<< Previous Page           January 2012            Next Page >>

 

Home | Current Diary Page | Selected Beekeeping Topics | Search HoneyBeeWorld.com | Top | End
 Diary Archives - 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011| 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 |1999
My Weather Station | Honey Bee World Forum | HoneyBeeWorld List | Contact me

Sunday January 1st 2012
Click to visit January pages from previous years: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

We were undecided about going to Nakiska for a day of skiing after looking at the forecast, but took a chance and found it was a perfect day.  The forecast promised clouds and a cool day, but it was quite warm and sunny.

Jon and his two, and Chris and his daughter and I spent the afternoon skiing.  Kalle had never skied, but by the end of the day was leaving the rest of us in the dust.  He hasn't had a wreck yet. 

I had been feeling stiff and had a sore ankle and a heel that had been bothering me, but once I put on the boots, I never thought of them once.  At the end of the day they were fine.  I had taken along an old pair of poles and was reminded when I saw the notches I marked on them years ago how much I used to ski. In those years, I was apologetic if I did not get out at least thirty days and often camped up at the hill in my motorhome.   I need to get out more.

I collected the mite boards before leaving and counted on returning home.  I see I had screwed up the colour-coding of queenlessness on the spreadsheet, so once again Dropbox saved me by bringing back a previous version of the file.  I am now on V.10 of the spreadsheet. (Click to download if you have MS Office 2010).

 


Click on each image to enlarge, or here for all the data
on one page, or here for the Excel 2010 data file to date.

Search | Selected topics | Honey Bee World Forum | HoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home | Write me

Monday January 2nd 2012
Click to visit January pages from previous years: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

Today is Jon's last day here before he and the kids return to LA.  I drive them in to YYC tomorrow morning and they fly at noon.

The weather continues mild.  It's just above freezing and the bees are patrolling the auger holes when I go out to get the drop boards.

I write often about the screw-ups that inevitably happen when doing studies and go unreported. Here is another typical one. 

This morning I went out to get the boards and was careful not to interchange any.  I stacked them up and placed them on the van seat as I always do and drove back to the house to count the mites.  On the way, I heard a clatter and noted that the stack had slid off the seat and was standing on its side.  When I stopped, I picked them up as one piece, but on careful examination, noted several mites on the van floor.  I don't know from which board they fell.  I'll try to guess, but how do I treat that if it turns out to be material?  When only 4 or five mites a day are dropping, I'd say it is for the current series and my small comparison of oxalic to Apivar, but over the entire observation, it is not.

I decided to ignore those two mites this once, since I did not know for sure which board lost them.  That skews the results a tiny bit, but tomorrow should make up for it.  This was a cold 24 hours and there was not much drop.  The warm trend continues and I expect a larger drop tomorrow.

Think, though, if I had been counting weekly, not daily.  This would have been a much larger glitch.

 

Click on each image to enlarge, or here for all the data
on one page, or here for the Excel 2010 data file to date.

Search | Selected topics | Honey Bee World Forum | HoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home | Write me

Tuesday January 3rd 2012
Click to visit January pages from previous years: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

The warm spell has resumed after the brief drop to minus fifteen yesterday. It is plus four at 2 AM.  I'm driving Jon and the kids to YYC this morning and will do a bit of shopping along the way home.

 

Click on each image to enlarge, or here for all the data
on one page, or here for the Excel 2010 data file to date.

Just looking at the drops, it seems to me that one Apivar hive has no mites left to drop, but the other drops mites on days where the mean temperature rises above 0.  That makes sense, since the bees need to move around to brush against the strips and to distribute the chemical.  As the cluster gets tighter, the individual bees move less.  The cluster temperature is bound to be warmer than the environment.  If the cluster is 10 degrees warmer (C), then zero is around where the cluster would be getting dense enough that the bees would stop wandering around inside it.

I drove Jon and the kids to YYC at 8:15 AM, then dropped in to see Mike, Liz, and Attila in Airdrie.  from there, I did a little shopping and got home mid-afternoon.  I looked at beds again, as I like this one I bought the other day well enough to consider buying another.  After looking around, I concluded that the deal I made right off was better than any I saw afterwards.  I like it when that happens.

Tonight, I watched a little video, then worked on the charts.  I decided to upsize the individual hive charts and posted them on the data page.  I don't know if anyone will appreciate them or not, but it was something to do on a winter night.

