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Five patties eaten, Apivar in, formic pad finished and being chewed out by the bees

Monday October 1st 2012
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Not much bee stuff happening here today.  I made a few posts on BEE-L and Mom and I went out to get a few things.  We had lunch at Montana's and then I bought another toilet at Costco since the one upstairs at 1207 was leaking again.  After fixing it twice an having to replace the ceiling downstairs once, enough is enough.

I have to go to Muskoka to get my boat and the tomorrow looks like the last good day before the rain starts. Cool weather follows that, too and I have to be back here and ready to fly west by Sunday afternoon

I visited Linda and Sid late in the afternoon and returned for supper. 

The house painter was on the roof until after dark

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Tuesday October 2nd 2012
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I'm still in Sudbury this morning, doing odds and ends.

I went shopping for a while and visited Harri.  He has a new dual band radio and I was amazed at the low cost of hand-held transceivers from China.  I think I'll order one.

Then I took out Mom's air conditioner.  I'll have to go back to Wal-Mart after supper and return some dietary fibre I bought.  When I took off the lid, the seal was broken.

50 years ago, that would not merit a second thought.  There was no seal on most products and nobody ever thought of product tampering.  That was before TV ran out of subjects to worry people about and spread the fear and the notion around.

I decided to put that off until my trip south  and watched Netflix, then went to bed.

Philosophers say a great deal about what is absolutely necessary for science,
and it is always, so far as one can see, rather naive, and probably wrong.
Richard Feynman

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Wednesday October 3rd 2012
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I was up at five and had breakfast, then packed and headed south by 6;30.  I arrived at Pine Hill just after noon and met with Keith.  He has done some painting and repairs and pulled down the damaged chimney.  I needed a clear vision and quotes for the new chimney and any further work this season.  Keith likes to talk and we chatted an hour or so.

I checked my boat and it was exactly the way I left it on July 23rd.  I'm glad I had put up a boom tent, but somehow a little water had gotten in.  i suspect some deck fitting leaks.

I pulled a tree off the driveway and began cutting it up.  The chainsaw was lacking lubrication  and was acting up.  It was hard to start and it quit often.  I bought some chain oil and a small bottle of a red wine I like and quit for the day.

I've been trying to get back here for two months now.

I thought this might be worth mentioning:

http://www.beesnwasps.com
I have created a website about bees and wasps to provide information in a fun and informative way. The language is easy to understand yet detailed with rare and unique information, categorised neatly into sections. Overall I have tried to make the website fun and engaging.

Richard Egan
BeesnWasps

We learn something every day,
and lots of times it's that what we learned the day before was wrong.
Bill Vaughan

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Thursday October 4th 2012
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It is minus 7 C in Swalwell this morning just before dawn.  That definitely puts an end to any nectar flows.

I'm in Muskoka, where it is plus 14 at 8 AM.  Over the next two days, I have to close up the cottage, load my boat, and drive back to Sudbury.

*    *    *    *    *

The tree on the driveway needed cutting up so I went to work with the chainsaw.  The saw continued to be a problem, but I got the job done.  Then I blew off the driveway and began closing up.  After lunch, I closed up the boathouse and figured how to leave the transom open since I had cut the plywood I used last year.  I simply removed the work platform that would have provided an entry point for critters.

Then I broke down my boat, took it through the locks and loaded it onto the trailer.  I was concerned that the steep driveway at Pine Hill gets very slippery due to rain and rain is expected to continue, so I dropped the trailer over at Carrs'.  I want to be able to get on the road tomorrow after lunch.  Of course,  I wound up chatting with Keith for another hour  before leaving.  Fascinating fellow.

There's no such thing as an indiscreet question. There are only indiscreet answers.

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Friday October 5th 2012
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I woke suddenly at 4:51 to see a bright flash of light outside and hear a man's amplified voice speaking several words loudly.   I realised that the flash was the motion light outside the back door.  Was something or someone out there?  We have a lot of deer around here, but the man's voice?

A night light was on in the bathroom, but elsewhere in Pine Hill, the  power seemed to be off.  The motion light was now off.  I took a flashlight and looked outside and around the the cottage, wondering where the voice had come from, and I confirmed the power was off.  I saw no lights down the River either.  Why was one light on?  I examined it and discovered it has battery backup. 

Then I figured it out.  The power grid had gone off and tried to re-start once.  The flash and voice had come when the power system automatic reset had put the power on for an instant after an initial failure and before the system logic determined the problem was serious enough to shut everything down and wait for repairs. 

When  the power comes back on, the phone answering machine announces something and the yard light flashes on.  Mystery solved. 

A cell phone call to Hydro One determined that electricity was probably out until 8:45.  I was not alone.  10,000 others were sitting in the dark, too.  Without power and lights, I could not do anything -- not even cook or make coffee -- so I went back to bed.

At dawn, I got up and soon the power was on again.  I finished closing up, drained the water, picked up my boat at Keith's and drove to Sudbury.  I arrived just after five and Mom took me out for a birthday supper at Mr. Prime Rib.

I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with typewriters.
Solomon Short

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Saturday October 6th 2012
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I did wash in the morning and I took the chainsaw over to Harri after lunch.

