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Bees in the Auger Hole of an Expanded Styrene Brood Chamber

A little inaccuracy sometimes saves a ton of explanation.
H. H. Munro 'Saki' (1870-1916)

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Tuesday November 10th, 2009
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Incoming via Skype...

"PMRA is a big pain. They come in the middle of winter , uninvited and without warning, take samples send results 8 months later and then have the nerve of thanking us for our co-operation.

"So who crashed the truck today, could it be ...? Apparently driver is OK, and has been charged with driving with undue care and attention, speeding.

"Price dropped to $1.40. To much rice syrup pretending to be honey entering the country and in the USA

Maybe I do need to use my Twitter account.  What do you think?  Follow me: @allendick

OK.  I checked Twitter, searching for "Grindrod".  Here is one version of the story and another.  Sure looks like some hives I opened while inspecting not too long ago.  To see the CHBC video click here.  The snips below are from the video.

It is getting hectic today.

  • Ellen's email crashed and I can see the message store -- all 1.7 GB -- but not load the dB.
    Figure two hours to troubleshoot that...  Make it three or four...

  • I'm trying to extract and have no idea what to do with the honey and the wax and the broken combs.

  • I need to give the hives a shot of oxalic soon. Weather looks good this week.

  • I am researching several projects for people I consult for. 

  • We are expecting supper guests, and

  • I have a new web client who needs support...

I checked the scale today and see only a half-pound total loss in weight. Consumption appears to be declining (up is lower consumption - blue line) to the very low level seen some time back. A few bees are flying.

Wednesday November 11th, 2009
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Beekeeper feels financial sting after truck accident
By Wendy Stueck
From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

...When a truckload of bees crashed near Grindrod, B.C., early Monday morning, the accident spelled disaster for the Alberta beekeeper who was shuttling his cargo from his home to the more temperate Lower Mainland.

...Alberta bee producer Russ Severson was driving the truck when it crashed. It was carrying about 900 hives, or about one-fifth of his inventory, he said when reached on his cellphone yesterday afternoon.


One of the articles I read was followed by a comment that that the accident may not have been the driver's fault.  It said that air ride trailers are tricky and need a modification which makes them more stable and a better ride for bees.  That's all I know.

The Southern Alberta Beekeepers site is attracting more interest lately as more and more beekeepers get comfortable with the Internet.  I hear a SABA meeting is being planned for early December.

I was up early.  Some friends came out this way hunting for deer and stopped for breakfast.  The deer must have known they were coming, since they have been here daily, eating the tops and branches off our trees and flowers all summer and into fall.

I weighed the hives again and the consumption per hive has dropped to 1/4 lb per day.  It is hard to read changes that small on the old scale.

We went to Meijers' for lunch, had a good visit, and saw their new house.  It is coming along, but a bit slowly.  It is going to be very comfortable when it is finished.

Ruth's place is along the way, so we dropped by to see her on the way back.

Thursday November 12th, 2009
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I finally got around to updating the Nov 2nd entry with some slides from the convention.  More later...

I extracted again today.

Friday November 13th, 2009
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The hives consumed 1/4 lb of feed again today and have now lost 10 lbs each since I began measuring on October 20th.  Twenty-six days down and 130 to go.  The projections call for another 48 lbs of honey to be consumed by April 1st.

Alberta Provincial Apiculturist Dr. Medhat Nasr Receives Distinguished Achievement Award from Alberta Beekeepers Commission

Alberta Provincial Apiculturist, Dr. Medhat Nasr, is the recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award from Alberta Beekeepers Commission and was honored at the Annual General Meeting of Alberta Beekeepers Commission on Wednesday November 4, 2009. Dr. Nasr is an internationally recognized expert on honey bee pests management.

Dr. Nasr has developed an internationally recognized Integrated Pest Management Program focused on industry growth and sustainability. This program includes applied research, extension and regulations. He has a broad knowledge of honey bees and the beekeeping industry. His activities are critical components for the success of the beekeeping industry in the face of recent challenges.

He played a significant role in opening the continental USA boarder for honey bee queen imports and facilitating access to bee packages and queens over the years from Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and Chile. He was instrumental in acquiring full registration of CheckMite for Varroa control. In 2007, with the surge of high winter losses of honey bees he worked with industry in persuading the Pest Management Regulatory Agency to register Apivar, a French miticide known to be effective against Varroa mites. This work unquestionably helped the Alberta industry to improve honey bee health across Canada generally.

