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Today, we drove to Water Valley to attend two friends' 25th anniversary party. We spent the afternoon visiting at their campsite and returned in late evening
We're having company tonight, so this morning we have some shopping to do.
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We drove to Airdrie and bought several collapsible tables and some groceries., then drove home and prepared for visitors. Around five, everyone showed up and we had a good evening sitting outside in the shade.
I'm resting up today and contemplating finishing my work on the bees and also looking into buying another van. We're thinking it is time to sell the Toyota.
My friends brought over some screened bottoms last night, but these floors are not yet dipped in wax or painted, so I am wondering if I need to treat them or just use them as-is. Also, my hives are mostly in four boxes now, so I have to figure out how to get the floors under them. The obvious way is to disassemble the hive and reassemble them on the floors, but I have worked through two thirds already and don't want to repeat the job. I may just use the floors as-is under the remaining hives and figure that the samples are representative.
I also need to get some formic acid, since I think that I should give the hives several treatments with mite-wipes before winter. Formic gets the varroa and also tracheal. Tracheal is hard to detect, so it is easier to just treat. I think I'll also consider an oxalic drizzle if I see any varroa. So far, I have not seen one mite, but it seems that ants get into the drop trays and I'll have to overcome that problem. I'm not seeing any ants recently, but I'll have to watch.
* * * * * * *
I spent the afternoon working on the books, getting caught up after a long time away.
Just after I returned, we noticed the pond was entirely covered with what looked like an algae scum, but a closer look reveals it is duckweed. the water is clearing nicely and there is plenty of aquatic life in the pond now.
Today, Zippy goes to the vet for booster shots at 2 PM.
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I was going to work on the bees, but it was too hot and other things came up. I had some web work to do. My friends at Global Patties have decided to incorporate Joe Latshaw's vitamin and mineral supplement into their patties and so, I had to make some changes to their site. A new client also approached me today. I've been very busy moving client sites to new servers lately, and that is now complete.
At 1:30, Ellen and I drove Zip to the vet for rabies and booster shots. Also, since Zip spent time in Ontario, she needed precautionary heart worm treatment. Apparently it is cheaper and faster to treat than to test. (Beekeepers, where have we heard that story before?)
I went out to look at the hives after supper and see that they have gained weight. The scale read "9" on the 13th and reads "43" now, so that means a gain of 34 lbs over 10 days for four hives, or a little over 3/4 pound a day per hive.
I'm guessing the gain for the good hives in the group is greater than what I get by just dividing by four since it looks as if two of them are potentially queenless. tomorrow, I'll check and see. meantime, I notice that some are hanging out.
Therefore, it is a good thing for me an my bees that our new neighbours are not as kind-hearted to skunks as I am, or these bees would be eaten. I think the neighbours shot anything they saw moving in their yard this past spring after they moved in. We hear them shoot their guns quite a bit, actually. We're not seeing any deer lately either. Hmmm. We had a huge deer problem. the deer have become so tame that they just stand there destroying our trees and garden when we go outside. We got Zippy to chase the deer, but she is short-sighted and does not even see them.
One of my 20" monitors quit the other day and I looked up the problem on the Internet. Apparently there are quite a few bad capacitors in electronic equipment in recent years and the story behind it is fascinating. Anyhow, I pulled the unit apart and see that bad capacitors could well be the problem. Several capacitors are domed, their vents have split open, and there is leakage showing.
Apparently I can order a capacitor kit online for about $15. That is cheaper than a new monitor at $150-200. I used to do a lot of electronic work, but it has been a while since things have been this easy to fix -- if this is the real problem. I have to find my soldering tools.
I ordered the capacitors for the monitor this morning, and noted that the order was shipped within an hour via USPS. That is impressive. We sold honey be mail and people were lucky if we shipped within a week after receiving the order. Of course, in those days the orders came by mail, and our fulfillment department consisted of our daughter and my wife, plus myself.
* * * * * * *
Then I got out and worked through the rest of the hives before the heat of the day Sure enough, one of the four hives on the scale was queenless, and, all told, 11 of the 38 hives I had last month when I left for Ontario are queenless and have had to be shaken out or combined down. That leaves 27 of the original 38 which were made from an overwinter 9, which I had purchased.
I had split 18 hives into two and made two extra splits as well in early July, yielding 38 stands. Now I have 27. Those 27 are pretty good looking, though, and I have yet to see one varroa mite. I did see a cell of AFB, though, so I'll give the whole yard a shot of Tylosin. I can do that because I don't take honey for human consumption. All the honey is for the bees.
