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A fall yard in EPS singles.  They are ready for winter as-is. The lids are insulated.  Personally, I'd add a brick, though.

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Wednesday November 10th 2010
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I slept eight hours straight through and slept well.  That is unusual for me lately.  I have always tended to be up a few hours in the middle of the night.  The sinus and nasal congestion is gone and my hearty beats normally ever since I had it checked out.  My blood sugar, amazingly, is better than ever.  Seems I am better.

The mind is an amazing thing.  It would be nice to get control of it, though.  I find that even when I decide to sleep in that I wake up right on the hour -- not plus or minus a minute, but right on the hour.  That is just one example.  It seems I am running some undetermined background programs subconsciously.

Maybe it is a coincidence, but I decided drinking alcohol has been associated with the problems and have increasingly avoided drinking recently.  I have made exceptions and noted the effects.  To the extent that I have refrained, I have been improved; to the extent that I have relaxed that rule, I have felt worse.  They say that with increasing age, one has to give up many of life's pleasures.  It seems that this may be one.

Alberta Agriculture is developing a beekeeping portal for Alberta beekeepers.  The draft version is here.

Our weather continues mild and sunny.  I haven't been doing anything with my bees.  I've been recovering from whatever had me down and trying to get caught up on my desk work before my next trip a week from tomorrow.  I get distracted, too.  I have been working on phpBB sites like the Forum and I also decided to set up a local site for Swalwell and region, so spent a few hours on that.

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Thursday November 11th 2010
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     Remembrance Day   

My HikeNot much happened today.  Zippy and I went for a walk to the end of the property and back across the neighbour's field.  That works out to be almost exactly one mile.  (Map at right).

I spent the rest of the day at my desk and tidying.  I see there is increasing activity in the Forum, and I spent some time tuning it up a bit.

Ho hum!

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Friday November 12th 2010
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Poor Amos, our Number One [and only] cat these days, has been complaining about his left front leg and paw.  The leg is swollen and there is a sore on the paw, so I drove him up to Valley Vet.  We spent a few minutes with a nice lady, he got a shot in the backside, and I left $140 lighter after paying for the visit and some supplies.  Zippy came along for company.

Readers may have been wondering what happened to the entertaining honeybeeworld.com ads, served by Google.  They were missing this last week or so.  Well, they are back.  I had made a small change to the site one day and they disappeared. Ooops!  I know everyone missed them.  They are somewhat amusing and occasionally helpful since Google tries to guess (sometime unsuccessfully) what I am writing about and address that topic with relevant ads.  Check them out and let me know if you see anything really good.  I really wonder and worry a bit about some of them.  It seems everyone wants your money on any pretext.  Me?  I haven't had a deposit from Google for a while.  Maybe people are just not clicking.  From what I see, I don't blame them.

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Sunday November 14th 2010
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What happened to Saturday?  I really don't know.  I was here.  I guess I just forgot to write.

Nothing much happened except that Meijers came for supper and brought along a screen floor.  They had some made, but decided they were too much hassle in a big operation.  They may be perfect for me.  I like to do mite drops, rather than destructive testing.  Mite drops worked very well for me in the years I was keeping bees commercially.  These boards, though, are quite crude and the drawer is made with untempered masonite which warped.  Apparently they take in water as well.  They may work for my purposes, however.

According to schedule, I should remove the Apivar this week.  Rain is forecast for today, but it does not look too bad out there this morning.

More deskwork and another walk and the day was gone.  I watched more episodes of "Firefly" in the evening.

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Monday November 15th 2010
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Today is my last good chance to remove the Apivar.  I'm two days short of the full term, but cold weather is coming, and I am also going away, so today is the day.

When the mail arrived, it contained two Kent Williams Hive Tools from Kelley.  Aaron had them when I visited and I had really liked them.  He sent me two, just as gesture.  Much appreciated.  Kelley is the only place that has them AFAIK.

I received a copy of the Beekeeper Technician Green Certificate manual I wrote years back. This is the first copy I have seen since pre-publication.  It is used in high schools.

