually couples who sail small boats across oceans.  Two thirds of them are currently offshore somewhere in the world.  One couple sitting across from me are currently tied up in London, England and just flew home for a few days.  They spend much of their time in the Mediterranean, but plan to take their boat up to Sweden this summer.

An economic forecaster is like a cross-eyed javelin thrower: they don't win many accuracy contests, but they keep the crowd's attention. -- Anonymous

The shopping?  I bought more memory for both laptops: 1GB for the Gateway MX6424 XP Pro machine to take it to 1.5GB, and 2GB for the Acer Aspire 5630 (Vista Home) to take it to 3 GB.  The Gateway memory was much more expensive at $79, the 2GB stick was only $40.  I may buy another later for a total of 4GB.  Although Vista can normally only use three, it can be configured to use 4. (Refs: 1. 2 3  4)  I also bought some yeast, acid and nutrients for mead making, and some groceries on the way home.

When I pulled into the SuperStore gas bar to fill up, my card was refused.  That particular card, and only that card, gets me a 10c/litre coupon with purchase, and it is fully paid up, so I was surprised and annoyed.  I went into the store, and phoned.  After the usual bevy of annoying canned messages and a short wait, I was told that there was suspected fraud on the account and that the card would be replaced in 7 to 10 days.  All I can say is that it is a good thing I carry more than one card -- and cash.  There is a lesson in there somewhere.  these days with banks under the gun, they are not to be trusted.

I have told my beekeeping friends to be sure they do not need their operating loans, but to take term loans where they can, and raise cash because the banks, when they get into a crunch, cut loans, and will even cut off the best of customers first, because they are the easiest to collect from!  That money in your account today is not yours if the bank yanks your loans.  Your cheques will bounce.  It is also wise to keep a week or two's supply of cash on hand in case there is a bank holiday or credit card crisis. (Coming soon to your neighbourhood?)

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009
Increasing clouds High -9C  Low -17C
Normals: Max: -5C Min: 17C
Sunrise 0838  Sunset 1641

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

Honey Bee World ForumHoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home

Another dull, cold day.  I have some new toys to play with, though: memory to install.  Hopefully the extra 512K will help the Gateway run virtual machines better.  My Linux distros need more memory for video to give better smoothing of fonts and images.

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A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.
Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

I spent some time reading BEE-L this morning.  I have to say that the information flow is excellent, with a variety of participants.  In fact, the flow is getting a bit too heavy, with a chat component creeping in.  This gets to be the problem.  Ideally, people should contribute well-considered, well-researched and well-written articles.  Whenever that happens, though, there are inevitably questions, and, while that leads to clarifications and insights it can also break down into chatter.  Some contributors are more prone to that than others.

I received Malcolm's newsletter by email, too.  (Subscribe here).  I don't really know what to think about it anymore.  It used to be a very useful newsletter, but lately has just become a tout for Bee Culture magazine (BC). Frankly, writing for a commercial enterprise saps creativity.  That is why I quit writing for BC myself.  I enjoyed writing what I knew and was inspired about, but when writing what was requested, I started feeling like a whore, and just could not do it with a feeling of integrity.

Malcolm has one of the most incisive minds and can be a very good writer when it come to beekeeping, but I'm afraid he has lost interest, or been used up by reading and distilling BC, and the newsletter shows it.  Oh, well.  Every dog has his day, and everything passes.  IMO, he should let someone else synopsise Bee Culture and put his efforts into writing something more useful to readers.  The BC stuff can still tag along at the end for anyone who does not get BC.  For most of us who are expecting to get Malcolm's insights, that whole section is a huge annoyance.  I'd unsubscribe, but keep hoping...

While shopping last night, picking up the memory, I stood near a large screen TV and felt heat radiating out of it.  Wow! I thought.  What does this thing draw?  I asked, and the clerk looked it up.  "800 Watts", was the answer.  Wow!  That is equivalent o a small space heater.  I had read that power consumption varies a lot between models, so this is definitely something to think about when purchasing.

   *    *    *    *    *    *    *   

The skep
Its enthusiasts

Many new amateur beekeepers adopt the modern hive for its frames and appearance. A good number of owners of skeps nevertheless remain faithful to their system. The majority are wise country folk who prefer certainty, even probability. But the years pass without them seeing evidence of their mistake.

Here is an observation that leads to the same conclusion. In the village where I was born each family had its apiary. Each winter, all my childhood friends ate an abundance of delicious bread and honey, just as I did.

Twenty years later, I was the only person who had beehives. In some gardens, there was an abandoned Dadant or Layens hive, empty of course. The owners had let themselves be tempted by the advertisement of some on displays at agricultural shows. They believed they would do better with these modern hives. In fact they abandoned the only hive that suited them.

Those who read these pages regularly know that I have reservations about the modern hive.  In looking through Malcolm's newsletter, I noticed a link to a site that has this book available.  Here (at right) is an excerpt.

I haven't read the whole thing and I'm not too sure about Warre hive, especially with its many top bars.  I'm more inclined to think that bottom supering with empty boxes that have crossbars to attach the comb, like a migratory skep and that the supers should be removed by pulling through a wire when the time comes for that job.  On the other hand, one of the characteristics of skep beekeeping is that hives that get strong should swarm, and that is how increase is obtained.

   *    *    *    *    *    *    *   

Have mentioned Maxthon lately?  Maxthon2 is simply the best browser.  Check it out.

That having been said, I just downloaded Safari for Windows to check it out.  I have quite a few browsers (Firefox, Maxthon, Micro$oft Internet Exploder 8 (beta), Opera 10 (beta), Konquerer, Lynx, and some I forget) and run some or all of them on at least seven different operating systems (Ubuntu, Fedora, Windows XP and Vista, Windows server 2003, DSL, Knoppix) , but I have to say that at first blush, Safari looks FAST!

   *    *    *    *    *    *    *   

Making Sense out of Chaos Dept. (Not).  One of the things I have learned in this long life is to never take a lesson where there is none.  People really want to see patterns where there are none, or the Rorschach test would never have caught on.

I notice that pretty well everyone now actually believes that global warming is mostly a man-made phenomenon.  To me, this is amazing, but what can we expect?  As history has been recorded, the world has been dominated by people with contradictory and preposterous ideas that were believed at the time but now look silly.

