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These hives are split and ready for the next three weeks
I slept in until eight and had a leisurely breakfast. I had intended to get out early to work the bees, but was at the yard a bit after nine.
I worked without a veil and also without a hat, as I had forgotten to bring a hat and was finding the veil too hot. I did wear my light, loose-fitting bee suit, mostly for sun protection, but even that was uncomfortably hot. When I look back, I remember the days when spent all day in the sun working bees, wearing only cut-offs and sandals. I have a bit of sun damage on my skin as a result, but not much. Having a creek or irrigation ditch to cool off in helped a lot. We also carried buckets of clean water which we would occasionally pour over our heads, suit and all when we wore suits.
I worked until 12:28 and decided that the heat was getting to me and went for lunch. There were only a few hives left to do, but enough is enough, and I just left everything where it had fallen for the time being. (right)
By now, I have 24 "hives" down there at the south yard. I have been splitting and find that one of the previous splits has already swarmed and several more were looking as if they might go today. Bonus! I harvested queen cells and shared them around the splits. As for the swarmy hives, I weakened them down and/or moved them to reduce the chances of them issuing a swarm. It is surprising how they have built up since June 10th. I guess these were the hives which had queens when I split them.
After that, Mackenzie, Ellen and I started setting up the swimming pool. It is a big job, first opening all the boxes, then starting the assembly. Deciding on a location is a chore, too, since we don't want it where the bees will find it handier than the pond, but we want it in the sun, and any grass we kill has to be unimportant. We made a good start.
Give no decision till both sides thou'st
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Yesterday, we noticed that our fridge is not staying as cold as it should be. We had noticed previously that it was running more than it should, but until the room temperature got into the eighties, the fridge was able to keep things in the proper temperature range. Now it won't. I will have to find a replacement today or tomorrow.
Jean and family are coming for lunch and to pick up Mckenzie.
I have a lasagna in the oven. I have been trying to get 1" plugs for the boxes and am having some problems getting the right ones. The 1" ones I bought measure 7/8" across the face and I imagine are 1" at the base of the taper. I need a size larger for the EPS boxes. These fit, but can fall out. The bees sometimes push them out, too.
We had lunch, then set up the new swimming pool. The job took a hour or so in the hot sun. We then began filling it. The Orams left around 4.
When they left, I drove to town to get another fridge. I checked two stores and found one I like, so I loaded the new unit into the back of the van and drove home. Two hours later, it was in place, loaded up with food and down to a safe temperature. I'll look into recharging the old one since it is only eight years old, but will have to take it to the repair depot. A house call out here is worth more than the fridge.
The pool was full by 6 PM since I had run two hoses to double the fill rate.
The strength of the United States is not the
gold at Fort Knox or the weapons of mass destruction that we have, but
the sum total of the education and the character of our people.
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Today will be busy. I have eye surgery in Calgary at 1:30 and fly out to Sudbury tomorrow morning at 6 AM. In the meantime, I have loose ends to tie up. I also notice three hives in the north hanging out and I'm guessing they will have to be split.
I went out and counted hives. I now have 97 (54 + 4 + 27 + 12) and the north yard needs to be split again. I think I can get started before I have to go to Calgary. I mowed the yard to get it ready for the job.
I split the first four in a matter of minutes. The splits look marginal in size for this late in the season. They need 9 weeks to get up to strength, three weeks for the new queens and two brood cycles to build populations. Of course half already have queens and should be fine.
Why make splits which may need to be combined for wintering? Doing so generates additional queens so that when combining down the inevitable 20% that are duds, I will have a good queenright, but small colony to combine it with.
The time came to go to Calgary, so I drove to the Rockyview and had the SLT done. The procedure is quick and almost painless. I had forgotten how may laser pricks he makes in each eye. It comes to about 100. After, I was surprised to find my eyes blurry and light-sensitive for a while. I had forgotten that since the last time, six years ago. Anyhow, I was able to drive and went straight home.
I got there around five and proceeded to finish the splitting. I was done around seven and then decided to put the rest of the boxes onto hives which looked promising. I saved back about ten for when I return.