I am now thinking that the heart palpitations I have experienced recently are caused by -- of all things -- coffee!  They started somewhere around my birthday and on my birthday, I received some Guatemalan coffee beans.  I grind the beans and make a pot or a cup sometimes, but I use our normal ground coffee most of the time.  Yesterday, I had a cup of the special coffee in the afternoon.  I didn't notice anything different during the day, but noticed palpitations when I went to bed.  Otherwise, lately, I had not been experiencing any.  Coffee is a typical cause of palpitations, but since I did not notice any of the nervousness or nail-biting which are the usual and obvious signs of too much coffee, I had exonerated it.  I'll be watching now.

I removed Apivar in the afternoon, then went to town and did some banking and got groceries.  I picked up a few deadouts while removing the strips and noticed that quite a few hives have dwindled.  They are packed full of feed, though, so I have plenty of good combs for next year, assuming they are not contaminated with something.

I watched the rest of the "Firefly" disk in the evening.  This is the way to watch television series, IMO.  No commercials, and I can stop whenever I like -- and resume whenever I like. I just never watch actual TV.  I try, but find the ads too irrelevant, redundant and insulting.

The Forum picked up lately and has slowed down again.

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Tuesday November 16th 2010
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We have a snowy, cool, breezy day. I'd like o go for a walk, but the neighbour's flag is flying straight out.

Winter weather has finally arrived.  Of course, it is still technically fall for another month and a bit, not winter.

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Wednesday November 17th 2010
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Today, I spent getting ready to fly out tomorrow.

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Saturday November 20th 2010
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Well, I have missed a few days.  Let's catch up:

On Thursday, I packed in the morning, then drove to Airdrie, caught a ride to YYC and flew to YYZ.  After walking to the furthest end of the airport and passing though US customs, I was escorted to my "private jet" by the Air Canada staff and boarded.  I had my choice of seats, as I was the only passenger on the 18 seater.

An hour later, I was on the ground in Syracuse and shortly after the shuttle dropped me at the Comfort Inn where beekeepers were already assembling for the meeting.

Friday, the meeting began and continued through the day.  The banquet occupied our evening and I finally got to bed around 1:30.

That brings us to this morning.  Gary Reuter was on first and then I was up for my talk.  It went well and the group was very interested in what we have been doing in Alberta.  A Q&A followed with Gary, Paul Cappy and myself up front.  The questions were good ones and covered the various topics we had covered in our talks.

Aaron and I checked out just after noon and drove back to Round Lake.  I'm here until Tuesday morning. At 6AM, Tuesday, I fly to LAX to see Jon and the kids and to join them for Thanksgiving.

When I arrived in Syracuse, Aaron had picked up a new phone for me to use in the US.  It is a TracFone Samsung 301G.  I activated it and so far am very impressed.  I spent $53 and have 120 minutes and 90 days.  I can add as much or as little as I like and have SMS, too.  Browsing gets expensive fast, so I don't plan to do much of that.  International calls to Canada and Mexico are easy and at no additional cost.

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Monday November 23rd 2010
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I missed writing again yesterday.  Not much happened.  Aaron had purchased some sheets of foil-covered urethane and cut them up.  I accompanied him the yards to put them on the hives.  His bees look better than mine.

The weather here is quite mild.  I hear it is cold at home with a foot of snow on the ground. Ellen reports the neighbours came by and plowed out the driveway.

Tuesday November 23rd 2010
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It is currently 5:30 AM and I am sitting in ALB waiting for my flight to JFK and onward to LAX.  With any luck, I should be in LA around noon and in Laguna Beach by 2.


Well, I was not in LA by two.  The flight from ALB to JFK went without a hitch and we boarded the Trans-continental on time, but after we taxied the big jet out to the runway, word came from the flight deck that the auxiliary was sending warning messages and we returned to the gate for repairs.  An hour and three-quarters later we took off.

We bucked headwinds of almost two hundred MPH the whole way and arrived two hours late.  I had counted on buying a meal on the flight, but they apparently ran out half-way back.  I could not make the Gogo Internet work, either and there are no power outlets, even if I could have done so. I am less than fully impressed with Delta, but they did get me there safely and in reasonable comfort, and, when you stop to think about it, that in itself is a very impressive feat.