Faith is believing what you know ain't so. -- Mark Twain (1835-1910)

Personally, I do believe that the world is warming in recent years, but I am also aware that the world has been warming at the current pace, with some fluctuation, for thousands of years.  This process began long before humans became a significant environmental influence -- if you don't count hunting quite a few large mammals to extinction -- and in fact, it is that very warming that has made possible the current human population explosion!

Peter D. sent me this URL  It is interesting, but not too meaningful to me. Climate fluctuates.  Greenland had farmland not too long ago.  The Northwest Passage was open early in the last century. How soon we forget.

This Anthropogenic Global Warming argument (AGW) is almost totally bogus IMO, but it is a great profit centre and nobody finds it practical to point out that the Emperor has no clothes.  It is so convenient; everyone gets something out of this new religion. Some get authority, some get money, some get something to believe in or fear -- and we all get a much needed excuse to cut back on real forms of pollution and excess consumption as we embark on this quixotic venture.

AGW is sorta like the CCD in the States.  Nobody can really nail it down, even after all this time, and maybe it does not really exist, bujt what does that matter?  Almost nobody cares or dares cry "fake", since everybody is making tons of money off it and people won't bite the hand that feeds them.  It is perfect.  Beekeepers get compensation or a cover for carelessness and/or bad luck, researchers get tons of money and everyone gets sympathy.  Bonus!

Thursday, January 8th, 2009
Chance of flurries High -11C  Low -26C
Normals: Max: -5C Min: 17C
Sunrise 0838  Sunset 1642

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

Honey Bee World ForumHoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home

"We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten." Bill Gates

Time flies.  It's Thursday already.

I took a look at BEE-L and see that BEE-L moderation is permitting personal slams against researchers -- still!  I have ranted and raved about this to no avail.  Such traffic has cost BEE-L is reputation.  Researchers shun the list due to the bad manners and bashing going on periodically and enabled by permissive moderation.   I really don't know why bother with moderation at all if this type of content is permitted.  What is the point? 

You have to ask yourself this: if this is publically funded list run on a university server, howcum almost no university and exactly zero government (USDA/URS) people post there anymore?   Sure, the writer has a point, and maybe he is even right, but the same thing could have been said politely and without an personal attack.  Sad.  Frankly, I think it is time the U at A shut the list down.

I give up.  I can see now that I'll never return to BEE-L.  This is trash.  I was right to leave the previous time and any thought of returning is proving unrealistic.  I think I'll check out BeeSource again, although I doubt it is any better.  I do have my list, but after a bit of a start, it has little traffic.  I could promote it and feed material into it, but I am really not motivated.

   *    *    *    *    *    *    *   

Looking back over the past few days, my writing could be construed as being a bit negative.  Actually, I feel quite positive about these various things in the sense that to me identifying and discussing something is the beginning of changing it.  Usually, at least, but I can see I will never change BEE-L, so I have to move on -- again.  As for the AGW crowd, well, it gives me something to laugh at and a perfect proof that people can believe anything, when I am doubting my own sanity.  I really should appreciate Malcolm's epistles more, or unsubscribe, and I should run some skeps.  After all I have a hundred or so standard hives, and no skeps!

   *    *    *    *    *    *    *   

OK.  I went to BeeSource and was impressed right off, having hit the commercial/pollination section.  I prefer email lists, since they are easier to navigate -- things either come or they don't, but this may just be fine.  We'll see.  Last time I spent any time there, I was not too impressed, but seem there are some real beekeepers there now.  I get tired of posers.

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My computer adventures are proceeding.  I'm running a variety of operating systems and finding they all need constant updating -- even the Linux distros.

What does this mean? Is it possible that:

  • things are improving so fast that we can't be without enhancements?

  • the original version was so badly flawed that we can't go one more day without it falling apart?

  • the software is so complex that nobody knows how it really works until it breaks?

  • bandits out there are so smart that they are breaking in all over the place?

  • progress is accelerating to the point where we will have updates twice a day and a whole new O/S every week as a result?

If these O/Ss were automobiles, they would have to be rebuilt or patched every time we pulled in for gas.

Anyhow, the added memory did help the XP machine run the VM, but 1.5 GB is still not a lot and having 2 GB, like the other machine has, makes a big difference.  The XP machine has been running slow and stalling (I really give my machines a workout), so I uninstalled IE8 beta from both machines.  I think I see a difference.  I thought the browsers were faster when I installed IE8, now I think the machines are faster with it gone.  Hmmm.

Having felt a desperate need for a 1 terabyte external drive, I find that one week after buying it I have not stored one byte on it, although I did partition it into two, with FAT 32 and a NTFS partitions.  The reason for that is that FAT won't manage files over 4 GB and I have several VMs that are over 20.

Friday, January 9th, 2009
Chance of flurries High -8C  Low -9C
Normals: Max: -5C Min: 17C
Sunrise 0837  Sunset 1644

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

Honey Bee World ForumHoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home

Seeing as it is currently minus nineteen, I don't see how the low for the day will be minus nine (above).

I installed the 2GB stick into the Acer and was surprised to open System Information and see:

Installed Physical Memory (RAM) 3.00 GB
Total Physical Memory 3.00 GB
Available Physical Memory 1.458 GB

Where did it all go?  Is the new stick being used?  What is "Available Physical Memory"?  Is it static or dynamic?

I started a VM, refreshed the System Info, and saw Available Physical Memory drop to "Available Physical Memory 0.98 GB".  That is good.  If I still had two GB on board, I'd have run out, or the system would be swapping more pages out.  At $40 a 2GB stick, I may just go for one more.  The memory for the Gateway is much more expensive, and although I'd love top take it up to 2GB, I wonder if it is worth it.  It is an older machine now, with broken hinges, so is only used at home.  Another $79 is 10% of the way up to a new machine with 3 or 4 GB, a larger drive and a new O/S, besides, I am really tempted by that Acer One for $399.

   *    *    *    *    *    *    *   

My bees are still unwrapped and it is getting to be the time when they benefit from wrapping.  In early winter, the bees don't need wraps, but as the bees age and the cluster gets smaller and brooding approaches, wraps make a huge difference.  Maybe today.  I had hoped that Jean and Mckenzie would be going skiing today, but I guess not, so I have an excuse to do the wrapping.  It will take an hour, max, and I have everything ready. 

It looks like a good day for a snowmobile ride as well.

