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A second brood box and Global Patties added in preparation for fall

Sunday September 1st 2013
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Of course that new "Click here to skip down to today's entry" link won't do anything much today, but I'm leaving it there as it is new.  That together with a "Back to the top" link at the bottom should be helpful as the page gets longer.

When Jon was here, he used one of my monitors -- the one from the now defunct old Acer Aspire 5630 laptop -- and when he returned it, he left an HDMI cable attached.  It has been sitting around doing nothing since its host quit.

Today the penny dropped.  My Samsung laptop (main computer these days) has an HDMI port as well as a VGA port, so I plugged it in.  I now have two huge monitors running on my laptop.  The laptop display is black.  Oddly, however, the image on the HDMI port is slightly larger than the screen.  I looked at all the settings and cannot seem to change that.  It is not an issue except that title bars are off-screen.  I can still reach up and grab them even if they are out of sight, though.  I'll play with this later.

I'm now finally uninstalling all the Samsung "helper" apps that came with the machine.  They tamper with and interfere with Win 7 functions.

I decided again today that I am tired of worrying about the bees.  I did a few outdoor chores, got distracted and came in. 

While outside, I did measure up the EPS boxes since I will need to build a few pallets for them, being an odd size compared to wood.  I discovered that there is a tiny difference in outside measurements between the BeeMax box dimensions and the Meijer boxes, not that it matters.  It is not noticeable on the hives and pallets need to be made a touch large to allow for dirt and misalignment.

I then wasted some time on BEE-L.

>>> We treat bees, not boxes. I assume that whoever wrote the label >>> assumed that the aforementioned boxes were full of brood. In >>> fact, I have seldom seen more than ten frames of brood.

> Jeez Allen, you are sure assuming a lot! The manufacturers of Apivar > are not idiots, know how many frames of brood are in a typical hive, > and have 15 year's experience with the product in Europe.

Jeeeez Randy. Why not just leave out my name, supposed assumptions, and implied mental status and just address the topic?

No matter, I decided that maybe I was hallucinating those years when I inspected hives -- after all I am getting on in years and apparently getting senile -- and decided to consult an expert.

I chose one everyone respects, who is definitely not an idiot, who works Sundays on a long weekend, and who has had input into the writing of the Canadian Apivar label. (Yes, that is just one person, not four.)

--- begin conversation ---

AD:> How many strips are Alberta beekeepers using these days per brood chamber?

Expert:> 1 strip for every 5 frames of bees. We don't use strips per box - that is subjective.

AD:> I seem to recall that everyone used two strips in the fall. But then I was busy doing alcohol washes and not really paying a lot of attention to how many strips the used. Everyone said two as I recall anyhow.

Expert:> When they use 2 strips the results are not reliable due to application on top box and bees in the bottom. We ensure that our recommendation is clear. Fall treatment can be 2, 3 or 4.

Expert:> Then the alternative treat in spring only 2 needed and results are reliable.

Expert:> Now almost 80% use spring treatment

AD:> Thanks. I always figured spring is best if you can wait that long

Expert:> All depends on the year. Some years, (a) few beekeepers with high level(s) can apply spring and fall

--- end conversation ---

I may not be very smart and make a lot of assumptions, but I _have_ over several years looked frame-by-frame through hundreds of hives that are a representative sampling of tens or hundreds or thousands of hives that have been treated with Apivar for several years -- and some that have not, while personally doing alcohol washes, filling out forms and talking to the beekeepers.

In short, it was not at all unusual to see zeros and occasional highs of fewer than 10 mites in October hives that had not been treated for a year, and all zeros in hives that had a spring Apivar treatment.

Of course there was the occasional exception. Some (one?) who treated in spring had poor control, with numbers like 30+ by fall!

As far as I can tell, it all has to do with strip placement. If a strip is not near the open brood for the duration of treatment, it is much less effective, and possibly wasted, especially if not well inside the cluster 24/7 during the treatment period..

Alberta Beekeepers who use two strips in the top box, then feed heavily and drive the bees down off the strips into the lower box get poor control. Those who place them where the brood is, and/or move them if the brood shifts, get satisfactory control. If the strips are moved, by the label, the treatment period can be extended to 56 days.

Another alternative is to place strips where the cluster is and also where it will be in a month, employing three or four strips.