Six hours on an airplane is a long time.  That is one reason I haven't gone to Australia.  These seats were comfortable, but I have been on flights where I could not sit for more than an hour without being in agony.

I slept a bit, read a bit, meditated a bit, and looked out the window a bit.  The scenery is amazing and it is shocking how much of America is wasteland.

I caught the shuttle to Fox rentals and got my car.  It is a dark red Ford Fusion with Sirius satellite and had 4.1 miles on the clock when I got in. 

Thanks to the Delta delay, I found myself on the 405 crawling past Long Beach at rush hour, but I got to Laguna Beach by five and life is good.

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Wednesday November 24th 2010
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  One month until Christmas Eve 

From Sweden:

Hi Allen,

I read on the BEE-L that you had a nice discussion on EPS covers and boxes.

I believe many beeks think of EPS as insulation, since that is how we use it in housing. In the case of your Swienty boxes they are so hard (95 g/dm3) that the r-value is very close to wood.

Interesting.  The Swienty walls are thicker than most wood hives, so that will mean a higher R-factor. 

I suppose I should do a test sometime.  I'd take a wood box and an EPS box and put a light bulb in each, put on a lid and wait a while, then measure the surface temperature and inside temperature.  I can definitely see the hives in EPS are warmer than wood, for whatever reason, just by the bee distribution.

The moisture absorbing capability is very low which I think affects the micro-climate positively.

I agree, but have no real understanding.  I found drilling holes makes the bees respond to outside conditions better.

As for the blue PS-foam, it is often manufactured by extrusion. Then it is called XPS.

Yes.  That is a different product.  I went through an EPS plant recently and learned a lot.  Beadboard (EPS) is made with steam and is very different from extruded.

It is possible to expand the polystyrene balls with hot air, this is then EPS, even rock hard stuff like the one in the Swienty. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polystyrene

Agreed

I use extra insulation on the roofs, it is under debate in Sweden that strong colonies do not need it. I agree, but does not think it makes things worse and I do winter lots of nucs which are more delicate. My thinking is that I want the best insulation, in a relative sense, to be the top, the next best the sides, and the worst the bottom board that is then well ventilated.

I agree that top insulation is a good idea.  It is not always necessary, but it mirrors the heat back to the cluster allowing a hemispherical cluster shape rather than the sphere normal to a cluster in free space.  The cluster can thus double the volume it covers and that can be critical if the feed is getting low or out to the sides.

Top insulation also reduces condensation and ice formation immediately above the cluster where it could melt and drip on the bees.  You can see heat loss if you look at the snow melt on an un-insulated hive lid.

In the pictures above, Aaron is placing 1" foil-covered urethane foam (R=6.5) in the inner covers.  These inner covers have a slot in the underside of the front for ventilation, but -- counter-intuitively -- the insulation makes a lot of difference to wintering by allowing the bees to make contact with the lid without losing much heat.

This controls condensation but I still see ice form outside the cluster on the transparent plastic I have between the box and the foam.

The Swedish Professional Beekeepers ( http://www.biodlingsforetagarna.nu/english.html ) developed a bottom board called Universal Bottom Board, and is supposed to be easy to tweak to your needs. I love it and made a booklet on all kind of weird modifications. http://forum.biodlingsforetagarna.nu/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=3986.0;attach=1945

This site apparently requires registration.

One feature is that it has good ventilation and room for winter-dead bees to pile up and dry out (I use them to rate how hygienic the bees are). It is also possible to feed from below.

Thx for sharing and hope you'll have a good overwintering!

Thank you!  I appreciate the input.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *   

PS: The bottom board booklet can be found at http://www.pixonia.com/universalbotten2010.pdf  as well.

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Thursday November 25th 2010
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     U.S. Thanksgiving    

It's a beautiful day in Laguna Beach.  We went up to Moulton Meadows with the kids.  Katrina and Jon played soccer and Kalle and his friend Christian played handball.

It was shirtsleeve weather and I saw a hummingbird, but not a single bee of any sort.  That surprised me.