Search | Selected topics | Honey Bee World Forum | HoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home | Write me

Wednesday January 4th 2012
Click to visit January pages from previous years: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

Another morning above freezing, with temperatures in the teens predicted.  As usual with these Chinooks, we will expect Chinook winds that bring in the warm air.  They can be very strong and sometimes blow empty semi-trailers and motor homes onto their sides or off the roads.

The high temperatures can be expected to allow the bees to entirely break cluster, so we should see increased drops as the bees tidy the hives and bottom boards.

It is quiet around here.  After two weeks with three children and five adults coming and going, this is a big change.  The fridge is full of food that will have to be frozen since Ellen and I won't be able to eat it all soon.  First, I have to clean out the freezer.

Click on each image to enlarge, or here for all the data
on one page, or here for the Excel 2010 data file to date.

During the day, there were reports of wind damage south of here and grass fires covering many square kilometers.  I wonder about my beekeeper friends in the south who have hives in the areas where the fires were sweeping the prairie.  A number of homes and farm buildings were reported as having been destroyed and some highways were closed for a while.  The wind was not too bad here, but the warm air melted the surface of the pond so that there was an inch of water lying on it by evening.

In the afternoon, I drove to Three Hills to pick up some medication, a wheelchair and some supplies.  When I got home around 4, I drove through the bee yard and noticed the bees flying and cleaning out hives.  I could see dead bees on the screens, dropped there by the cleaning activity but not enough to block the screens much.  I'll have to check, though.  I have a wire to pull bees out the entrance which is only a centimetre high, but ideally, I need a little brush that would clean the screen as well as pull out bees.

I pulled a few drop boards for a glance since I expect to see more mites dropping with all this activity and it appears that there are more mites than in previous days, but I can't tell with the naked eye.  I 'm taking a decongestant due to a cold and my near vision is not at its best today. 

I then drove to Drum to meet up with Joe and Oene for supper.

Search | Selected topics | Honey Bee World Forum | HoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home | Write me


Thursday January 5th 2012
Click to visit January pages from previous years: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

It's still three degrees here this morning.

Sure enough, the warm spell dropped more mites.  Looking at the boards, I wonder how many of the mites have been dead for a while and are just dislodged now and how many are fresh.  I do see some that look as if they have been dead a long time.  These hives are in three boxes, so the mites have a long ways to fall and obstacles like top bars along the way.

I see the Apivar is working better.  I have some fresh strips now that I may put in at some point, but it seems the strips I added are working once the temperature moves up a bit.

This is Day 84 and I am starting to tire of this project.  I wonder what I have accomplished?

For one thing, it seems clear that if the published results for Apivar are true and as long as Apivar continues to work without resistance occurring, that it is far more reliably effective.  I wonder how accurate the reports are, though.  What I am seeing with oxalic vapourizing does not match the literature.  Of course, I have three boxes on the hives and that could be a factor, but with Apivar, it does not matter how many boxes are on the hive.  I could certainly use a method of lifting the hives off the bottom boards to inspect the screens.

For example, taking the hive with 4372 mites to date, some of those mites were bred during the test period.

Evaporating oxalic using the modified hive lid method might be a solution for when the bees are up top as they are now (mostly).  Working from the top of the hive would be easier, too and the entrances could be left open.

How should I rate my efficacy?  Others speak in terms of mites dropping vs. total mite load, and I suppose that with the Apivar hives, I should be able to assume a total after it is on for 42 days and then totaling the mites before and after adding the strips.   That total, though, includes both the mites which were on the hives at the beginning and those which were bred during the time the hives had brood.  What number should I use?

 

Click on each image to enlarge, or here for all the data
on one page, or here for the Excel 2010 data file to date.

Search | Selected topics | Honey Bee World Forum | HoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home | Write me

Friday January 6th 2012
Click to visit January pages from previous years: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

We have yet one more warm day.  I slept until almost nine, if I can call that sleeping.  This cold woke me up every hour or two with congestion in spite of my taking the maximum recommended doses of pseudoephedrine and diphenhydramine and some acetylsalicylic acid.  The cold was down in my chest overnight, but seems better this morning.

There is action lately in the Honey Bee World Forum, BTW, and I have written a few articles there recently, as have several participants.