The decision is one of economics. There is labour involved in opening hives. Two extra strips per hive cost $5, and a trip to the yard to move them costs what? In some cases nothing and in others hundreds of dollars.

Regarding the manufacturers knowing how many frames of brood are in a typical hive, maybe in addition to 'not being idiots', they are clairvoyant? I sure don't know.

Some beekeepers use standard depth and some use mediums or westerns, and some even use shallows as brood chambers, believe it or not.

Also some beekeepers run eight frames and some ten. At one time, I ran twelve mediums (Farrar) with standard spacing and Manley frames. The label does not specify what size of brood chamber or frame. And then there are nucs...

Trying to Follow the label literally as it is written presents a real quandary for a thinking person and an unnecessary expense for the rest.

---

Allen Dick Swalwell, Alberta, Canada 5133'37.58"N 11318'54.24"W Semi-retired - 40+ years keeping bees - 4500 hives max Currently running ~70 hives Hives for sale year-round http://www.honeybeeworld.com/diary/ 

See: Alberta Canada 2012 Apivar Label

Also see: http://www.ircp.anmv.anses.fr/SpcFrame.asp?Product_Identifier=APIVAR

Then I got started on the living room.  We set up a lot of spaces for Ellen when she was sick, and it is time to rearrange things again.

I began going through all the stuff I've accumulated to keep me from getting bored.  I have a lot of magazines to give away.  Ham radio, sailing, Bees.  Plus I have a ton of books I don't need, both El's and my own.  Some of hers are expensive art books.  Jean was a librarian, so maybe she will have some ideas.

I got some work accomplished, then  got distracted by my non-functioning second laptop.  It booted SpinRite and it ran, but reported a BIOS problem and quit.  I had hoped Spinrite might help if there was a hard disk problem.  I have seen it work miracles in the past.

I then booted Live Ubuntu from a USB key.  That took hours and reported an error.  I dismissed the error then had to deal with a bug in the O/S that would not let me mount another key.  Fortunately it was known issue with a simple solution.

I then installed wine, and ran the BIOS flash I had downloaded onto the second key.  The EXE ran, but reported a ROM file size error, so I am thinking the BIOS is toast and maybe the chip, too.  

I could try discharging the CMOS chip, I suppose, but this is more like tinkering than doing anything productive.  Even if I resurrect that machine, it is slow and that Win 8 install over Win 7 never worked right.  I have a full backup and image, albeit in the new Win 8 format and can also access the drive to recover files, but I am not sure any are worth saving.

The greatest discovery of my generation is that a
human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind.
William James

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Monday September 2nd 2013
Labour Day
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Today promises to be hot, and as it is a holiday, I feel I should get out and socialize.  We are talking about going tubing in Red Deer.

It seems the stores are open as usual even though it is labour Day. That seems ironic.  I grew up in a union town and understand the significance of this holiday. See Origins of Labour Day.

Surprise!  I booted the old laptop and left it on overnight.  This morning, I see a spinning circle and...

That is something that is impressive about Windows, compared to other O/Ss.  More than once, I have had problems and just left the machine on for a day or so and found it fixed itself.  On the other hand, I have had many irreparable Linux installations.

Here is a post to BEE-L today:

Further to my previous posts, I'll include some info that is not easy to come by. The info is out there, but Google lets us down these days if our primary purpose is something other than shopping.

Sadly, this label information is not easily discoverable on either the Canadian Honey Council site, the CAPA site, or the PMRA site. IMO, it should be.

Here is the Canadian Apivar label that I found on (I believe) the CAPA site in 2012. 

I could not find it on the current site.

Here is the label on some Apivar I have in hand (apologies for the creases):

Note that the current Alberta label clarifies the meaning of the more general instructions, assuming one actually knows what a "frame of bees" means.

I don't.

Here is the info on the site of the registrant:

I photographed the current Alberta Apivar label this morning.  I had searched the Internet for 10 minutes and did not find it any of the places that I expected.  Neither the CAPA, PMRA or Canadian Honey Council sites seemed to have it anymore.

It is decided.  I am going tubing on the Red Deer River with Jean and Chris and the kids.

*   *   *   *   *

We decided on tubing in downtown Red Deer as it is closer to Oram's home and I needed to do some shopping anyhow.  I loaded up two tubes and drove north.  I intended to get there around 3, but it was almost four by the time I got there.  The arrangements were complicated by the fact that Oram's neighbours decided to go, too.  However everyone was in a holiday mood and there was no panic about time.