For the past seven years, Dr. Nasr has been conducting research to develop Pest Management and Pest Surveillance Programs to control honey bee pests. He partnered with industry members to develop a novel machine to safely and effectively apply pesticides in bee colonies. He continues to work tirelessly to develop and implement new techniques for monitoring and controlling pests to restore honey bee health. In doing so, he gives a significant number of presentations every year, publishes a monthly article in the Alberta Bee News, the industry newsletter, and teaches apiculture courses and workshops. He also assists beekeepers through telephone responses and one-on-one visits.

Dr. Nasr helped in sparking the building of mead (honey wine) industry in Alberta. He took a group of beekeepers to Quebec to learn about added value products of honey and the mead industry. He worked with his colleagues at Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development to amend current regulations to allow production and sales of honey wine in Alberta. He also continued to promote honey food safety and improve Alberta honey export markets in Japan, USA and other European countries. He assisted the hybrid canola industry in developing a system for payments to beekeepers for crop pollination based on colony strength. The beekeepers have an incentive to keep and supply strong healthy bee colonies for pollination and the growers achieve high seed yields due to adequate pollination. Therefore, both the beekeeper and the grower benefit.

In addition to his work with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Nasr serves as a Chair of the Bee Imports Committee with the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists and a liaison with the Canadian Food Safety Agency. He also serves as a member of the Honey Bee Health Committee –Canadian Honey Council and a director for Canada with Apiary Inspectors of America, a regulatory and enforcement group in the USA. He also works closely with commercial and hobby beekeepers in Canada and the USA.

The Alberta beekeeping industry is crucial to Alberta’s $350 million canola and forage industries (such as alfalfa and clover seed production to feed beef cattle) that require pollination. In addition, the direct farm cash receipts from apiculture (honey, beeswax, pollen, and pollination rental fees) are valued at about $50 million per year. Alberta keeps 250,000 bee colonies that account for 40% of the nation’s bee colonies.

Saturday November 14th, 2009
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In the afternoon, Ellen and I drove to Lethbridge to attend the opening of friend, Bob Webb's show at the Bowman Arts.

Sunday November 15th, 2009
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Bee Culture has been talking about going digital.  Now they have done it.  I took a glance.  On my netbook, I am not sure how well the concept works, but I'll have to give it a better try.  There is a sample issue up, and I gather there will be a subscription cost.

Yup.  $15/yr for 'net-only access.  Not bad.

We checked out around eleven and drove west to Fort MacLeod to see Jerry, a friend who is a foremost Canadian stained glass designer and restorer --  http://www.eversole.ca

After, we dropped into the A&W on the way out of town, and bumped into another bee inspector.  Small world.

From there, we drove home.

Monday November 16th, 2009
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The scale is losing 0.25 lbs per hive per day consistently now.  I have worked on the chart a bit to clarify the results.

> I think we may not mean the same product. AFAIK, all the major products are fine. It is just that this one seems to fall short of its hype every time I hear about it. Oddly, it is the only one whose inventor runs down all the other products.

I received several replies off-list, and it seems people know which product I mean without my telling them. Interesting.

It also seems that people use supplements in different ways. Some use liquid, some dust and others use patties.

When I speak of supplements, I m talking about patty use. In my mind, it is difficult to get a significant ration distributed to colonies using the other methods. Additionally, the other methods can be messy and wasteful require additional equipment.

To me feeding dust is a good way to keep bees out of farmers' feed bins and may have some small benefit, however it is very lossy, uneven in distribution, weather-dependent, and marginally helpful to the colonies gathering it compared to having a large portion delivered close to the brood area.

Liquids are difficulty to deliver close enough to the brood, require feeders, tanks, pumps, buckets, etc. for delivery, are messy, and also require clean-up afterwards.

I know some swear by these other methods, but I am giving my opinion, based on personal experience over decades.

I also notice that some people seem to have an emotional attachment to the products they use and even become a bit abusive when they perceive a slight to their chosen diet. This is amusing, but counterproductive because we need facts, and mud-fights don't contribute anything.

If anyone wants to prove that a supplement works, what is needed is documentation form independent researchers and/or users.

Some products have this and some do not. There are a variety out there and some may be better than others in specific situations, depending on season and the available pollen sources being supplemented. Some may be excessively "perfect" if the cost is too high. What we need to evaluate is "Bang for the buck", and that is hard to measure.