At noon, we returned for lunch and we after, we cooked the turkey, made stuffing, and prepared the vegetables.  There was no crowd this year, just Kalle, Katrina, Jon and myself.  Jon and I rearranged the dining area and the kids joined in the preparations

We had a quiet, pleasant Thanksgiving supper and watched "My Stepmother is an Alien".  This movie has special memories for me since our family happened to be in a Ralphs in LA in 1988 on the way to or from one of our Baja windsurfing trips.  It just happened a scene from the movie was being filmed at that Ralph's and had to wait at the cashier while they shot the 'diamond' scene.  I had forgotten that the movie is a bit racy for 9-year olds in spots, but I guess it is all educational and the context is very "family".  This is not the 1950s any more.

Christian came back for the night, since his folks are busy with their new baby, born today.

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Friday November 26th 2010
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Today
Sunny
Sunny
Hi 66 F

It's warming in Swalwell -- all the way up to freezing today.  Here in Laguna, the weather remains warm and sunny (left).

 Today, we plan to get everything -- tire chains, snowboards, clothing, etc. -- lined up for skiing/boarding tomorrow at Big Bear.  It seems a bit odd to fly thousands of miles to escape the snow and cold, only to drive 100 miles into the Sierras to find snow and cold.  (Personally, I don't understand why the heated pool at Club Laguna is not popular these days or why Wal-Mart does not sell bathing suits after summer in California). 

Anyhow, it makes sense in a way, since Jon grew up in snow country and is an expert skier.  Jon and I did the Norquay Gold (30,000 vertical feet in one day on a double black diamond served by a conventional chair) together and both his sister and I have been certified ski instructors.  He wants his kids to share in the thrill of speeding down snowy slopes on days which drive others indoors.

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Saturday November 27th 2010
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Interactive Panoramic Trail MapWe were up early, made a lunch and drove up to Big Bear Lake to go snowboarding.  Surprisingly, Jon lives closer to ski hills than I do.  Big Bear is a pretty good resort area, and very cheap by Alberta standards. 

The snow was pretty hard, but it is still early.  The upper runs were closed.  I think they had been expecting crowds, but there were no line-ups.

We spent the afternoon boarding and drove home.  A good time was had by all.

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Sunday November 28th 2010
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Time is running out to pre-register for the 2011 North American Beekeeping Conference & Tradeshow.

2011 Registration Rates

Category

Early
Through 9/30/10

Regular
Through 12/16/10

On-Site

Single Member

$225.00

$275.00

$325.00

Single Non-Member

$275.00

$325.00

$375.00

Family Member

$325.00

$375.00

$425.00

Family Non-Member

$375.00

$425.00

$475.00

One-Day/Single Member

$125.00

$175.00

$225.00

One-Day/Single Non-Member

$175.00

$225.00

$275.00

One Day Family Members

$225.00

$275.00

$325.00

One-Day/Family Non-Member

$275.00

$325.00

$375.00

I ran down to Dana Point Marina to check it out.  I'd seen it on Active Captain and Google Earth, but thought I'd see it in reality.  I dropped by a yacht broker's office and looked at their ads.  Frankly, I wonder ho9w most yacht brokers make any money.  Most are definitely not salesmen.  I have to practically arm wrestle them to show a boat.

As I got into the car to return to San Tropez, I noticed all the wheels had disks, but when I parked at Jon's, I saw that the left front one was gone.  It was obvious, since that is right in front of me when I get in or out of the car.  Seeing as all I did was drive home, I have to assume that the disk was not properly installed.

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Monday November 29th 2010
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The kids are at school for the morning and Jon is hard at work, slaving over his computers.  I'm trying to decide how to spend the next eight days until I fly home.  The kids are on short days this week, so I can spend time with them, or head down to Sandy Yego.

I was discussing varroa again on BEE-L and was reminded of Jean-Pierre Chapleaus's work, so I visited his site.  At right is a link to a very worthwhile presentation.  Click the image.

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Tuesday November 30th 2010
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Katrina had a friend over after school and I took the kids to Eastwing and Chuck-E-Cheese.  $10 keeps them all entertained for an hour.  It is actually possible to go there and not spend a dime, but I always buy some tokens.

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