The initial plan was to go 8 km, but on looking things over and driving the route on shore, we decided to cut it down to about 3, as we had small kids along and we were unsure how long the trip would take.  No sense ruining it for them; five minutes too much is as bad a two hours too much when they start to melt down, and running into sundown would be really bad.

I rode on a tube, the others had kayaks and inflatable boats.  The trip took a little over an hour and was perfect.  We hauled out at Lion's park at 0800 and found the gate locked.  The crack between the fence and gate was too small to reach through, but realizing Mckenzie has long, skinny arms, I asked her to reach through the gate and turn the inside knob.  It worked and we were in!  That is good, as our vehicles were parked right there and there was a long and high chain-link fence between the vehicles and the river.  I don't know how else we could have gotten in except wait for someone to come along or climb the fence.

From there, we went to Lacombe for supper. As we were finishing supper, Nathan (2-1/4) looked at me, went to the fridge and got a beer and placed it on the table beside me.  We were amused and impressed.  I had not wanted a beer, but drank it to be polite.

I left shortly after and regretted the beer all the way home.  Although two or three beers make me lively, one beer makes me drowsy.    I also slept poorly and blame it on that beer.  It was one of those microbrewery beers everyone pays double for and loves, but which often don't agree with me.

Whenever two people meet, there are really six people present. There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is.
William James

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Tuesday September 3rd 2013
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At 0545, it is pitch dark.  Sunrise is 0649 today and sunset at 2016.  The days are getting shorter quickly.  Day length changes most rapidly at the spring and fall equinox.  The fall equinox is now mere weeks away.  Not long ago, the sun was up at 0400.  Before too long, sunrise will move to 0840 and sunset to 1649.

The defunct Win 8 machine mentioned previously continues to work away with only occasional messages saying it is booting, repairing and rebooting.  So far, no desktop.

I don't think I can delay working on my bees any longer.

*   *   *   *   *

Well, it is 1400 hrs and I managed to put off bee work so far.  I got a call from the charter company that took a few hours of research.  I have a Bluewater meeting tonight in Calgary at 1900, so I don't have much time.  The weather is overcast, warm and windy at 26 degrees and 10 MPH.  I suppose I should do something.

*   *   *   *   *

I did.  I went out an started combining hives and pulling the honey boxes.  In some case, I put another on, in other cases not.  The robbing seems to have diminished, so I don't know what is happening, as the day is warm.  Is there a flow?  I was not observant enough to tell.  If there is, it is not obvious, but the field of alfalfa 1/8 mile east is in full bloom.

I did learn an important lesson today -- again -- the same one I learn fairly regularly, and that is, if you don't put enough boxes on, you will never know what the bees could have done.

It did not seem like much was going on in the past week or two, so I neglected pulling the Quonset yard.  

The boxes left and right are totally plugged and came of one hive.  The brood chambers below, though, still have some open cells -- fortunately, and the queens are still laying, although more slowly than I would like.  Close examination (click on the thumbnails) shows a tiny bit if uncapped comb, but not much.  These boxes are IMO too full.  Boxes this full mean lost production as the bees have no empty cells to dry new nectar in.

Here are two more similarly plugged, heavy boxes off another nearby hive and it looks to me as if the rest of the yard may be the same.  I'll have to get out tomorrow and get more done.  I ran out of time at 1630 as I wanted to be in Calgary at 1900 and needed to stop along the way.

*   *   *   *   *

Jean noticed a little spot of something red and oily on the pavement where my truck was parked at her place last night.  When  I unloaded the tubes today, I could see tiny tell-tale oil spots on the tailgate.  When I crawled under (nice thing about a big 4X4) I could see some oil spatter coming back from the tranny.  Nothing serious and with no obvious source, but enough to see.  It seemed to run back from where the tranny joins the engine, so I suspect a front transmission seal is seeping, so I want to get some transmission stop-leak in as soon as possible.

I have written here before that whenever I buy a 10-year old vehicle, that I always add some seal conditioner to the engine and transmission and if an older tranny begins to act up, I add some seal conditioner.   It usually works in a matter of minutes.  I had neglected to do so with this 1999 truck.  The cheapest is this stuff from Canadian Tire for $5.99 and AFAIK, it is as good as any.