I've been considering the question of computing efficacy for these treatments.  The normal way is to divide the total mite drop from the treatment by the total mite drop from the treatment plus the drop from the finishing treatment.  The finishing treatment is something 'known' to achieve near 100% efficacy on the remaining mites, like Apivar.

The problem with that method is that a lot of time has passed and new mites were being bred between the beginning and the end of the series of treatments. That total includes both the original mites and any new mites which came along during the trials.  There is no way of knowing what the original load was, so the best we have is to divide the total drop from the treatments by the total mites killed as described above.

We can also, however, compare the daily or cumulative drops to current drops and get an idea that way, although it is not a standard method.

If we look at the daily drops, I am seeing drops (average) now that are about one ninth of those during the first and second treatments.  That calculates to a 89% reduction (average) if the drops are any reflection of the total mites.

That is average, and each case is different, however. 

Hive One has dropped only 3 mites in the current treatment, vs. a total of 944 to date.  That amounts to a daily drop of 3/14 mites a day and if we figure a multiplier (average mite lifespan) of 50, then that suggest that there are about eleven mites left in that hive. That would suggest 99.7% efficacy with the four treatments.  Looking at it another way, on Day Fourteen, during the second treatment, after brood emergence ceased, the drop added up to 448.  3/448x100=0.7% or a reduction of 99.3%.  Those two calculations agree surprisingly closely for estimates.

Hive Two is a different case since we applied Apivar, which is known to be quite thorough and (I think) quick.  It also keeps acting over time, with the concentration increasing as bees rub on the strips.   That possibly distorts the current drop number.  We'll see. 

So far, it has dropped 90 mites over the fourteen days since the last treatment or 6.4 mites/day.  Using the same methods, we get 321 remaining mites as of today.  Taking the 321 and dividing by the total drop to date, 2990, we get 10.7% remaining mites or an efficacy of 89.3% using the first method.  However, if the Apistan Apivar has accelerated the drop, that 240 number could be high by twice and the efficacy of previous oxalic applications would then be higher.  Who knows?  We'll find out soon, though, if the drops peter out in the next few days.

I'll put off further analysis for this hive until later.

Hive Three: looking at Hive Three the same way as we looked at Hive One, we take the 73-mite drop over the past 14 days and figure out a drop of 5 mites/day. Using the 50 multiplier times the 5 mites a day average, we estimate 261 mites left in the hive.  Since the hive has dropped 4374 to date, then 6% are left and the efficacy was 94%.  This hive had brood the longest of the group, but we'll do the same calculation as for Hive One and compare the total from this treatment to the total from the second treatment and thus, 73/2371 is 3% remaining, or 97% efficacy.  These two estimates, again, are surprisingly close.

Hive Four is still dropping more mites than the others.   Average daily drop over the last fourteen days is 292.  Divided by 14, we get 20.1 per day. Times 50, gives 1043 remaining mites.  1043 divided by the total over time (3254) gives 32%, meaning that the efficacy on this hive might be 68%.  If we take 292/971 we also get 70% efficacy.   Again, close agreement.  For some reason, the oxalic did not appear to work well on this hive.

Hive Five is another Apivar hive, but nothing much has dropped for a long time.  The remaining mites in this case are estimated at 3/14x50, or 11 mites.  11/1104 gives 99% efficacy.  3/125 gives 97.6%, but then again, this is an Apivar hive.

Hive Six: 44/14x50 gives 157 remaining mites.  100-100x(157/1710)=91% efficacy, but when we look at the data, we see that it includes 16 mites which may have been from previous treatments, so the efficacy may have been as high as .  100-100x(100/1710)=94.2%

  After 5 treatments
Total Varroa Drop Mites Remaining (est.) Efficacy (est.)
Hive One 944 11 99%
Hive Two * 2990 321 89% *
Hive Three 4374 261 94-97%
Hive Four 3254 1043 67-70%
Hive Five 1104 11 98-99%
Hive Six 1710 157 91-94%

* = preliminary

At any rate, these numbers are surprisingly good, with one exception, when compared to other methods.  I suspect that other methods also have some scatter in efficacy between hives.

Finding out what causes the differing results is something that merits some work.  If the results could be more consistent, this treatment could be as good as the chemical strips.  Why the variation?

Hive geometry, the air currents in the hive, failure of the evaporators and other factors could explain the wide variation.  I think a better way of getting the fog consistently and uniformly through the cluster needs to be found. The converted lid idea looks best to em right now.