   *    *    *    *    *    *    *   

Taken from Ubuntu site :

Wubi allows users to install and uninstall Ubuntu like any other Windows application. It does not require a dedicated partition, nor does it affect the existing bootloader, yet users can experience a dual-boot setup almost identical to a full installation. Wubi works with a physical CD or in stand-alone mode, by downloading an appropriate ISO to install from. It can be found on the root of the CD as Wubi.exe. A full installation within a dedicated partition is still recommended, but Wubi is a great way to try Ubuntu for a few days and weeks before committing dedicated disk resources.

For anyone who wants to try Ubuntu without fuss or muss, here is a solution.

Wubi installs Ubuntu 8.10 on your Windows machine without any hassle.  I think that, from my experience, though, that a machine with at least a GB or two and a sizeable HD is advisable.  The download is almost a gig, and the install needs five GB minimum.  Ubuntu is really fun and has plenty of free software.  I haven't tried wubi, since I have the .iso already, and several Ubuntu installs running already, and when I tried the wubi downloader, the process said it would take twelve hours.  Apparently it is not supposed to take more than a few minutes, so I blame my Internet connection or bad timing.  Maybe the servers were bogged with requests, since Wubi was recently publicised.

Actually, if you have the Ubuntu ISO (get it here) burned to a disk, it turns out that the download is unnecessary!  See http://blogs.zdnet.com/hardware/?p=1570 for details!

OK.  Here goes.  I'm rebooting the XP machine with the Ubuntu 8.10 CD, burned from the downloaded ISO.  Should I do a side-by-side install, or use wubi?  The wubi install can be moved to a USB stick and carried around.  I have a 8GB stick handy. Hang on...


It's up. 

I'm now checking the CD (DVD actually) for defects.  Always a good idea to be sure it does not have a fatal defect that could cause a crash in mid-install. 

Result = No errors found


Next: A memory check from the CD menu again.  Good idea with new memory installed.

(While it is running, and this takes a long while, I'm reading BeeSource Check this out.

I'm also looking this site over.  Some interesting CCD comments.  I decided to join.

OK.  Memory is OK.  I decided to install.  After a bunch of CD activity, the Welcome screen is up. (I worry about blowing away my XP installation, but am assured by my reading that I won't).

I'm answering questions.  The release notes did not come up. Now the partitioner has started.  It thinks a bit and now shows me the disk and suggests Ubuntu would like 28% or 18.9 GB.  I can't recall how much that leaves for Windows beyond what is in current use.  I look at the alternatives and say, "OK", then, "Continue".

Well, the partitioner sat a long time, then threw an error.  I went to the next step and it showed the whole disk being committed to Ubuntu if I proceeded.  I exited and prayed that Windows had not been wiped out.  Thankfully. I saw Windows start to boot, but then stop at a disk check recommendation.  I chose to check, and checkdisk is running...

Well, thankfully XP is coming up.  I'll be interested to see what the HD allocation looks like.  Hmmm.  80 GB total.  I thought there was more than that.  Oh, well.  I'll try wubi now.

Minutes later, I am done installing and am now rebooting and find I am at  boot menu.  I choose Ubuntu, and here it comes, booting from the HD...  The Ubuntu Emblem with a moving line and .... Nothing.  Black screen. No disk action.  Nothing.  I wait.

Five minutes should be long enough.  I try again.  This time the X server starts and the installation begins.

A few reboots later, we are running Ubuntu.  The screen resolution does not look quite right and the network does not seem to be connected.  Hmmmm.  Work to do.

Rebooting hangs again.  Again Hmmmm.

OK.  It's up again.  Still no wireless Internet recognised.  I hook up a cable.  That works, and start updating... 219 updates are waiting for this new installation.  The marquee  says 12 hours, then 2 hours, then 14 hours...

   *    *    *    *    *    *    *   

The weather has proven to be cool and breezy.  Hardly a great outdoors day.  We went to Drum to shop and have supper with the Meijers.  Sam showed up, too.

On returning home I finished the updates on Ubuntu and a few small problems cleared up.  I also discovered the Wubi wiki, with lots of info.  For some reason, I did not see it on the main page.  It would have come in handy.  I still don't know if I have some free space on my HD. 

Saturday, January 10th, 2009
Chance of flurries High 1C  Low -10C
Normals: Max: -5C Min: 17C
Sunrise 0837  Sunset 1645

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

Honey Bee World ForumHoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home

Looks like a nice few days coming up. 

I got some feedback in my AWG comments several days back and a ref to this site.  I don't really want to get into this debate, since arguing with the converted is a waste of time.  I should refer those who can read charts, though to the chart which was behind Al Gore in "An inconvenient Truth" (BTW, for PDFs, uninstall Adobe Reader and install Foxit -- much faster/better).

A close examination shows that although there is a correlation between CO2 levels, sea levels, and temperature, no definite cause and effect can be proven between CO2 and temperature, using this data because sometimes the temperature rises before the CO2 and sometimes the reverse.  In fact in the current warming, the CO2 obviously follows the temperature rise.  There are plenty of reasons for this, since the topic is complex.  Suffice it to say that the proof is just not there, in this chart at least, and we must remember that this chart is quite contrived by superimposing data that is deduced on other data which is only deduced, using arbitrary scales.  If you are a thinking person, you might also wonder how and where they measured sea level, since the continents rise and fall and drift over periods of time.  Seems somewhat subjective to me, but interesting.

I imagine everyone is familiar with the news that Y2K Caused the Global Warning PanicMore  More

So much for that (I hope).

   *    *    *    *    *    *    *   

In the afternoon, it warmed up enough that I was out blowing snow in my shirtsleeves for a half-hour or so.

   *    *    *    *    *    *    *   

> I have a request for heating 80 drums of honey per week. Any hints for a good design of heating room.

I have built several, and seen quite a few set-ups. and there are a few things one needs to know.

I am assuming the intent is to melt the honey or to get it soft enough to come out of the barrels.

Melting hardened honey right in the drums is not ideal, since the drums are not stainless steel and, under heat, some chemical leaching from paint is possible if the drums are not the very best.

Also, it takes time for heat to soak through to the middle of the drum. Therefore the outside honey, which melts first, is kept much hotter much longer than ideal -- and much longer than necessary under other, better methods.

Nonetheless, it is a good idea to warm drums up to 30 or 35 degrees C for a few days or a week before melting in any kind of hot room so that the actual melting takes the minimum time possible.

Most honey plants I have seen invert drums in a hot box (~50 degrees C) over a grid of pipes with circulated hot water (50-70 degrees C). That way, the air is hot enough to liquefy the honey that is in contact with the drums and the whole slug of honey slides down under its own weight, and is pressed by gravity against the hot pipes which quickly melt it so that it runs quickly away from the heat, down into the tank below.