Engine and transmission rubber seals get hard over time and the conditioner softens them.  When they get hard, fluid gets by seals, showing up as external leaks or if internal to the shifter body, bad shifts.

 I stopped in Airdrie and added a bottle of conditioner and I'll see if that fixes the problem.  If the seals are damaged, it will not.

I attended the Bluewater meeting and drove home, arriving just after 2300.

I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do.
When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods,
you will understand why I dismiss yours.
Sir Stephen Henry Roberts

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Wednesday September 4th 2013
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I slept in until 0830 today.  The sun is shining, and after spending an hour at the keyboard, I am headed out to pick up the honey boxes and do some yard work.

I got out and picked up the 14 boxes I pulled yesterday and began some tidying around the bee yard.  I'm noticing that the bees are not robbing much,  I assume there is a flow on.

Please check out the most recent discussions at the forum and please join in.  This the best place to ask me questions and get answers.

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> I was referring to the penetration of cappings in order to kill
> mites ...if amitraz doesn't get into the sealed brood, it can
> only kill phoretic mites ...what is its advantage over formic,
> thymol or oxalic?

Well, formic and the other volatiles work as vapours. Amitraz works by contact. I have not researched its volatility, but I assume it is very low. The others are quite volatile and dissipate over time.

> The reported disadvantages of the latter three (occasional queen
> loss, temporary brood setback, etc) are not as bad as the potential
> problem with wax residuals of DPMF, from what I have read, and at
> least the acids don't leave residues.

Correct, but in many situations fume treatments simply do not work reliably enough, especially as varroa economic thresholds are lowered, then lowered again.

This deficiency may be due to treatment windows, scale of operation, location, climate, hive geometry, flow timing, varroa strains of differing potency ( one explanation for IMO for conflicting reports of efficacy), operator competency, labour costs, strains of bees...

On this list, we have a wide scattering of situations and intents. Any attempt to identify or dictate one best solution for any particular problem soon reveals that it is not realistic or economic for many.

We try to discuss all alternatives with an open mind and understanding that our best solution may not be the best answer for someone else.

A single hive top-bar beekeeper in Wales will not see things the same way as an operation in Alberta with 10,000 hives or a migratory American beekeeper with 50,000, or a beekeeper in Thailand either for that matter.

An academic with an experimental yard will not see things the same as a truck driver with a few hives.

> I suppose if the combs are rotated out regularly, then the risk of
> DPMF buildup is minimized.

This has not seemed to be a problem in practice, although in theory it is. Coumaphos definitely was a bad one that way, though, and resulted in a lot of comb being culled.

> And since the DPMF is the toxic metabolite that builds up in wax,
> that is a good enough reason to rotate out combs all by itself if
> using amitraz, even without considering all the other junk that
> builds up in the brood comb.

I don't know of any commercial beekeepers who currently cull comb strictly for reason of build-up alone (Horace Bell did at one time, but that was for different chemicals).

Commercial beekeeping is hard enough on equipment that normal turnover and replacement is sufficient. That is not to say that in future we won't see a problem. Medhat indicated he is trying to get some metrics on this.

> It seems to me that for small-scale beekeepers the organic
> acids and thymol are better options, especially where
> treatment is not well standardized (i.e. people don't
> follow instructions).

That definitely is one way to go, but the reason we are even discussing Apivar here as much as we are is that many are not getting satisfactory results with just those options.

Apivar is the "nuclear" option right now. In Alberta, Apivar is used in conjunction with the others, (but oddly enough, an Alberta commercial beekeeper got a big fine for using one of the commercially prepared thymol products).


>> ...what is its advantage over formic, thymol or oxalic?

After all the writing in my previous note, I see I did not answer the question, directly at least.

The answer is simply that Apivar works like a damn if properly applied and can clean up if the others screw up, which they do quite often.

It may not be the most attractive protector or a first choice of many, but Apivar has your back.

By noon, the day was hot enough that I decided to stay indoors through the midday hours and continued with tidying and rearranging the living room.  It is 40 by 45 feet and has lots of sitting and plant areas and windows to clean, so the job is non-trivial.

By suppertime, I had accomplished a lot and was ready for a swim.  The water was perfect and I had a nice dip.

Sanity is a madness put to good uses.
George Santayana

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Thursday September 5th 2013
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Another beautiful morning.  I slept well last night and awoke at 0630 full of ideas.