We has Thanksgiving supper at Linda's   We had it days early since I was here and leaving tomorrow.  Sarah was up from Toronto.

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Sunday October 7th 2012
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This morning, I packed and tidied up and moved things from my boat inside so that they will be dry for the winter.

At 1:30, Mom drove me to YSB and I was in plenty of time for my 3:10 flight to Toronto.  The flights were uneventful and I arrived at YYC a little late at 9 PM.  An hour later, I was home.  Ellen, Jean and Zippy greeted me.

On the flight, I watched Men in Black III and part of The Good, Bad, and the Ugly.  The Good, Bad, and the Ugly was bad and ugly alright, but not particularly good, so I turned it off.  Men in Black was pretty much what anyone would expect after watching the the first two in the series.  Either you like them or you don't.  I do.

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Monday October 8th 2012
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Thanksgiving Day in Canada

I'm home and am up early.  I put the turkey in the oven as directed, but am wondering , as Internet information suggests it will be done well before noon.

I hope to get out and glance at the bees this morning and check the scale.  I'm also wondering if there are still skunk problems.  I had to suspend my skunk control efforts when I went east last week.

The turkey was done around 10:30.  I had followed Ellen's instructions, then checked on the Internet, so I was able to predict this and we just turned down the oven until noon.

I went out and looked at the hives, lifting a few lids.  The patties are mostly consumed, with the equivalent of a patty or so left on average. I see the test patty is turning hard and the Global 15% patties are staying soft.  The 0% has dried a little but is still being consumed.  As a result, there is more of the test patty left on average than the others.  It is cold today and I'll be looking closer when we get a warm day.

When evaluating patties, it pays  to do so over time.  What we see initially may not be what we see later on as conditions change.  The test patties looked very good initially, but have been looking less and less attractive over time.

*   *   *   *   *

We had a big turkey dinner at noon.  Sharon drove down from Bluffton to join us.  After lunch, I slept an hour while the others visited and then Jean and crew hit the road.  Sharon stayed a while, then there was just Ellen and me again.

*   *   *   *   *

I pulled out the drop boards, but did not count.  They were quite covered with debris.  I had put new thirds with combs of honey on recently and they bees had cleaned them up, and also removed the formic pads.  I'll clean them and put them in for some 24-hour counts.

The hive scale has lost 16 lbs since the last reading when I added a third box under some of the hives on the 27th of September.  That was 11 days ago, so the loss figures out to about 1/3 lb per hive per day.

The board at right is about the heaviest varroa drop I saw on the boards this time and I show it because it does not have much other debris.  I would say that the drops are tapering off, but we shall see when the 24-hour drops are counted later this week.

The board at left illustrates why we should not just go by hive weight when estimating the winter feed in hives and why we should always have more than the bare minimum.  Some sorts of granulation are useless to the bees and they discard it as we see here.  If much of the hive weight is due to frames with this sort of granulation, the hives might starve or suffer from insufficient feed.  Moreover, in the cold of winter, the bees may not be able to liquefy the hard sugared honey.

It’s funny. All you have to do is say something nobody understands and
they’ll do practically anything you want them to.
J.D. Salinger

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Tuesday October 9th 2012
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I'm home, Thanksgiving is over, and I have some catching up to do.

I was up at 5 and managed to fritter away 4 hours already, reading, writing, cleaning up the kitchen and feeding the dog, etc.

Next, I'm going to put drop boards into the test hives and clean up the workshops.  There is lots to do.  If the day turns warmer, as promised, I'll look into some hives and document things a bit better.  I might even do an alcohol wash on one of the hives I checked that way previously.  The forecast is for 20 KPH winds this afternoon, though, so that might not happen.  We'll see.

I have now trapped 11 skunks.  How many more to go?

At 11:30, I placed the drop boards and we'll see how the drops look in 24 hours.  I'll need to observe over three days since any one day's load may vary a lot from the real average over time.

I went out and ran syrup into two drums to open feed.  With the precip and cold weather coming, I'll have to cover them.  Water on top of syrup wets and sinks the straw and dilutes the syrup, drowning bees.

Then I did alcohol washes on three of the test hives.  These are the three that showed the highest mite drops. 

All three hives appear to be queenright. In the process, however, I almost washed a queen.  She was hidden under some bees on the brood comb I was collecting on.  Whew! 

Hive Natural Drop Alcohol Wash
Aug 28 Aug 29 Aug 30 Aug 31 Sep
1
Av Sept
1
300
Bees
Mites
per
100
Bees
Oct
9
250
Bees
Mites
per
100
Bees
1 113 107 28 72 70 78 33 11 8 3
3 174 106 60 122 78 108 42 14 0 0
8 155 102 86 186 181 142     3 1

I'd have expected the infestation to have gone up, but Apivar obviously works!  Compared to oxalic vapour, Apivar is miraculous.

The bees look good.  Here are two shots of the clusters, offered as a treat.  They are hi-res.  Depending on your browser, you might have to download the to really see the detail.

 

The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies;
probably because they are generally the same people.
G. K. Chesterton

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