The 3 to 4 cm stainless steel or galvanized pipes are separated by about 4 to 5 cm, so the honey drops in sheets as it melts into the tank below and which is stirred and heated to slightly above the melting point of the honey.

This way, the honey is melted quickly and not in contact with higher heat for long. If melted in drums, the outer honey has to get quite hot for quite a while until the heat penetrates in to the centre of the drum, or the process will take a very long time. Since melting honey, like melting ice takes a lot of heat, this is slow. Also, when the last of the honey finally melts, the temperature may suddenly jump up, since there is no solid honey left to absorb the heat being applied.
  More below.

   *    *    *    *    *    *    *   

Speaking of hot rooms, my wife and I decided around four this afternoon that we need a sauna (she is a Finn).  Actually, it was my idea.  I've been planning to build one for a long time, but we are not beside a lake and don't need a family-size sauna and the energy needs that big sauna has.  I has seen one of those tiny, dry saunas on sale at Canadian Tire for an affordable price, and it is cool here on the prairie in winter, even in  a large, well-heated building like this.  The debate: whether a hot box with no running water or drain is really a sauna.  I think we agreed that it is not, but sauna is just a word.  A hot closet with a shower nearby can serve.  We read the reviews online and decided that the six out of seven buyers giving high ratings outvoted the only complainer.

So, we phoned the stores and finally found a store with one left, and got into the van.  It is a 65 mile drive one way.  I left at 5 and was back by 8.  By 8:15 we had it unpacked and by 8:30, we had agreed where to put it.

By 9, it was plugged in and running.  At 10, Ellen went to have a sauna and found it had quit (it apparently takes about an hour to get good and hot).  I looked at it and played with the controls -- digital, of course -- and found that it worked fine until I activated the elements -- or even turned on the light.  I worried that the controls were bad and the warranty says to send it to the factory in Quebec and they will decide whether to be helpful or not.  It weighs 300lbs, ...some warranty!.  I was starting to side with the complainer.

Then a flashbulb went off and I looked up and realized that the power connection must be poor.  Whenever any load was applied to the circuit, the voltage must be dropping below the level required to run the controls. I plugged it in an extension and now expect to be soaking up some heat shortly   Here I go...

Sunday, January 11th, 2009
Chance of flurries High 4C  Low -12C
Normals: Max: -5C Min: 17C
Sunrise 0836  Sunset 1646

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

Honey Bee World ForumHoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home

How was the sauna, you ask? (I'm used to saying, 'steam bath', but this unit has no steam). It was OK.  Not great, but OK.  When I got in the temp was 122 F, since it was midnight and I was not willing to wait another half-hour to see if it would make it to 166 as advertised.  The temperature did climb 10 degrees while I was in there.  We'll see.  It is definitely better than nothing and will be a boon for times when we are feeling a bit chilled.  I think adding a steam kettle might be a good idea, as well.

A dysfunctional family is a family in which conflict, misbehaviour and even abuse on the part of individual members of the family occur continually, leading other members to accommodate such actions... Much more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dysfunctional_family 

Here is an interesting comment that pretty well proves what I have been saying.  Several others have commented in the same vein. The remnant on BEE-L seems to like the distractions.

 "I've been lurking and reading every word of bee-l for years. I've seen things get feisty and usually get some entertainment value from it. To characterize Jims post as "vitriolic" may itself contain some vitriol. I didn't see it and was surprised at your note".

 I don't know what to think.  Some of the people I find worthwhile friends hang out here.  If I don't read it, I don't know what they are up to.  If I do read, I have to wade through garbage.  I guess I come to the same conclusion others have.  Read, but never post.  Comment and discuss off-line.

I've been reading BeeSource and the discussions look good.  The advantage is that everyone is not forced to share one channel and not subjected to abuse when one member goes rogue.  I see that BEE-L is in one of its regular spirals with everyone speculating in response to a simple question which has been answered.  I'm more and more convinced that people participating in BEE-L are there for the abuse as much or more than the discussion.  Dysfunctional family?  I think so, and have been saying so in so many words for some time. The only reason I have stuck it out so long is my long-time association with BEE-L from its better days and my friendship with Aaron.

Speaking of BeeSource, I am particularly interested in the patty feeding discussion.  It looks as if many of the participants in the discussion are hobbyists or part-timers, and more interested in playing with their bees than actually getting the job done right.  Some either cannot find the instructions or cannot read them.  Some are trying to reinvent the wheel and adding 'secret ingredients'.  One fellow is up to 10% lipids, if I read his posts correctly.  This should be interesting.

   *    *    *    *    *    *    *   

I have been interested in protein feeds for quite a long time and experimented and written quite a bit, but the fact remains that I know very little.  At any rate, I should accumulate everything I know somewhere accessible.

I think that I can claim to have planted the seed that grew into at least three of the supplements on the market.  Years back, we discussed the question on BEE-L and I became a strong advocate of feeding after I saw what good feed had done for our own hives.  With my neighbours, and the input from some large beekeepers in California who have fed yeast for many years, , I came up with a basic, inexpensive formula that worked and initially made it at home, then had a Hutterite Colony make it, followed by some fellows in Airdrie.  The Airdrie outfit grew into Global. Global uses that same formula -- among others -- to the present, and it has stood up against many other formulas in tests.  As far as bang for the buck is concerned, it is hard to beat.

Seeing as we were always looking to improve, I decided we needed to run trials and we (an informal consortium of commercial beekeepers) went looking for a student to hire.  We had hired Adony some time before and that had worked out well.  I approached several universities in the east and considered one particular student.  The supervisor wanted to make big bucks on the bee feed idea, though, and since we felt that this project was financed by beekeepers, then the formula should be open to all, declined. Moreover, we felt that no beekeeper should put anything into the hive that is unknown or proprietary due to contamination concerns.  That group went on the develop FeedBee -- a proprietary product.

Medhat wanted to to do the study, so he did one.  It proved we are on the right track.  His work proved out the yeast/soy/sugar/pollen formulas and also showed that FeedBee did not seem to measure up, at least in that test.  He also proved that old ingredients result in patties that do not work at all.