I have been house cleaning and reorganizing.  I'm enjoying it as I can set things up the way I like them.  In the past, I'd get things arranged so they work well, then go away for a while and come back to find things all moved around and some of my favourite items demoted to a distant storage.  No risk of that now.   So, this morning I continued the job and also watered the plants.

Watering the plants takes almost an hour, by the time a few that need babying or moving are attended to and the outdoor planters and tomatoes get their ration.

That reminds me, I forgot one out by the pool.  I went out and watered it and then saw I needed to vacuum the pool and add chlorine.  There went another half-hour. 

It is now  and I am going to see the bees now.

I know I am breaking my rule about working in the hottest part of the day, and it is now 29 degrees, but I'll just do another ten hives and some washes.   That is an easy goal. 

If I get too ambitious, I get reluctant to start.  If it gets to hot, there is always the pool.  A dip in 20 degree water cools me enough that I don't feel the heat for a half-hour after.

I got out and discovered that I made the same mistake most beekeepers make.  I asked my friends if there is honey coming in instead of looking into my own hives.  The first hive had two jam-packed supers of honey and so did the second.  I was in the middle of the second when my phone rang.

It was Mom.  She had just chased 24 Canada Geese off her lawn and back into the Lake.  I said I'd call back and finished the hive and the second alcohol shake of the day, went back to the house for a drink and called her back.  It is hot out there.  The best bee yards in this country are hot places.  In warmer country, people look for cool spots, but not here.

So far I have done four shakes and got 3, 1, 1, & 1.  Should I bother with more?  I don't think I have a varroa problem.

Wow!  I looked back and the last washes were on the 29th of August and here it is Sept 5.  Time flies.

At left is a close-up of a mite in the wash jar.  At right is the jar after shaking and settling.

Now for a dip in the pool and more fun with bees.  They are nice today and I am working without a veil and only enough smoke to herd them down so they don't get crushed.

*   *   *   *

Well the best laid plans...  I thought about Mom's call and decided that I should book some flights.  I had looked earlier and found some good deals.  I've learned that if I see a deal I like, take it.  Even if I change it later, that is cheaper than buying after the price goes up, so I bought fares to Sudbury and to Victoria.   So much for the bees.  They're next now.

*   *   *   *

I went out and pulled at least a box off every hive, getting another 32 mediums of honey, most weighing well over 60lbs.    I had taken a brood chamber with the queen and brood off each of these hives and left them to raise a queen, in some cases twice, and yet they are booming.

Then I had a swim.  I still have an hour before I have to leave for The Mill and another 20 hives to look at in the South Yard.  They were so pathetic I have not looked at them for almost a month.

I went down and pulled the honey, getting only 13 boxes off the 17 stands. I counted the other yards and have 70 hives, with an expectation of losing 10% or 20 % by the time I have them ready for winter.

*   *   *   *

I drove to The Mill and had supper, arriving home around ten.

When hungry, eat your rice; when tired, close your eyes.
Fools may laugh at me, but wise men will know what I mean.
Lin-Chi

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Friday September 6th 2013
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The forecast is for a change today.  Rain and weather in the low twenties are expected.  I'm glad I pulled the honey.  I still need to make sure the North Yard has not filled its supers again, but that is less likely now that they all have second brood chambers.  Quonset West has also been readied for wintering in that way, but I only began doing that in the Quonset yard when I realised that pulling the honey to prevent further plugging was a higher priority.

I need to pick that honey up first thing, hopefully before it rains.  Rain won't hurt it as the boxes are on end, but the moisture content will increase as honey absorbs moisture from the air.

Moisture is not likely to be a problem and I am guessing this honey will be somewhere around 15.5%, judging by recent weather and the fact it is fully capped.

Unprocessed honey under 17% moisture is stable when  extracted and not likely to ferment.  Commercially packaged and pasteurized honey is normally blended to 18.6%.  Pasteurization kills the yeasts which otherwise can cause the honey to spoil. Spoiled honey is not necessarily unpalatable.  In fact honey normally becomes mead when it ferments, and mead has been a popular and legendary drink for all of recorded history.

Be that as it may, this honey is going to my friends' large honey extraction plant and will be extracted with thousands of other boxes and the resulting honey will mix in a tank.  Even if it were higher moisture, the other honey would average with it.