I placed several of the screened floors under hives and they fit my four-way pallets quite nicely. They are not designed for the large EPS boxes, but I am able to make them work. I'll be watching for the first varroa.
When I began today, I noted that the scale reading had dropped two pounds. That was a bit surprising. I had expected it to keep incrementing since we have an annoying number of flies in the house, and that is usually a reliable sign that a good honey flow is on. This time, though, it might just be a sign we left the doors open a lot when we had company the other night.
At left is the scale reading after I worked through the hives and replaced the loser.
The weather looks to be a bit cooler today and that suits me fine. The past few days have been overly hot in the afternoon and evening. So far, I have nothing planned.
I went out first thing and checked the drop boards I had put under six of the hives yesterday. There was some debris, but no varroa yet. That is impressive. I notice that the drop boards look different enough from the normal entrances that they may have caused some drifting. It is also possible that the newness of the wood is keeping the bees from clustering on the entrances the way they do on the older wood. I don't know.
I also notice that the hives on the north side are not as tall as the ones on the south and also that they have fewer bees on the entrances. I've turned the pallets 180 degrees several times, exchanging the north hives for the south hives, but the field bees seem to like the south side better. The north hives were originally the splits, with more brood and new queen cells. The south hives were the original queens with several frames of brood. There was quite a bit of failure in the north-facing splits. Was it the fact that they faced north, or was that due to the cells.
I can't see how that came about unless four pounds of bees found their hives again after the disruption of replacing the dud hive and moving the scale a bit. I had moved the pallet with bees away when moving the scale onto new grass and mowing under it, then replaced the pallet of hives. My scale reading was taken immediately thereafter.
* * * * * * *
I'm thinking now that it is the weight of field bees going out during the day that throws of the weights if the scale is read at different times of day. I notice it is down about two pounds again at mid-day today.
I went out around noon and medicated the hives against AFB and checked the trays under the six screen bottoms. There is lots of junk and tiny red spiders running around in the trays, but I have yet to see one single mite.
I'm also not seeing any of the ants which were troubling me earlier. Maybe they found something better than my hives.
* * * * * * *
In the evening, Zip and I took a 0.7 mile stroll down the property, as recorded by Cardiotrainer on my Android phone. I've had the app for a while and find it entertaining.
Before bed, I watched an episode of Monk. I've been working my way through the series through Netflix on my computer and the iPad over the past few months. Unfortunately my Galaxy Tab cannot run Netflix due to DRM issues. The show is dumb and not always well-acted -- after all, it is hard to write a weekly script about, -- or consistently imitate -- an obsessive-compulsive person with multiple phobias, but the show is harmless and fun, and each episode makes me laugh out loud several times I don't particularly enjoy the hard-edged, nasty and destructive entertainment that has become increasingly popular.
I leave for the east again Monday, so it is time to clean up and get ready to go.
Around ten this morning, I checked the six drop boards and the scale. Click the image (left) to enlarge the drop board shot. There are no varroa apparent, but I see I should have run the OTC/sugar mixture through the blender again since there are chunks showing on the board. Blending the OTC and the sugar is very important to getting uniform results since the fine particles are better managed by the bees. Large chunks just drop down and are lost.
The scale was up two pounds from yesterday afternoon and the bees are robbing around the equipment stacks, so I assume there is little or no flow. They were robbing in the afternoon also the other day. I'll have to look later today. The weight increase I see this AM is mostly bees waiting to go foraging later.
There is lots of bloom and lots of moisture and warm sunny days with little wind, so it seems odd that there is no flow. I've seen this many times before, though. In the 70s, 80s, and 90s, we often saw little honey after the middle of August, even with fields in full bloom until October.
Some years, though, we got a good August flow, and occasionally a September flow, but the odds were against getting anything much after the third week of August. I always left a third on until the end of September just in case, and to give the bees room. Often enough we'd get them filled at least partially and sometime completely, but I suspect some of it was honey brought up from below.
* * * * * * *
After lunch I went out and "forklift equalized" two pallets of bees where I could see far too many bees on the south doorsteps and too few on the north side. The technique is simply a variation on "padgening" by picking up the pallet, making a U-turn and putting it down in the same spot, facing the opposite direction. This exchanges the north-facing hives with the south-facing hives. More
Meijers came for supper.
Ellen and I left the dog at home and drove to Airdrie to meet Jean and family for a trip to the Zoo. It is a long time since I've been to the Calgary Zoo. My opinion of it had diminished since early days when I was a member. The redesign and rebuilding in the last decade had resulted in an ugly, messy place that I did not enjoy, and I visted the San Diego Zoo much more ofteh than the local facility.