We could calculate the efficacy after the second and third treatments as well, but it is clear that even the four treatments have not managed good control in all hives. 

The average looks good at 90%, but hides a really bad result in one hive.  Leaving that one hive out of the average, as some would do, gives a 95% efficacy over the five treatments.

Efficacies are expressed in percentages and it seems that miticides actually do work in percentages.  If we start with 10,000 mites, even 99% efficacy leaves 100 mites.  Similarly, the same treatment on a hive with 1,000 mites would only leave 10.

If efficacy is 90%, then the remaining mites would be 1,000 and 100, respectively.  1,000 is around the danger threshold IMO.  100 is even quite a few.

A 2% mites/bee threshold on a hive with 8 lbs of bees in fall, would be 3500x8x2%=560 mites in the hive. 

Expressed that way, it seems like more than when we say 2%.

Looking at it another way, if 80% of those 560 mites want to be in brood, then to have one brood cell per mite, and given that Pierco has 27 cells per square inch, we would need to have 560x80%/27=16.6 square inches of brood just so that each mite could have its own cell!  That is a patch of brood around 4 inches square.  Of course, this is just an illustration.  The real world does not work quite that way, but it does show what 560 mites in a hive can mean.

What if that four inch square is the first brood after the broodless period?  What if there is less than four square inches?

What is clear, is that even with high efficacies, if you start with a lot of mites there are a lot of mites remaining after treatment.  I wonder why that is?

In my case, unless the number in some hives is somehow reduced, mites will be a problem in spring.

There are some small errors in the data below which I found while doing the analysis shown further down.  They are corrected in the file and will show up tomorrow.

 I have a bad cold and my computations need double-checking, but I think they are close.

In the afternoon, Ellen and I drove to Three Hills to have some blood tests done and to get her a flu shot.  I had mine the other day. She is feeling a better today, after being bed-ridden for a day with nausea.  The sailor's seasickness patch seems to have done the trick.

 

Click on each image to enlarge, or here for all the data
on one page, or here for the Excel 2010 data file to date.

Search | Selected topics | Honey Bee World Forum | HoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home | Write me

Saturday January 7th 2012
Click to visit January pages from previous years: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

My cold has broken, I think, and I slept well last night, without the congestion that awoke me almost hourly on previous nights.  I've been making a point of sleeping as long as I can.  I slept twelve hours Thursday night, but was up and down periodically.  Last night, I slept eleven and was only up once for a half-hour.  My normal sleep time is around seven hours.

The temperatures are cooler again today, but not really cold.  I went out and got the boards, wearing a light sweater.  I'm noticing a definite tendency for the drops to increase and decrease as the mean temperature crosses back and forth across the freezing line.  The chart at right (click to enlarge) is a larger than usual copy of the daily drop chart with the temperature lines on it. for your appraisal.  It is worth a good looking over.

At Day 86 of this observation, I am starting to think it may be time to wind it down, or at least move to weekly counts.  I'll give it a few more days, though, since I am interested in the Apistan Apivar response.  The Apistan Apivar response in particular seems to be very temperature-dependant, cutting off below a few degrees above freezing.

I'll be interested in any suggestions for further observations or analysis.  Just visit the Honey Bee World Forum to comment.  If you want the raw data, just download the Excel file.

For now, though, I'm going to cut back on the daily reporting on this page, but will continue to update drop page daily.

I may decide, some nice day, to pull some frames to see if there is any brood.  I imagine there should be by now.  I saw one pale mite.  It was not extremely pale, being tan in colour, but paler than most.  Please offer ideas on what I should look for.

Search | Selected topics | Honey Bee World Forum | HoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home | Write me

Sunday January 8th 2012
Click to visit January pages from previous years: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

Drops are tapering right down now.  I'm only updating the drop page and the Excel file now and not bothering with daily thumbnails on this page.  It appears that the Apivar response is low when the temperatures drop below zero, although the temperature numbers do not necessarily express the warmth or chill of the day since wind and sun are factors, too, as well as the length and timing (day/night) of the temperature excursions.  Today is expected to be warm, so maybe we'll see more mites tomorrow, but it is overcast and predicted to be windy, so the temperatures may be overridden by the lack of sun and the hill from the wind.  Bees are patrolling the auger holes.

>... you do not call your diary a blog.

I started it before blogging was invented. I hate that term, BTW.