Even before that, I recall sitting in a bar in Phoenix with a large group of USDA scientists out on the town during convention.  I somehow wound up sitting beside a fellow I did not know and who was not exactly on the USDA payroll, but rather a researcher with a small Tucson company looking for a meaningful project.  He asked my opinion and I listed my top three at the time.  Nutrition was number one, resistant (non-susceptible) genetics was number two, and I forget number three.  At any rate, I gave him a huge sales pitch for the need for work on nutritional supplements and the need for a real pollen substitute, seeing as I really am lazy and have tried to inspire others to do the grunt work. The rest, as they say, is history.  There is a sequel to this, but that is for another time.

I guess I can claim one more credit -- indirectly .  Up until the new products came onto the market, Mann Lake offered a BeePro patty, but it was gooey, awkward, expensive and badly packaged.  After Global showed them how to do it, and how big the market actually was, they copied the Global format with their own secret concoction and dropped their prices drastically.

To this date work still remains to be done.  I have not tackled it, since it needs money, and quite a bit.  We need to refine the timing and amount of feed, the question of feeding during pollination, and what improvements can be made in the formulas.  I would take it on, but it is a huge, multi-year project, and perhaps should be international in scope.

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Each problem that I solved became a rule which served afterwards to solve other problems. -- Rene Descartes (1596 - 1650)

The sauna:  My wife used it this afternoon and rated it 5 out of 10.  That's pretty good, after all, she is a Finn  For me, my reference point is the saunas we used as kids.  They would hit 160 degrees, no problem, and if it was too hot on the top bench, you'd go down a bit.  In winter you'd roll in the snow, or occasionally chop/saw a hole in the ice and alternate soaking for five minutes in the ice water with ice slivers tinkling around you and sitting in the hot sauna.  Breathing was something to do carefully and blowing on your own skin, painful.  This sauna barely hit 137 after an hour or more and is cool on the floor.  It's OK, but definitely only a five.  That said, any sauna is better than none.  I'll likely add an auxiliary heater and a weatherstrip on the door.

I discovered why the unit was problematic last night.  That circuit had blown, but there is some sort of ground fault that keeps the circuit semi-alive when the breaker is off.  There was enough to run the electronics and fool me, but not enough for even the light.  That is something to think about if you turn off power and trust the fixtures are not live anymore.  Always short to neutral and ground before  playing with a 'dead' wire.

Monday, January 12th, 2009
Chance of flurries High 2C  Low -2C
Normals: Max: -5C Min: 17C
Sunrise 0834  Sunset 1648

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

Honey Bee World ForumHoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home

More mild weather.  I see we have hoar frost this morning  

The HoneyBeeWorld List seems to be taking off lately.  There is some interesting discussion taking place there now.

I started the forklift and took out some ashes today.  (We burn coal).  I had intended to wrap the hives, but the time ran out, and tomorrow looks to be warmer yet.  I prefer not to disturb the bees any more than necessary late in the day when it is cold out.

Ellen went to Drum and took her work out of the gallery there, having grown tired of the politics.  Her work can be seen on her website.

I spent quite a bit of time on the list and reading, plus did some cleanup.  I have a lot of that to do.

It is looking as if I am going to have to start spending more time on bee nutrition.  In recent years, interest has grown and people are getting quite inventive.  Is there anything to these ideas?  See my comments further down.

The chart at right was offered by Juanse Barros.


I have found this interesting graph which provides hard evidence on the temperature behaviour "at the centre" of the drums installed in groups of 32 in a room set up to 45 C.

It took five days for the center to arrive to "room" temperature 45.

Maybe a good input to your diary post is this graph or some data of your  own.

20.00 68.00

Thanks for that. I have done that and I'd appreciate the source, so I can give appropriate credit. Any accompanying information would be useful, as well.

We note that the honey hit 40 degrees at the end of day 3, and the total is liquid then.

We do not know the temperature of the room and if it is changed over time or how the air is circulated. I would assume it is decreased after day 3, since the temperature of the honey drops after peaking. We also do not know if the honey in the drum is stirred. The equation is not explained, either.

Holding some kinds of honey at such temperatures for that length of time could cause serious darkening and flavour change. Other sorts are hardly affected. The problem is that we never know until after.

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009
Sunny with cloudy periods High 5C  Low -13C
Normals: Max: -5C Min: -17C
Sunrise 0835  Sunset 1649

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

Honey Bee World ForumHoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home

There is talk of rain today.  It is currently plus 6 and, although we are expecting temps to drop, I see my snowmobile snow fading away.

From the HoneyBeeWorld List

> I just spoke to a commercial beek that feeds very high concentration of  canola oil (can't remember percent, but above 10%) and feels that bees do > well.

That is what scares me. Beekeepers often 'feel', not measure or compare. Beekeepers read literature and misunderstand the context, units of measure, geometry and history (small cell?), or the syntax and get 'notions'. I see it all the time. As a result, they may be doing things that actually hinder the bees and never know they are shooting themselves in the foot. What possible justification can there be for such high levels of lipids? And I guess I should ask, is that based on dry weight, wet weight -- or what? For that matter, I know beekeepers who cannot even calculate percentage reliably, but who can talk very convincingly. Beekeepers talk to one another and an idea reinforces itself each time it goes around the loop. Can we expect 20% lipids soon?

Fear does not have any special power unless you empower it by submitting to it.
Les Brown, Communication Bulletin for Managers & Supervisors, June 2004

Apologies if I sound (what is the word?) incredulous, unconvinced... I have to confess that I really have not done my homework and may not have been in the loop lately, and I am writing here to get straightened out, so straighten me out :)

> I've spoken with Zack about ethyl oleate, but didn't ask him if he suspected consumption of oleic acid would contribute. I've done some > searching on metabolic pathways, with no luck.

I wrote to Zack, but have not heard back yet. I also invited him to join in. Please mention the list to other people who will not get involved in a public list where they are exposed to abuse, and promise we will do our best to protect members (and non-members) from such treatment.

To me the question is much like cholesterol in the human diet. It was long assumed that consumption of cholesterol would result in elevated cholesterol on the blood. It has been proven not to be so simple, and to be only true in a small subset of the population, and not true in the majority of people.

My goal in feeding is not only to do good, but to do no harm, and to use a formula that can be used at all times and all places with positive results that are measurable and which produce the most benefit from each marginal penny spent. This, of course, is a hard thing to comprehend, so if compromised have to be made, I prefer to make them, on the conservative side.

> Check my website under Nutrition for the formula that I am currently > testing with very good results.

OK. Are you running controls? (Maybe I will have an answer after reading).

BTW, feel free to copy and paste any interesting topic from anywhere into a message here, and please do invite those whom you respect to join us. Feel free to forward any messages you think worthwhile as examples.