Independent researchers are hard to come by, too, since several have interests in specific products which may or may not be disclosed. For example, the USDA, one would think, should be independent and unbiased, however they have a dog in the fight, so have to be considered biased, whether they are or not.

Unintentional bias is a real risk in diet studies, since freshness is absolutely essential to good results. If one product is straight from the factory and another has been obtained through distribution channels, very inaccurate conclusions can be reached.

The take-home message is that beekeepers need to verify for themselves that the product they buy is fresh and that it works for them.

My opinion or opinions of others mean nothing if the beekeeper is able to prove that a specific product gives value for price.

I have consulted for Global Patties since start-up. They make patties from any product the beekeeper orders, so I have been exposed to the various products and beekeeper opinions on them over time. Something to remember is that the formulas in proprietary brands may change over time, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. Even a simple yeast/soy formula is subject to the supplies of yeast and soy available in the market.

Therefore, we have to be constantly on the lookout to ensure we are getting good value.

In my opinion, most of the big-name commercial products give good value. There are a few minor products on the market, too.

I'd love to hear positive comments about any products members have used and any links to studies which objectively examine the various products.

> what is 'fresh'?... I have carefully reviewed all of the publications and discussion made available to me and have never seen anything definitive about 'fresh'. I assume the term refers to deterioration of the protein value (but someone please correct me if the reference is describing something else such as bacteria load).

Good question. I have tried to get an answer to this, but it is complex, especially since we are not discussing just one product here, but many, and some with unknown ingredients and preservatives.

I am speaking of protein deterioration, but lipids also go rancid and there is mention of toxicity in the literature. Bacteria are not much of a problem AFAIK in patties with adequate sugar content, but moulds have proven to be a problem with some formulations. Andy Nachbaur at one time said here that supplements are better after some fermentation. I don't know. I suppose the deterioration rates would be different in yeast feeds compared to flour or protein extract based products. Does sugar syrup admixture in finished patties slow the rate. Dunno.

> For purposes of discussion, assume 'fresh' means that no more than 10% of the protein value has been lost. In time, measured after the patties are
formed, is three weeks 'fresh'? Six weeks? Three months? If the answer is six weeks or longer, I will guess that very few hobbyists or sideliners have a chance of getting 'fresh' patties from a distributor, so they are potentially wasting a fair amount of money.

I agree. I figure that six months for pre-made patties should be a safe mid point and that the decline in value is likely something approaching linear, with the day of manufacture being stated as 100% of value and a year and a half (18 months) being for sake of argument a 10% remaining point. I'd hypothesize that possible toxicity could start somewhere around a year out and increase over time. Time and temperature are factors, too. These are just guesses -- opinions -- based on personal experience and reading and provided to hopefully stimulate discussion, and maybe bring forward more factual information.

I personally know of a situation where a sideline beekeeper received product that was well over a year old without any way of knowing. He also paid a premium over factory price due to his order size. I suggested he get some beekeepers together to pool orders next time.

One of the problems is that many beekeepers think that feeding two or three patties is sufficient. I tell anyone who will listen to feed as long as the bees will take it, stopping in the fall in cold winter areas. I also tell them to feed the cheapest known-good patty they can during the times when the bees are foraging because we are just supplementing and not attempting a complete diet. because they only feed a few, they pay a high price and don't get cheap shipping.

If the beekeeper with 100 hives plans to feed two patties per hive, then he needs 200 patties. That is a small order. If he plans to feed 10, then that is 1,000 lbs and we are starting to talk volume. If a few such beekeepers got together, they could have a pallet dropped somewhere convenient at factory price -- and possibly free shipping to boot! They then have some leverage and get freshness and low price, and don't have to drive to a dealer to get it.

As for the cost? Feeding does not cost, it pays. Ten patties per hive will return you -- I'm betting -- at least five times the original cost in better bee health, better survival, and more honey.

There is a trade-off between freshness and shipment size, since many small shipments with a heavy product cost much more than one bulk shipment. That is one reason I encourage clubs and groups to organise to plan their feeding and order pallet-loads from the factory or distributor for direct and timely delivery.

I have personally tried to get the makers to date the bags or boxes with either a manufacture date or a "Best before" date, but they resist, fearing that their stocking distributors will then holding a product that transparently drops in value over a matter of months and that will crimp sales. We need all customers to ask for certification of manufacture date and keep pressing for that info to be printed on the container. If we do, we'll get it.