Today, I was pleasantly surprised by how good the Zoo has become and am of the opinion that the changes are actually for the good. We stayed from around noon until four, then all drove to Swalwell for a supper of hot dogs and wings in the back yard.
My bees are pretty well ready for a few weeks on their own. I see the entrance activity has evened out after the last padgening. I have boxes of foundation on top of some hives, but my plan is to simply reverse those colonies when we get the first frost. That should allow the bees enough time to settle on the mature combs before winter sets in.
I'll take the unfinished boxes and place them aside, or on the bottom board, depending on how well drawn they are and how high the colonies are. I like to winter in three or four. I think it is very important to have good brood chambers which have been used for several years up where the bees will spend winter and spring
I plugged all the auger holes above the second boxes. There is foundation to draw up there and bees do not draw as well near openings in the hive bodies. I also pulled the drop boards and left the open meshes on the six hives with special floors. I expect that will cause the queens to move up in those hives, away form the cooler air entering there. I doubt open bottoms make much difference with varroa -- if there were any varroa in the hives. I have to wonder. I still have not seen even one.
The scale has gained weight over the past few days -- twenty pounds for the four hives in about two days! That comes to 20/4/2 = 2-1/2 lbs per day per hive. That is the best gain of the season.
Some of it is from robbing, I am sure, but I'm thinking there must be a flow on, too, so I went for a one-mile walk and checked the equipment stacks along the way. I see a few scouts and some wasps, but the forager honey bees are somewhere else today.
I've been watching Hurricane Irene on the off-chance that it might get as far as Toronto and disrupt my flight plans. That is looking increasingly unlikely, but I still remember Hurricane Hazel and the aftermath.
News Flash! Big flow in
The south facing hives (left) still gather more flyers than the north-facing hives (right) no matter what I have done all season to try to equalize them.
I'm off to Sudbury today. First, though, Ellen has an eye appointment in Calgary.
Look at that weather forecast! It appears the flow will be short-lived.
* * * * * * *
I drove Ellen to her appointment, waited for her to be done, then we went to Deerfoot to kill some time while her eyes recovered. Then she dropped me at the airport just before noon for my PM flight and left, headed for Swalwell.
I went inside and looked at the departures screen and could not find my flight. I checked my boarding passes and discovered my flight had left eleven hours earlier. I had not looked at the passes after I checked in and printed them last evening, I would have noticed the 0025 boarding time. I has reserved the flight weeks before and forgotten that I reserved the red-eye.
As the flight time was 0100, and I had converted that to 1 o'clock in my mind, I had mistaken the AM fight for a PM flight. I always have to think about the military time that airlines use these days. Anyhow, Ellen had already gone and since she has no phone, I called friends to try to intercept her in Airdrie where I knew she would be buying gas, and went the the ticket counter. I was relieved to find that I was able to get a flight at for just a change fee and called my friends to call off the hunt.
I arrived at 1207 just before midnight. That was three hours later than I had expected, but it all worked out.
I slept eight hours, then Mom and I went to see Linda. After that, we went to Perkins for lunch. I like their omelets.
Ellen sent me a scale photo and I see that the four hives gained a total of 9 pounds in a day, or a bit over 2 lbs each.
At four, I went for a walk around Minnow Lake. It is about a two-mile hike and includes my walk to grade school and other places I used to walk when I was a child.
After supper, I visited Harri, then returned to 1207 where I worked on a website for a client until midnight
I slept 9 hours and woke up too late to take out the garbage. No problem. I guess the exercise yesterday had a positive impact on my sleep.
I also notice my foot has recovered almost completely today. I think the combination of changing my sleep position and the exercise has done the trick -- plus time. In my experience, these sorts of things come and go.
My netbook is getting slow, so I am on the lookout for a new small laptop. The cost is no issue, but I dread the job of moving all my applications to the new machine.
I finished off the new website I took on. As is often the case, I spent far more time than I can bill, playing around, perfecting things. Then I decided to update the O/S on the Galaxy Tab. That meant downloading Kies, a poorly named application for the laptop that does much of what iTunes does. Why do they choose such bad names for software that is basically mobile/tablet management software?
Anyhow, the software took forever to install, then immediately started cataloging all my media. On this slow machine, that hogged a lot of resources. I found I had to reinstall the drivers and that took a half-hour. Additionally, I had to back up my 100 or so Tab apps so I don't have to install them again, so that meant rooting the tab and running Titanium backup. That took a while, too.
By midnight, I was still not done, since the upgrade process died twice at 2%. I was using the phone for an Internet connection, since I was not sure what would happen if I tried to use the Tab while it was being updated.
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