The bees are looking very strong for splits and I'm a little apprehensive about leaving them for twelve days, but that is the plan. I'm sure they will be OK. I just like to fuss.
When I was done, I took a dip in the pool. I have not yet installed the filter, but it is full and the water has warmed since yesterday. The dip was refreshing and cooling down before bed helps with getting to sleep, even if it is hot in the house.
There are lots of things I could do, but at this point, I will just throw a few things into a bag, sleep maybe five hours and plan to be up at three to drive to Airdrie where my cab should be waiting for me to get me to YYC by five. By three in the afternoon tomorrow, I should be swimming in Ramsey Lake.
My current hive count is 109. When I return to Alberta I'll immediately super any needing it. The way it looks now, there will be 20 or so. I really can't begin to guess, as I have already supered quite a few just to give them room.
After three weeks has passed from today, on about the second of August, assuming I have time with the 7 to 11 visitors we will have, I'll work through them to equalize and combine as required, with the goal of having them all similar in strength and queenright going into August. If I have 80 at that point, I'll consider myself lucky.
Education begins a gentleman, conversation
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I'm up and awake just before three AM and getting ready to drive to Airdrie. I always get up an hour before driving so I am sure to be awake for the drive. I think I got about four hours of sleep, but it was restless with the heat and wanting to wake up on time. I think I'll sleep on the plane.
I arrived ten minutes early in Airdrie and the cab arrived several minutes late, but we were at the airport in plenty of time. The flights were uneventful. I slept an hour and a half on the first flight and then watched Footloose. It was a fun bit of fluff.
One the second flight, I fell asleep for a half-hour as well, then watched the terrain unfold below as we flew north at low altitude in the Dash 7.
The shuttle picked me up at 2:30 and I was at 1207 shortly after. I didn't hit the Lake for a swim right away as I had thought. The shuttle was air-conditioned, so I was not particularly warm, and Mom felt like visiting. Although the outdoor temperature was over 30, the breeze off the Lake was cool, so we sat around and chatted.
Later, we had supper and I had a swim. The Lake is a pleasant temperature now and not as bracing as it was two weeks ago. I had forgotten about my eye surgery yesterday and felt a little sting when I opened my eyes under water, but don't seen to have done any harm. I was sure to put in the drops after the swim, however.
I was home 12 days between visits here and am now scheduled to be here and in Muskoka for 12 days, then I head back home for a month, by the looks of things.
This 12 days away will give my bees some relief from my meddling. If I were home, I'd be worrying them the whole time. If I had about 400 hives, they would keep me busy enough, but the 22, now 109 leave me with time to spare and I tend to get back to them too soon. A three-week cycle for what I am doing is about right.
Next in importance to freedom and justice is
The hot weather continues both here in Sudbury and, to a lesser extent, in Swalwell. Swalwell is promised several cooler days and some rain -- a centimetre or two -- which will be welcomed by everyone except those with hay on the ground as several centimtres should be enough to soak in and do some good. The heat has been drying things up to the point where the lawn has stopped growing. The nights continue warm and that is good for the developing colonies.
I have had no time at all for BEE-L lately, but I see it is running along just fine without me.
This important news just came in from Medhat Nasr:
Apivar (active ingredient: Amitraz) has been very instrumental in saving Alberta beekeepers from serious winter losses. Although varroa will eventually show resistance to the active ingredient, so far Alberta has been fine.
The threats to continued efficacy come from those who may secretly be applying uncontrolled doses of Amitraz with Taktic® (active ingredient: Amitraz) or the accidental importation of resistant varroa with queens. Taktic® has been used in ever increasing doses in home remedies over many years as resistance has increased in some US regions, including areas where we source queens. I have heard that the product is hard to get these days.
The availability Apivar of does not impact me much directly, since I do not use Amitraz, but it makes life much easier for large commercial beekeepers who can still treat reliably with just one visit instead of many.
For mite control I prefer to use oxalic acid. I used it for several years with success as a drizzle, but after my bad experience, I started using evaporation, as described here in last fall's pages. I did five treatments, beginning in early October when the varroa levels began to rise.