The join-up or leave URL is at the bottom of every post.

 For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. Nelson Mandela (1918 - )

I went for a snowmobile ride in  the afternoon, but found the machine sluggish.  It normally can do 50 MPH, but was not doing more than about 20 today.  The snow is heavy, and that may be part of the problem, but I also think the gas in the tank is old, and the machine needs a tune-up.

I've been watching re-runs of Quantum Leap on DVD the past few evenings.  Quite entertaining.  As I recall, someone told me that Dean Stockwell (Al) was/is a member of a California/Arizona beekeeping family.

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009
Periods of rain mixed with snow High -8C  Low -9C
Normals: Max: -5C Min: -16C
Sunrise 0834  Sunset 1651

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

Honey Bee World ForumHoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home

> The best I have found about fatty acids in diet is Rob Manning thesis.
> http://adt.caul.edu.au/homesearch/find/?recordid=148811&format=main

--- begin excerpt ---

Of the 22 diets tested, pure redgum pollen diets gave the greatest life-span and those bees fed diets of pure sugar had the shortest life.

Honey bees fed a low-fat protein *concentrate* from soya bean flour had the longest life of the flours tested.

Adding pollen to soya bean flour diets improved longevity whereas the addition of pollen to lupin flour caused increased mortality.

Defatted and full-fat soya bean flours gave similar longevities and, despite large differences in fat content, the response to diet of head weight was negligible to the diets and no response was elicited by the queen bee to lay eggs which also indicated failed gland development of the worker bees.

The addition of fatty acid (oleic and linoleic) to pollen at different concentrations caused significant differences in longevity. Overall, the addition of both fatty acids to pollen did not improve longevity.

The addition of oleic acid to pollen greater than 2 % caused the longevity of bees to decrease, a poor head weight response and a failure of the queen to lay eggs.
The addition of linoleic acid greater than 6 % to pollen diets had a similar response.

As the percentage of oil was increased for both fatty acid additions, total consumption of the diet decreased.

Honey bees fed soya bean, lupin flour and sugar-only diets failed to accumulate linoleic acid in their body which was in contrast to honey bees fed pollen diets".

--- end excerpt ---

Thanks. I have been poring over this and concluded that, although it does not answer the question directly, the safest conclusion to draw from it is what I have heard before: that levels of lipids in soya flour formulations over a few percent can be counterproductive by reducing consumption and/or longevity.


We were planning to go the Red Deer today, but one look out the window made that look like a bad idea.  We are getting a heavy fall of fluffy snow -- the kind that blows badly when the wind starts up, making driving dangerous.  We are having a colder day today -- about normal -- but expect to return to above normal again tomorrow.

The days presently are getting noticeably longer at about three minutes a day. It has been 24 days since the winter solstice.  Back then, the Sunrise was at 0838 and Sunset at 1626, so we have gained 29 minutes.  Not only that, but the sun gets much higher in the sky and the colours are brighter.  As we approach the spring equinox, the change will accelerate, and the daily change is greatest at that time.

Things to follow up on:




Canola oil's fatty acid profile consists predominantly (over 90%) of the 18 carbon unsaturated fatty acids oleic acid, linoleic acid and linolenic acid.






Thursday, January 15th, 2009
Sunny with cloudy periods High 1C  Low -13C
Normals: Max: -5C Min: -16C
Sunrise 0833  Sunset 1652

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

Honey Bee World ForumHoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home

I blew out the driveway and started on the walk.  An extension cord that was under the snow got into the auger and that put an end to the snow blowing for the morning.  Ellen was in a hurry to go to Red deer, so off we went..

Friday, January 16th, 2009
Sunny with cloudy periods High -3C  Low -8C
Normals: Max: -5C Min: -16C
Sunrise 0832  Sunset 1654

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

Honey Bee World ForumHoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home

It took me an hour or so to pull the blower back straight, change the shear pin and oil and get outside.  It is warm and pleasant today.  I got the whole drive blown out and got a good workout in the process.  Although the machine is self-driven, it takes effort to guide it and turn it around.

Strange.  There is no traffic on either BEE-L or HoneyBeeWorld this morning.  Or this afternoon, with one or two exceptions.

BTW, if you write me and I don't respond, please write again.  My email is all screwed up and messages pile up or go over the dam.  I'm not stuck up or ignoring you.

The usual gang came for supper and we had a good evening.

Saturday, January 17tth, 2009
Sunny High 4C  Low -3C
Normals: Max: -5C Min: -16C
Sunrise 0832  Sunset 1654

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

Honey Bee World ForumHoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home

Our warm spell continues.  We're going to lose a lot of snow in the next few days, by the look of things.

I cleaned up the shop and did a few other tasks.  The sauna now works fairly well.  I added an electric frying pan on the floor and can splash some water on it to make steam.  We're finally achieving 144 degrees F, and that makes for a decent sauna.

Sunday, January 18th, 2009
Sunny High 8C  Low -7C
Normals: Max: -5C Min: -16C
Sunrise 0830  Sunset 1657

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

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Our warm spell continues.  Days are getting longer fast, and then sun has some warmth now.  That does not mean we are out of the woods.  We've had a week of minus forty in February before.

Here is a some talk about honey prices.

We continue to talk about bee nutrition on The HoneyBeeWorld List.  I started compiling a list of resources.

I blew some more snow today and cleared off the walks.  We are now into more pleasant weather and I took the snowmobile out for a spin.  It is still acting up.  I'm afraid I'm going to have to strip it down and do some serious fixing.

I wrapped most of the hives today.  I probably should have done it sooner.  The job took fifteen minutes at most.  They are all up top.  In spite of being in three boxes, one looked a little short of honey.

Monday, January 19th, 2009
Sunny High 7C  Low -10C
Normals: Max: -5C Min: -16C
Sunrise 0829  Sunset 1659

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

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The Internet here was down most of the day.

I've buried myself in too much reading lately.  I'm looking at bee nutrition and trying to figure if there are any easy, cheap answers.  So far, it looks as if we are pretty much on the money with the formula we chose years ago.  There are plenty of ideas out there, and some formulas can beat the yeast/soy/sugar/pollen rations, BUT, they either cost a lot more and give less bang for the buck, or use ingredients that spoil.