I doubt we will ever know exactly how quickly any particular patty will deteriorate, so personally, I think "Just in Time" direct delivery should be the goal. Working together, we can do this.

One way to ensure fresh product, BTW, is to order a custom mix. That way, it won't be sitting waiting for you, but has to be made to order.

Then, we only need to worry about how diligent the factory and its suppliers is in obtaining fresh ingredients and in rotating warehouse stock.

As for making our own supplement, on the farm, I've been there, done that and anyone can read about it in my open diary. It can be done, but is not worth the hassle and risk.

We know that if we mix our own we never have exactly the same amount of everything, and always have supplies running short or left over. Since the need is seasonal, some supplies may sit in the back of the shop until next year at which time they will probably be used because we have them and don't know how else to get rid of them. Whether we really believe they are good or not, most of us will convince ourselves they have some value and conveniently ignore the reports that old products can be harmful. Additionally, the small lots most beekeepers buy typically come from some bee supply warehouse. In some cases they may have been there, literally, for years.

A well-run factory should not have that problem, since the inventory is used at a good rate all year. Nonetheless, products do sometimes wind up as leftovers and, for example, I know where there are two pallets of MegaBee sitting now for two years, untouched. It was good feed two years ago, but what is it's value now? If you want it, let me know. I can swing you a deal. I don't want it. I would not feed it, or any old product except, perhaps, as dust for the bees to forage outside.

Tuesday November 17th, 2009
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I did some more extracting and caught up a bit on deskwork.

Wednesday November 18th, 2009
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I am getting ready to apply oxalic acid as a drizzle, seeing as I earlier detected varroa levels sufficient to merit a treatment.   By now, the hives should be  about as broodless as they will be, and the wind has gone down for a day.  Temperatures are right in the zone -- above freezing, but the bees are still clustered.   A loose cluster would probably be best.

I have to refresh my memory and check if there is anything new, so I am glancing at Randy's site and also looking back to see what I did last year (Below).[http://www.honeybeeworld.com/diary/articles/drip_incl.htm]

I have 34 colonies to treat, so that means 34 x 50 mL = 1700 mL or 1.7 litres are required.

I followed the Canadian instructions last year and all colonies came through well.

I kept the leftover syrup in the freezer and it looks OK, but the stuff is cheap and bees are not.  I'll throw it out and make fresh.

Thursday November 19th, 2009
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Your daily laughBees in Art

The scale has been a bit neglected over the past days and I have extrapolated between the reading five days ago and today.  Consumption has been tapering off, and the projected total consumption to April 1 reducing slowly again towards 40 lbs.  There has turned out,  however, to be a wrinkle.  See below.

*        *        *        *        *        *

OK.  I need 1.7 litres.  Since last year I used 250mL + 250mL and got 400mL, then this year, if I use 1,000mL + 1,000L, I should get 1,800mL.   Perfect!

Now I'll need to mix in 35 x 1.8 = 63 g of oxalic acid dihydrate to get the correct concentration.

Well the best-laid plans...  I mixed as above and came up with 1,600 mL, not the expected amount, so I mixed another 150 mL of sugar and of water and added it.

Then I weighed the acid.  My scale is not particularly well-designed to show small increments, so I figure somewhere between 60 and 70 is close enough.  After all, this is not rocket surgery.

Then I mixed the acid into water, or tried, at least. It did not want to blend easily, even with a power beater.  At any rate I got it all mixed into the syrup and made sure no sugar or acid crystals remain on the bottom.

I now have around 2 litres of he stuff ready to go.  I labelled it clearly.  Ever since I took a swig of gasoline for a ginger-ale bottle, I have become more cautious.

It is windy out there, but I think I will make a start.  Last year, with 9 hives, the job was simple.  This year the job is over three times bigger.

The temperature is 7 degrees C, about perfect for the job.  The bees are in a cluster, but won't be damaged much by manipulations.  When I got out there, the wind had dropped and conditions were perfect.

Necessary Equipment
at the ready

A big hive tipped
upside-down and
treated on the bottom

A box tipped up
and treated

I got the job done.  It took exactly one hour from start to finish. I found that most seconds and thirds lifted off easily -- were not too stuck and the remaining hives could be rolled over ad treated from the bottom.  As last year, I found the application somewhat imprecise, and gave every seam of bees 5mL, but a few got a bit more if the squirt ran out before the end or the gun was sucking air.  Judging by what is left over, I averaged a bit less than 50 mL per hive.