So far my OA evaporation seems to have worked well, but I have yet to do mite surveys on my yards this summer beyond watching for varroa in drone brood which is opened when moving frames and cutting burr comb. So far I saw only one mite, but I was not seeing them in brood at this time last year, either.
Having switched from using mated queens and then cells last year to using mated queens early this spring, then walk-away splits thereafter may improve varroa control, but, of course, a few colonies will have had laying queens all season and they, by rights, should prove to have more mites than the splits that got new queens after broodless periods (some twice).
Inserting ripe cells at the time of splitting or shortly thereafter would eliminate the broodless period. An earlier queen emergence and mating would move up the resumption of brood rearing by up by up to 12 days, but reduce the varroa control benefits of splitting.
(Table courtesy Wikipedia).
I spent the day resting and swimming and doing odd jobs. In the evening, I gassed up the van and did a little shopping. I had intended to see Harri early tomorrow to weld the guides again, but I got an email that he is going back to the hospital, so that does not look too likely.
Only I can change my life. No one can do it
I slept until 8, then took the trailer guides off the trailer and took them to Harri. I had intended to borrow his breaker bar, but forgot. Today is hot and muggy, but not as bad as the past few days for heat although there is no wind.
Now I have to decide what to do next. Once I get the trailer up to standard, I have a choice: launch here and stay a day or two more, or head for Pine Hill. I have ten days left until I fly home and in that time, I'm hoping to get a good deal done on Cloud 9 and also decide how to deal with the fireplace and chimney.
I am finding life very peaceful without moderation notices from the LISTSERV, and I also set my mailer to bypass the mailbox for BEE-L posts, so my incoming traffic has dropped right off. I do read BEE-L daily, however, and am finding the current discussion dull, until this amusing piece:
Joe W. is a funny guy. He has done some historical research and posts some really interesting material. By doing so, he builds up credibility over a period of time, then blows it all away with a post like the above. He lives in a corner of Pennsylvania, runs a small, idiosyncratic operation and thinks that his experience can be extrapolated to the whole of North America?
Joe has seen ample evidence on BEE-L that resistance to varroa that is demonstrated in one region may not work in another, and ignored it.
The reasons are many, but, to speculate why resistance demonstrated in one locale works but fails in another region, the most obvious explanation is that all the various known and hereditary bee resistance mechanisms are weak. Selection can create a bee that has a combination of resistance characteristics that is adapted to the varroa, flows, plants and weather of one region, and can tolerate varroa under those specific conditions, but when moved to a different mix of circumstances, is unable to keep varroa below the threshold.
Commercial beekeepers and those who trade in bee stock cannot restrict themselves to one specific locale, or even identify for sure the local factors that enable the resistance -- or guarantee that the next season will not change them.
Moreover, even VHS and Russian bees often need some help with varroa problems when surrounded by other bee populations. We know, also, that prolific commercial strains are more susceptible to varroa due to their high level of brood rearing, a trait that makes them more productive compared to more conservative strains and a reason that many commercial beekeepers favour them -- even if they require more help with varroa.
When that happens in one hive or many, the varroa population avalanches and spreads through the apiary and locality as bees drift and/or abandon their hives, loading down even hives that could have dealt with their own mites, but not the additional load.
Simultaneously, high varroa numbers increasingly weaken developing pupae and spread viruses and pathogens throughout the bee populations via the wounds they inflict on pupae and adults. These burdens lower the danger threshold mentioned earlier to half or less of the original pre-breakout level. That is what we have seen here in Alberta. Due to the spread of pathogens by varroa to date our current treatment thresholds are far lower than they originally were and many good beekeepers are treating if they see many hives at even 1%.
Anyhow, Joe W. is looking at filtered data and generalizing. As for his opinion hurting, it is more likely to amuse.
* * * * *
Today it is hot and muggy, with thunderstorms. I'm hanging around, doing very little, waiting for Harri to finish the trailer parts so I can put the trailer back on the road. I think I've decided to go to Pine Hill tomorrow morning.