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009
Sunny High 4C  Low -17C
Normals: Max: -5C Min: -16C
Sunrise 0828  Sunset 1700

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

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I'm off to Three Hills this afternoon.  I have several computer problems.  My Gateway has a broken hinge and chassis from being dropped once too often, and my Acer has an annoyingly bad touchpad that suddenly goes crazy and takes over the cursor, bouncing it up and down.

Last summer, a cousin was out and I found her optical drive and networking was acting up.  I asked around and found that there is a kid in Three Hills who collects old laptops and has used parts for just about everything.  He works in the local hardware store and they allow him to do a little fixing on the side. He dealt with the problem at that time very nicely, and I contacted him about my current problems, so now I'm off to see him and look into fixing these annoyances.

I went to town and saw the guy.  I had assumed he would be ready for me.  He wasn't.  Looks like I'll have to disassemble the machines and take the parts to him unless I want to be without the computers for some time.

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009
Sunny High -3C  Low -11C
Normals: Max: -5C Min: -16C
Sunrise 0827  Sunset 1702

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

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Thursday, January 22nd, 2009
Chance of flurries High -10C  Low -22C
Normals: Max: -5C Min: -16C
Sunrise 0825  Sunset 1704

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

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I've been having a good time over on BeeSource, if you don't count being hassled by a slow learner.  Rather than reproduce them here, I'll give this link.  You'll have to register on the site to read, though.  I set my options that way.  You won't regret looking the site over, if you pick and choose your threads,  One of the big advantages of the forum format is the fact that there are parallel streams, so you can pick your topics and expertise levels, assuming that people respect them.  You can also set members on ignore.  I've never done that before, but if you read my posts, you won't have hard time guessing...

Friday, January 223rd, 2009
Cloudy with sunny periods High -20C  Low -27C
Normals: Max: -5C Min: -16C
Sunrise 0824  Sunset 1706

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

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Ellen & I drove to Calgary and took our passports in for renewal.  The process took four hours by the time we got our pictures taken at the AMA, went downtown, filled in the forms, got El's picture retaken and delivered back to the passport people.  Nonetheless, that is better than taking chances on applying by mail.  That can take well over a month, especially if the pictures are not accepted the first time around.

Saturday, January 24th, 2009
Cloudy with sunny periods High -19C  Low -27C
Normals: Max: -5C Min: -16C
Sunrise 0823  Sunset 1707

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

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Sunday, January 25th, 2009
Sunny High -13C  Low -25C
Normals: Max: -5C Min: -16C
Sunrise 0822  Sunset 1709

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

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Shirley had computer problems.  She got hit by Antivirus 360.  It's a nasty Trojan that pretends to be an Antivirus program on your computer.  You pick it up by visiting clipart and other such websites or by clicking on the wrong ads.  It takes over your computer and no matter what your click on the first popup, it installs and then keeps nagging, claiming your computer is infected with a list of nasty things, when actually it is the only nasty actually on your machine.  It insists you visit its website and pay to have the nasties removed.  Don't do it, but you may find that you cannot connect to any other site.   If you are smart enough to realise the first popup is bogus, kill your browser without clicking the popup and you should be safe.

If not, then you need the removal tool, and probably have to download the instructions and the tool on another computer that still works and transfer the file to the infected machine with a card, disk, or pen drive. You will have to rename the executable tool after installing, since otherwise the trojan will shut it down.  The trojan will also not allow you update the tool -- it blocks the Internet, remember, so after you run it and remove what you find, reboot, start it again and update, then scan again, remove the nasties again, reboot and you should be home free. 

Bookmark the above link and this one, too. You are very likely to come across this pest sometime soon.  If time has passed, there may be more to know, so use this search for the latest news if you need to.

Wendy and Ken came for lunch and we spent the afternoon playing Scrabble.

Monday, January 26th, 2009
Sunny High -8C  Low -22C
Normals: Max: -4C Min: -16C
Sunrise 0821  Sunset 1711

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

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Medhat runs an Integrated Pest Management Workshop every year.  It is a good party, with attendees from across Canada with speakers from the US and/or Europe.  Everyone is welcome.  Pre-registration is appreciated, since they have to know how much room to reserve and food to order, but you can also just show up.

Tuesday and Wednesday February 10 - 11, 2009

Registration includes lunch and coffee for both days,  $152.25
Room Rates $109 Group 4990
Executive Royal Inn, West Edmonton
10010 178 Street
Edmonton AB T5S 1T3
780 484 6000
Toll Free 1.800.661.4879

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009
Sunny High -2C  Low -7C
Normals: Max: -4C Min: -15C
Sunrise 0819  Sunset 1712

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

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I've been analyzing the use of fumagillin drenches.  The method has been getting popular.  I am concerned, though, that beekeepers are applying the dose that is intended to be added to two gallons of syrup and consumed over months to a few cups of syrup which are drenched onto the bee cluster at intervals several times over weeks, forcing the bees to immediately gorge on the drugged syrup as they lick it off one another.  I assume that each small dose of syrup is metabolized within a day -- or two days at most, but the drug dosage people apply in it should be enough active ingredient for a month or more.

Note: That would be an interesting measurement. How much drug can be found in the combs one, two days and a week later.  Actually colouring the syrup intensely would probably give a good idea how much, if any is stored and where.

One beekeeper reports that the recommended dose has a "75-fold safety margin for bees". (From Medivet's site). I wonder what toxic means ? LD50? I'll have to ask Willy. Seems that is a dose one does not want to approach, since LD50 kills half the bees, and if people are putting the amount of drug that is recommended for 100 gallons into 5 gallons -- and they are -- it looks to me as if they are getting close.

On BEE-L they are talking about fumagillin suppressing the immune system in mammals, the fact that fumagillin sets bees back, and the search for an alternate -- and the fact that there is no MRL for fumagillin in many countries, making it verboten there.

How does Fumagillin work?

Wikipedia says: "Treatment with the antibiotic Fumidil B (prepared from Aspergillus fumigatus, the causative agent of Stone Brood) inhibits the spores reproducing in the ventriculus, but does not kill the spores.".

OK.  We knew that fumgilan does not kill spores, but the article says, "inhibits the spores reproducing in the ventriculus", not "destroys the vegetative stage".  That would imply that a continuous presence would be necessary to suppress the disease, but that does not seem to be the case.  Or is it?  Who knows?

MAAREC says " Fumidil-B (Fumagillin), fed in syrup, have proven effective in suppressing nosema in over-wintered colonies and newly-established packages. Since fumagillin does not affect spores of the nosema parasite, treatment will not completely eliminate the disease, but only suppress the vegetative stage. The infection will often continue after the medicated syrup has been consumed. Fumagillin is less effective when fed with powdered sugar, extender patties, candy, or pollen supplements."