In a wet year, high moisture can be a problem, even in a big outfit, but usually the buyers will take 'wet' honey at a discount as they can use it to blend the drier honey down to 18.6%.  The discount should reflect only lower sugars content, but some buyers are predatory and try to buy cheap if the seller is not savvy.  'Wet' honey needs to be handled with added care as to storage time and temperature, and blended before it begins to 'turn'.

Small amounts of 'wet' honey can be stored in a home freezer, where it will keep indefinitely -- and stay liquid, too.  Honey does not actually freeze at home deep  freezer temperatures, so it can even be 'frozen' safely in glass jars.

I have work to do to get the hives ready for winter, but this year I am not worried about mites.  I'll be combining weaker hives and moving hives and sorting combs and boxes in the yard, but my big worry - varroa - seems to be okay for now.  I wonder if I should use some formic for tracheal?

My main concern right now is hive populations.   The boxes shown at left are as full as they can be and I saw more excluders like the one at below right than I like to see.   That is not how I like to see the excluders.  I always try to pull honey when the boxes are about 75% full. 

Bees need room to work and if the honey boxes are full, they have no place to dry the incoming  nectar and foraging slows.  Also, they tend to make a lot of wax and gum  up the brood chamber with brace and burr comb.

The amount of comb on that excluder tells me that the hive was badly plugged for some time.  Plugged hives have reduced brood and reduced brood means fewer bees are raised.  Fewer bees going into winter means a smaller cluster and a smaller cluster means less heat generated and less comb covered.  All these things add up to more stress and poorer wintering success.

*   *   *   *

I awoke groggy this morning, had breakfast and went back to bed.  I awoke again at 0830 and am still sluggish and my back is a little sore.  I don't think it is from the lifting yesterday.  It seems that this just happens sometimes.  Maybe it is the change of weather?

I'll get out shortly to pick up the boxes, but right now, the deck is wet and the sky overcast.  No rush.

*   *   *   *

I picked them up and now have over 60 full boxes waiting for pickup.  My friends are coming for supper tomorrow, so hopefully they will be gone soon.  In the meantime, I have to protect them from robbing.  They are on pallets with 2-3/4" skids and I doubt my pallet jack will fit under, so that rules out basement storage.

*   *   *   *

I think I have mentioned that I plan to be on my boat at Sidney and area from the 7th of the 17th of October.  Maybe I didn't.  Anyhow, that is the plan.

At present, I have nobody scheduled to be on board much of the time and the boat accommodates up to 8 people (4 couples).  In fact, I'm most comfortable with four people or less.   Frankly, I am also quite happy sailing by myself.

My cousin will likely join me for some of the time, but the rest of the time is open.  I am open to requests from friends, acquaintances, or readers for that matter, to come aboard for a day or longer, but I make no promises that I will accept any offer.  I'll be docking at various easily accessible ports on Vancouver and other nearby Islands to walk around or to pick up and drop people off.  I usually don't sail for more than few hours a day and spend the rest of the time anchored or docked at some interesting spot.

My itinerary is somewhat indefinite at this point, but I expect to board on the morning of the 7th, and go to Ganges for the night of September 8 to hear Jeanne Socrates speak. (I noticed that the date is September, not October!)

"Jeanne Socrates holds the world record as the oldest woman to sail non-stop, solo, and unassisted around the world. The attempt was successfully completed on July 8, 2013. She will share stories and pictures of her adventures at the Saltspring Island Sailing Club at 152 Douglas Road on Sunday September 8, 2013 at 7:00 pm"

From there, I plan to get to Thetis Island Marina by the 11th as I am organizing the Bluewater Cruising Thanksgiving Rendezvous event there.  I'll leave there on the 14th and have until the 17th to get back to Port Sidney Marina, so will probably just gunk-hole around the area.

If you want to come aboard, the deal is that you get to wherever we agree to meet on your own, and on time as agreed, and you get yourself home from wherever you get off. 

You take full responsibility for your own safety and sign a waiver.  On board the captain's word is law. That is largely for your own protection, especially if you are inexperienced.  If you are experienced, you already knew that.

You also bring enough money to buy food and drink and entertainment for yourself and maybe a bit for the captain, and pay for any damage you cause.  That is all pretty straightforward to anyone who sails, but needs saying up front.

I have some paperwork and housework to do this afternoon and may get out and do a few more hives as well.

I did not go out again, but hung around the house, cleaning. doing wash, writing, planning, etc.

It seems our son, Jon may join me for part of my Thanksgiving cruise, so I have two prospects so far.