Last year, I did this on Tuesday, November 18th, and was not too confident of either the need or the process.  This year I am much more confident of the need, having sampled a few hives, and I am now familiar with the method.

Nonetheless, it is late November and the clusters are smaller and the bees do not look as young as they did in the fall.  I've been expecting 15% losses -- 5 hives dying over winter and leaving 29, but with the 10% AFB going in -- 3 hives -- I have to reduce the best likely outcome to 26 survivors.

*        *        *        *        *        *

Earlier I mentioned a wrinkle with my scale hive experiment.  I had found two AFB hives in the yards previously.  Today, I found another AFB hive, and it happened to be one of the four on the scale!

Making Sausage:  This is a good example of how 'science' proceeds.  Often in  experiments, unexpected events crop up and the experimenter has to decide how to deal with the potential end of the test.  Often the decisions made are never mentioned in the results, even though they may well affect the significance of what is observed.

When we are sitting in the dark, looking at PowerPoint slides at a meeting and looking at neat, perfect graphs, sometimes with little whiskers and sometimes not, seldom do most of us ask ourselves what kind of data underlies this slick presentation, and how did the experimenters deal with things that went wrong -- hives dying, disease breakdown, missed data points, vandalism...

To me the events that do not fit the neat curves are the most interesting.

At any rate, since I am recording the typical consumption of wintering hives, I decided that I would replace that dying hive with another, chosen more or less at random.  Actually, maybe less: I chose another three-high styrofoam hive which happened to conveniently be on a pallet with the two other AFB hives. It turned out to be quite populous.

*        *        *        *        *        *

AFB hives are quite obvious in the fall.  Not only do they stink, but the bee population usually has dwindled noticeably.  AFB hives will not winter, even if the infection is minor.  I'll be shaking these hives out.  I'll save most of the equipment, but the bees don't have what it takes.  I'm going to put a little more effort into making sure I am using the best stock.  I'd rather not go back to medicating.

In the evening, Zippy and I walked over to the hives and checked.  Last time I disturbed them, they seemed to have lost 2 lbs in the two hours (four hives) immediately after.  This time, they dropped a pound in three hours, or a quarter pound a hive.

*        *        *        *        *        *

Pollen supplements are a big topic now on BEE-L and I see they were at this time last year as well.

Friday November 20th, 2009
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I updated the scale hives chart.  As expected, the hives are using more than they have been, after this disturbance.  I expect the consumption will taper off again, but maybe not quite so much, since I substituted a strong hive for one which was a goner and it will eat more than a dead hive would.

Saturday November 21st, 2009
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I checked the hives and see that, sure enough, the weight loss has ramped up quite a bit after the oxalic treatment. It will be interesting to see how long the bees remain disturbed compared to the honey-pulling disturbance.

The chart at right has been totally re-worked to display the evolving data better.

Temperatures have been quite mild these last few weeks.

I finished extracting today and cleaned up.  In the afternoon, Ellen & I went to Three Hills and bought some shelves form a store which was moving.

Sunday November 22nd, 2009
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The scale hives seem to have gotten over the oxalic disturbance better than they did my taking off the extra supers a while back. The consumption is back to the baseline, it appears, although not quite a low as it was after a week undisturbed.

I was cleaning up after the extracting and decided to warm the honey on buckets.  I set them under a large table and draped several 20-pack wraps over to insulate the cavity and set a car warmer inside.  Turns out I blew a fuse. Well, later.  I'm off to the Mill for supper.

While I was out at the hives, I decided to wrap a few.  I had dug a few wraps out of an old granary and the birds had made a mess.   I suppose I should have washed them, but figure the rain and snow should do the job.  Although it is zero degrees, C, I saw a few bees flying and when I pulled the wraps down, bees came out to thank me

Monday November 23rd, 2009
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I checked the hives again, today, and they are back to baseline consumption.  They are not quite back to the lowest reading, but I did exchange one hive that was nearly for a strong one, so we should expect as much as 1/3rd more consumption than when there were only three good hives. We'll see.

This afternoon, Ellen and I went to Three Hills and got our H1N1 shots.  There was a one hour, plus, line-up.