Malcolm writes in APIS:, "According to an article by Dr. Ingemar Fries at the at the Department of Entomology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, the antibiotic fumagillin kills the active stages of nosema, but not the spores, and it's effect diminishes over time. Experiments show that even when fumagillin is administered both in the autumn and spring, infection levels might still be harmful".

Randy has a good article  but does not get into the mechanism of nosema, and I think knowing that is the key to designing optimal treatment.

So which is it?  Kill or inhibit?  The distinction is important, since killing is a one-time thing and inhibiting is longer term.  The distinction makes all the difference between expecting a one-time shock treatment to to work, and having to maintain an effective minimum concentration over time.

If a one-time shock application wipes out all the currently vegetative disease, then what is the minimum level and duration of each dose required to achieve this?  And are we far overdosing at current rates?  Does anyone know?  All the material I have read simply assumes that the total dose is what does the trick, and that several episodic treatments at levels calculated from the per day effective levels achieved during  those longer treatments -- not total dose --  would not be a better choice.

If four doses are reported to control the disease, then that would imply that the action of the drug is quick and immediate, and imply that the repetition kills each successive wave of spores hatching as they get to the point where they inflict damage and/or reproduce.  How long does it take for each hatch to become economic?

How long is the nosema life cycle from spore to spore?  That number should determine the maximum time between doses, if the goal is to prevent sporulation.  The time should be considerably shorter to head off reproduction and damage to bees . The lifespan of bees enters into this, too, since they are progressing through generations.

My understanding is that bees damaged by nosema do not recover, but remain damaged until death, so the goal should be to minimize damage to bees as well as reducing the spore load in the hive.

Note: Randy responded with a pointer to the results of some tests he did, trying various treatments.  His tests did not show much control for any of them.

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009
Sunny High 0C  Low -11C
Normals: Max: -4C Min: -15C
Sunrise 0818  Sunset 1714

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

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Posted to BeeSource today:

Queen excluders are one of the most common and most misunderstood pieces of bee equipment, ranking immediately after the smoker.

Queen excluders are an expert tool, and as such are very useful to experts and a rather chancy for the majority of beekeepers.

There are things to know. Bees are not all the same size and neither are the gaps in all excluders, but for most intents and purposes, we can ignore that fact. I measured some a while back. I don't know if it is representative http://www.honeybeeworld.com/misc/excluders.htm

I did hear of one case where bees that could go thru some plastic excluders in Montana, had problems when moved to Maryland. This from a respected researcher, and he had no explanation.

That having been said, I have never had problems using excluders when I applied my knowledge of bees, but there may be things outside my personal experience.

I've written about excluders previously, and some of that can be found via http://tinyurl.com/cr288b

In summary, however, I have a few rules that work for me:

1.) Bees that are used to going through excluders will go through excluders with little encouragement. Bees that have no experience with excluders can be reluctant.

2.) When adding supers in the spring, bees will tend not to go up through supers into newly added boxes.

Bees are reluctant to expand through excluders into newly added drawn combs from storage or foundation unless they need more brood room than they have under the excluder. Thus, they will go up more easily thru an excluder on a single brood chamber than thru an excluder on a double brood chamber and -- even more so -- an excluder on a three-box brood chamber.

All this assumes that the colony has reached the point where additional room is actually required.

In fact, in the latter two cases can be a somewhat difficult, especially when adding cold excluders and new boxes from storage, and if there is a honey barrier and the brood is not near the excluder, they may just sit there or swarm. Thus, reversing before adding excluders and supers is sometimes indicated.

3.) Bees will go back where they were accustomed to being, excluder or no excluder.

Example: If you take a hive that is six or seven boxes high and full of bees top to bottom and stick excluders between all the boxes (say, to isolate the queen to one box so you can find her more easily), the bees will go up and down as if the excluders are not there. Of course drones can be trapped in the boxes and conceivably plug the excluders, so be careful.

The upshot is that you can insert excluders into an established, well populated hive anywhere and not have problems with the bees passing through.

4.) Bees like equipment that has been recently occupied by bees and has fresh scent and warmth, and have less interest in cold equipment or honey frames that have been in storage.

As far as cut comb is concerned, I did not make any intentionally, but did sell full frames of fresh comb at the farmers market sometimes. I would not count on making cut comb without excluders, though unless the broods were deeps and the cut comb in shallows. Even then, and even with good timing, I would not count on getting frames without brood. Queens just love that new comb. Some people say they can do it, though.

In the case of Ross Rounds, the queens just don't seem to like them. At all.

Me too, Allen. Or, removing extracting supers to another colony in the yard, and making cut comb on a double brood chamber?
Making cut comb is really just the same as drawing new foundation, except you don't want the queen to get into it, so an excluder is required. As explained above, if the bees are accustomed to a large hive, when they are forced down into a smaller brood chamber, they will rebound back into whatever is placed over the excluder.

Hope this helps.

Thursday, January 29th, 2009
Cloudy High 4C  Low -4C
Normals: Max: -4C Min: -15C
Sunrise 0816  Sunset 1716

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

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We've been discussing fumigillan drenches and nutrition on the  HoneyBeeWorld List.  I hope to post some of it here, but editing takes time. The material is in the list archives.  Access is for members only, to keep the 'bots out, so to read it is necessary to sign up, if you haven't already.

Friday, January 30th, 2009
Clearing High 8C  Low -7C
Normals: Max: -4C Min: -15C
Sunrise 0815  Sunset 1717

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

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Today, I'm off to visit Meijers in the afternoon.  My passport is ready for pickup in Calgary today, but it will have to wait for Monday.

I've been quite inactive lately and feeling a bit crappy.  Late December and January is like that for me.  The days are so short and the sun so low in the sky, and the air is dry and uncomfortable.  At any rate, last night I got back on the treadmill again.  It is pretty boring normally, but I set up the video player in front of it and a mile in 12 minutes goes by quickly.  The exercise makes a difference.  I slept better than usual.

In the afternoon, I went to Meijers for a visit, a swim, and supper.

Saturday, January 31th, 2009
Clearing High 3C  Low -10C
Normals: Max: -3C Min: -15C
Sunrise 0813  Sunset 1720

Januarys past: 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

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I went to town for groceries in the afternoon, then Meijers -- all four -- and P-Ss and Bert Came for supper.

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