The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than
the greatest of things without it.
 Carl Jung

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Saturday September 7th 2013
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Today is predicted to be cooler and rainy.  I have ten days to get things done here before going to see Mom.  That gives me a deadline of sorts.

This morning, while looking into reserving marina space next month at Ganges, I noticed that I was intending to attend a talk at Ganges that is actually tomorrow, not a month from now.  Too bad. 

No need to go to Ganges now, so, my plan is to board on the 7th and get to Thetis by the 11th, stay three nights, and be back to Sidney by the 17th.  Seven of the ten days are totally unscheduled.  That is still along ways off and between now and then, I have a trip east and lots of other things to do.

Meijers are coming for supper tonight, and otherwise the day is open.  Housework and paperwork will continue.

We had more rain last night and the bees got to robbing this morning to the point where I had to go out and add more tarps to the honey stack. 

*   *   *   *

The housework has kept me busy.  I washed the kitchen and bathroom floors and fixtures, rearranged some furniture and vacuumed the hall and front stairs.  Seems like I just did that the other day, but it has probably been a month or more since I did an in-depth cleaning.

The guys came and we had supper, then unloaded some syrup and loaded the honey.  I'm glad to see it go.

The more sensitive you are, the more likely you are to be brutalized, develop scabs and never evolve. Never allow yourself to feel anything because you always feel too much.
Marlon Brando

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Sunday September 8th 2013
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Today is predicted to be cool and rainy again.  I have no plans other than to go to The Mill for supper.

There is a useful post about drying honey in the forum today.

>>>> I think it is irresponsible, as brand-new beekeepers
>>>> often/usually don't even realize what they are getting or what
>>>> they should do with it. The only solution I see is to promote
>>>> the purchase of packages instead.

> Would it not be more helpful to tell purchasers of nucs to change a
> couple of old combs out each year?? I, for one, think it is far, and
> I mean, far better to start from a split or nuc than a package.....

We have been around this topic quite a few times and I doubt we'll change anyone's mind. Those who teach beginner courses have their own priorities related to how courses are arranged and run and see beekeeping from that perspective. That perspective tends to bleed through to the students.

The rest of us have a variety of experiences that may cause us to reach different conclusions as will the climate and timing of flows where we live.

It seems to me that many of the people who teach beginner courses tend to be focused on their own priorities and schedules and on simplifying everything down to a one-size-fits-all formula and less on on considering the many possibilities, individual needs, preferences, resources and capabilities of the class members. There also appears to be an assumption that honey production is the goal.

There are good reasons for this. For one, a class necessarily runs at a specific time, partly to assemble enough people to make it viable, and if everyone does the same thing at the same time and has all the same equipment, the task is much easier than if everyone does something different. The timing imposed by package and nuc availability and practicality dictates a deadline that makes assembling the numbers necessary for a class easier. The cookie-cutter approach makes everything more manageable for the teacher.

We also might want to, at some other time, contemplate the reasons one would undertake teaching a course, and the level of expertise, field experience, and motives of those presenting beekeeping courses. I'm not going to try to cover that topic in this post, but it is a very interesting subject, and the profile of the typical teacher will very much determine the biases and outlook of subsequent cohorts of 'graduates'.

There are many influences that affect how presenters see beekeeping and what is taught. These include the influence of their own learning experiences, teachers and mentors and the influence of writers of books, magazines and Internet sources selected for reading as well as whether they have something to sell, whether it be equipment or bees, or an agenda.

Underlying a presenter's basic world outlook and directing the choices and beliefs are their upbringing, personality, education, politics, current place of residence and the circumstances of their initial exposure to beekeeping.

I am sure a son or daughter growing up in a commercial or sideline beekeeping family will have an entirely different perspective from city-dweller who was first exposed through media or a local club.

I can assure readers that it would never occur to my son or daughter to buy a 'beginner kit' and packages and go through all the hassle and risk of starting from scratch. Ugggh.

In fact, my daughter is moving and says, "Can you just bring a hive over once we settle in?" She is not even considering restricting herself to beginning in a specific seasonal window or fooling around assembling things. She can get an established hive at any time of year, and if I did not have one to spare, she would just call around and find a beekeeper with one to spare.