I have the honey in buckets under a table in the basement with some large bee wraps draped over and an electric heater under with the pails.  I am softening the honey, with the intent to skim it and probably make mead with some of it.

Tuesday November 24th, 2009
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The scale hives are back down to losing a 1/4 lb a day.  Seems they got over the oxalic treatment quite quickly.

I drove to Calgary in the afternoon for an MRI.  I have had some leg pain and foot numbness for twenty years or so.  The doctor thought it a good idea to take a look.  The MRI was ordered a year ago, and just came up now, seeing as it is not urgent.  I have to assume that the lower back degeneration may be related to portaging 75-lb canoes when I was twelve, unloading 100-lb sacks of fertilizer from rail cars in my youth and lugging heavy standard supers during my adulthood.  I also attribute some of the problem to my snowboard stance which has one foot pointing forward.

At any rate the MRI was quick and efficient.  I was in and out in under one hour.

Wednesday November 25th, 2009
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One month until Christmas

I awoke at three, got up, did some organising and packing, then caught a plane to LAX.  By afternoon, I was poking along at 20 MPH, southbound on the 405 to Laguna Beach.

I arrived around dusk, in time for supper.


Thursday November 26th, 2009
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U.S. Thanksgiving

I'm in Laguna Beach.  The sun woke around 6:30.  At home, the sun does not come up until 8:10. 

Jon and I took the kids to the park and then swimming.  There are five kids, since Katherine is here with her three.

Temperatures here are in the seventies.  I had to return home to change into shorts well before noon.

I strolled along a ridge while we were at Moulton Meadows and noticed bees working.  I also watched the eagles soaring below me in the canyons.  They seem to sense the currents and seldom move more than a wingtip.

At two, we had turkey dinner.  There were eight adults and the five kids, plus a baby.

Ellen and Zip are checking the scale while I'm gone.  Consumption has continued to taper down


Friday November 27th, 2009
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I hear there was enough snow in Alberta this morning to close the Number Two Highway.  Seems it does not take much to close a highway these days.  We used to drive everywhere in all kinds of weather, and the roads were seldom closed.

The snow affects today's scale hive reading by adding weight (~7 lbs) to the reading.  I saw this problem coming and wondered how I would deal with it, since there can be five or ten pounds of snow on the hives at times in coming months.  At other times, that snow will melt.  This will affect my charts. 

I could tarp the four-pack, but that is probably not a good idea for several reasons.  I think I will just have to deal with the situation as best I can, by brushing the snow off, adjusting the data, and extrapolating between dry points if necessary.

Today, Ellen brushed the snow off and weighed before and after.  The end weight is about the same as yesterday's reading, so I assume that some water has soaked into the wood.  I'll plot the reading anyway, but we'll see the loss when it warms up and the wood dries out.  That should be pretty well right away judging by the forecast.

Saturday November 28th, 2009
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It rained all night and the morning air is fresh and warm here in Laguna Beach.
Meanwhile, back in Swalwell, life is getting tough for the skunk.  She apparently managed to get some action from one of the hives.  Fortunately, she did not scratch at the one with the wrap -- yet, anyhow.

This morning, we all went for a hike at the "Top of the World".  The kids had a great time.  Kalle, Jon and I decided to climb down to a cave we saw down one of the hills.  After we checked it out, Jon noticed bees coming and going from a smaller cave near the first one.  After Jon and Kalle were safely away, I climbed over to get a closer look, and took a picture, but did not want to get something going, since the nest was very active and I am not sure if AHB might be in this area.  With no protection and no quick retreat  possible on the steep hill, stirring up an AHB nest could be fatal.  My picture, taken with the camera pointed into the hole showed nothing -- one bee's behind.

Sunday November 29th, 2009
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We spent the day at the San Diego Zoo.


Monday November 30th, 2009
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I spent some of my morning re-working the oxalic acid page.  Seems some pretty smart people are confused by the fact that recommended concentrations for oxalic drizzle are figured on actual acid percentage, but mixing is done using the dihydrate which weighs 1.72 times as much as the acid it contains, since it contains water, as well as the acid.

The scale must have dried out or the strong winds today are burning feed.  I see the rate of loss is back up to the trend line.

I don't know how significant the day to day variations will prove to be, since the effects of precipitation and wind tend to have as large a short term effect as the actual consumption.  I can infer meanings -- like the effects of temperature and wind --  for the daily changes, but the only thing that will be certain is the average over time.

I walked the beach this morning.

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