> My question is do you use Wordpress to run your site?

No. I've looked at it and host some sites with WP, but it does not suit my tastes. For one thing, it is dependent on the WP developers and the content is in that format.

> Do you self-host?

Yes, and I host other domains, too.

> What would you recommend, for someone of limited skill like (myself),
> to get started on a website/blog?

There are number of free sites that people use. The only question in my mind is how long they will be around. A number of them have folded, leaving their users stranded.

> Is it expensive to own your own domain?

No. About $10/yr if done right. .ca domains are a bit more, but why would anyone want one unless the .com was taken and the name was important?

> Have you heard of Google's initiative to get businesses online?
> Home - Canada Get Your Business Online http://www.gybo.ca/ 

Google has had a number of projects. Some they abandon fairly suddenly like Wave and some continue and work out. I prefer to be independent. (I like and depend on Gmail, though).

I host sites for prices starting at $125/yr, including the domain registration, emails, setup and support. The name and site belongs to the user and can be taken to another host at any time without obligation. I can't recall anyone ever leaving me though.

I guarantee nothing except that I'll probably cash your cheque within a reasonable time, but nobody has ever complained or left my hosting so far and I've been doing this for probably ten years.

Actually, I don't hate the word, just dislike it and Wordpress is very good.  It is the best solution for  most people, probably, but I have a whole raft of possibilities I can offer from Content Management Systems (CMS) and bulletin boards to guest books and shopping carts.  I don't go looking for clients, but have accumulated a number over the years.

Search | Selected topics | Honey Bee World Forum | HoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home | Write me

Monday January 9th 2012
Click to visit January pages from previous years: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

The Chinook is blowing as I write at 3 PM and the mercury is up to plus eleven and it is sunny.  I haven't gone to see the bees yet, but I'm sure they are active.

Ellen and I drove to Calgary for an appointment with the doctor and some x-rays then drovbe home.  It is shirt-sleeve weather today in Southern Alberta.  The wind was strong on the highway and the tailwind coming home made the trip quite quiet.

On returning, around 3:45, I walked over to the bees to take a look and get some exercise.  There is almost no snow.  I expected to see bees flying, but they were inside and clustered, although there were a few on the outside, trying to warm up.  I guess they flew earlier and had not adequately oriented before going.  Bees were active in the auger holes as usual, though. 

I lifted a few lids and placed extra pillows on the few I had not done previously.  The bees look very good, and the spots on the hive lids look like good healthy defecation dots, not the messy smears that indicate problems.  The bees are clustered, but a few bees are roaming around outside the cluster and some are mining honey frames above or to the side.

I notice one hive has a lot of full, new frames in the top box and the bees are still not up into it.  There is a group coming up the one side, though, pulling out honey for the cluster.  I see new white cappings on the floors sometimes and grains of sugar, so I know that some of that honey has granulated.  I did not feed syrup in the fall this year.

So far, it looks good.  I am optimistic that losses may be about 20% or less.

In spite of the warm weather, I only counted a total of 4 mites on the drop boards, removed at 9:15 AM.  Typically the large drops follow the warm days by a day or more, so we'll see what we get tomorrow.  It looks as if we can expect to back into the deep freeze tonight and for the next few days this week.  Some snow is forecast, so maybe I can slip away and go skiing.

For the varroa drop observations, I'm only updating the drop page and the Excel file now and not bothering with daily thumbnails on this page.

Search | Selected topics | Honey Bee World Forum | HoneyBeeWorld List | Diary Home | Write me

 

<< Previous Page           January 2012            Next Page >>

Local radar and satellite weather charts

Three Hills Area Weather Forecast
Intellicast | Yahoo | Weather Channel
Webcams  | Banff  | Banff | Sunshine Village | Calgary
Satellite Pictures 1
Canadian temperatures are in degrees Celsius

allen's Computer Security Page
A collection of helpful ideas and links
Free Online Virus Scans
 Panda | Trend Micro
Free Online Security Check

Convert Currency | Convert Measurements
Convert Celsius to Fahrenheit >
Chart
  Calculator

   "If I make a living off it, that's great -- but I come from a culture where you're valued
not so much by what you acquire but by what you give away,"
-- Larry Wall (the inventor of Perl)
Please report any problems or errors to Allen Dick
allen dick 1999-2014. Permission granted to copy in context for non-commercial purposes, and with full attribution.

Home