* * * * *
I got the parts back from Harri and started putting them back on, but the mosquitoes drove me indoors. I've been working on an outside faucet for Mom, too while I was waiting and that has taken some time. Looking at the weather, I'm thinking now that I'll launch Carpe Diem on Ramsey tomorrow morning and work on the empty trailer (since I have a power bar I borrowed for the day) finish the faucet installation, do some sailing, have supper with Wickendens and drive south on Tuesday. I have a modification in mind for the bunks on the trailer to ensure better centering, too.
I swam four times today, to beat the heat. Mom does not have air-conditioning, but a dip in the Lake is a good way to beat the heat.
Change is the constant, the signal for
rebirth, the egg of the phoenix.
I no longer see any promise of anything more than showers in Swalwell. Things are getting dry there and an inch of rain would be very welcome.
It continues hot and muggy here in Sudbury. I have a few chores to do today and plan to launch my boat again.
* * * * *
The morning was calm with no signs of wind, so I began on the trailer without launching the boat. Good thing, too, since I sheared off both the U-bolts I was hoping to save. That meant a drive around town, but I did find new U-bolts for as decent price and also picked up the rest of the parts for the faucet project.
The faucet job was done by 2 and the trailer spring replacement was finished around 3:45. At 5:30, I had supper with Bill and Faye, then Bill and I dropped over to see Harri and return his breaker bar. On the way home, I stopped at Canadian Tire and got an air conditioner for Mom.
Looking at the calendar, I have more than a week before I fly home. I'm still thinking of driving south tomorrow. We'll see.
The more things change, the more they
It's 10:30 PM and I'm at Pine Hill. I left 1207 at about 8:30 and just arrived here in time to go to bed. The day was spent packing, installing the air conditioner and getting an adequate cord for it. The instructions say DO NOT use an extension, and I know why. Most people would use some cheap lamp cord extension and wreck the compressor due to low voltage at start-up or burn their house down. I spent $35 on a 3/12 proper cord to span the 25 feet to the plug. There won't be any problems. I had to visit three stores before I found a 25-foot 3/12 extension, though. People just don't ever buy them.
I awoke and found it was already after 10. That has to be a record!
I had breakfast and then heard a vehicle door slam. One of the fireplace guys and his wife had come by to take another look, so we spent an hour talking fireplaces.
Then I turned the boat and van around from where I had left them last night, jack-knifed in the cramped turnaround. Next, I'm off to town to launch the boat, but I thought I'd update here first. I'm getting compulsive about making daily entries. I don't know how interesting they are for readers, but I write mainly for myself and having daily entries makes it easy to look back.
The launch went smoothly, but I notice the ramp suffered damage over winter and retrieval may be a little more difficult. The water is also low. Motoring back to Pine Hill; was routine and I tied up in my usual spot. It was now 4 in the afternoon and I walked into Port to recover my van and trailer. I picked up some groceries and a bottle of wine on the way back and called it a day.
Change your thoughts and you change your
I slept in again today, but only until 9 this time because I have an appointment with a tree specialist. Our pines are now at least 110 years old and there is getting to be a lot of dead wood up top. These huge trees surround the cottage and will someday fall somewhere, so we are thinking it is time to trim some and possibly fell several others. especially the ones which are on rock and poorly anchored in the thin soil.
Jim showed up right on time and we looked over the trees. He seemed only concerned about two of them, plus the overhanging deadwood. I hired him to cut the deadwood off five of the trees and we'll decide on whether to fell the two which seem poorly rooted.
After lunch, I made some guides for the boat trailer to ensure the centreboard stays on centre while loading. I had noticed the boat tends to be an inch or two to one side or the other and that can affect the weight distribution on the axle. After that, I finally got started on Cloud 9.
I have been reluctant to start on this job until I am able to devote my full attention to the job since I have to consider quite a few factors and also remember a lot of details. I have had to organize a lot of details and material to get to this point. Distractions could result in errors, oversights and waste of supplies.
The evening was mild and the bugs few. I was able to work until 7:45 and could have worked longer, but decided to quit for the day.
Turbulence is life force. It is opportunity.
Let's love turbulence and use it for change.
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