I sold singles to people, including beginners this year who are fed up with their package experience and just want to have an established hive of bees. I tell people to call me if they have any problems. So far all the feedback is positive. I keep expecting someone to express disappointment about something or report failure, but so far so good. Of course, I tell people up front what they are getting and that as with anything in agriculture, some variation is normal, as is hive death, disease and famine, so be aware and ask for help if anything looks wrong.

I see the decision of how to start bees as being similar to the choice a gardener makes when deciding between buying bedding plants and growing from seed (except that starting from a package is not cheaper than buying a nuc or a single). Gardeners typically do some of both, as some plants need an early start and special conditions that are best left to the pros in most cases. Others grow rapidly and easily from seed. When you buy bedding plants, you are buying the soil, too and possible disease , pests, pesticides, etc..

For newbies, obviously buying a blooming plant, digging a hole, planting and watering it is going to be the rapid road to immediate and predictable success compared to growing from seed. Similarly, buying an established hive gets immediate and predictable results.

This question is also similar to the decision of whether to make a cake from scratch or from a mix. They both work equally well, and it is just a matter of taste.

So, again, I am suggesting that there are many ways to start bees, from catching swarms as I did, to buying packages and building hives from kits (or raw logs, which I did), to buying established hives, which I also did. Different strokes...

To me it is clear. Buying a hive that is up and running and can be had at any time of year and learning to manage it is by far the easiest, and often the cheapest, especially if a mentor is at hand.

Although packages are considered to be uniform, in fact they often are not and can vary as much as nucs. Moreover, they dictate timing and are perishable. While it often does not matter if you pick up a locally produced nuc or single on a date chosen far in advance, a package will come on schedule whether you are ready or not and may have been shaken days or a week before. Once you receive it, the clock is ticking. Your schedule is dictated by the package. With a nuc or single, that is not the case.

Some learn by taking courses, some by reading, and some by doing.

Horses for courses.

---
 It works in practice. Why can't it work in theory?

Allen Dick Swalwell, Alberta, Canada
5133'37.58"N 11318'54.24"W
Semi-retired - 40+ years keeping bees - 4500 hives max
Currently running 70 hives
Hives for sale year-round
http://www.honeybeeworld.com/diary/

 

> Nice post on starting with bees--well covered!

Thanks.

> I hope that your adjusted life is working out--hard for me to imagine
> the loss of my wife.

Although we had almost two years to prepare, we decided to ignore the oncoming brick wall and live as we always did. With some accommodation for decreased strength and the effects of drugs, we were able to ignore impending fate right up until several weeks before the end, so, in some ways it is like a sudden death, with some things unresolved and loose ends to tie up.

Not quite a month has passed since she died and I am still cleaning house after all the family was here and deciding what to do with her things. There are a lot, and I'm not rushing.

We were quite independent, so in many ways, daily life is not a lot different. I have stayed at home until now, but decided to make several trips in the coming months and made reservation the other day.

I have some mental adjusting to do. We always thought she would live to 95 and I would die any day, and acted and budgeted accordingly.

I'm quite surprised to be the survivor.

At any rate, I seem to be okay so far.

Abuse, if you slight it, will gradually die away;
but if you show yourself irritated, you will be thought to have deserved it.
 Tacitus

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Monday September 9th 2013
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The cool spell is over and hot days with warm nights are in the forecast for the next seven days.  That can change, but for now, it looks promising.

This is an ideal time to get the second brood chamber under the hives since the bees need warm weather to access all the corners of the boxes and arrange things to their liking.  Once the weather cools and the days shorten, they tend to cluster more.  Brood rearing tapers off and the field bees die off, so populations. decline a bit, too.

I have to decide whether to leave supers on or take them off and begin feeding.  There is still a possibility of gain.  Here are the scale hive records from 2009

    

Each year is different, and we could be looking at loss, not gain this year.  In 2009, the hives gained 35 lbs from today through the 28th.  That honey can either augment the winter stores, or go into supers.  Since I am trying to raise bees, not make honey, my best strategy might be to remove supers now and concentrate on preparing for winter.

I leave for Sudbury a week from tomorrow and have some things to do before then, so I should push away from this desk and get moving.

After hearing a glowing review on CBC this morning, I bought a ticket to KIM'S CONVENIENCE.  I checked the options and tickets run from $35 to $100.  The $100 tickets were in the first balcony.  One $35 ticket was in the third row centre.  Guess which one I bought.

I like front row centre tickets for any performance, and surprisingly, they are often available, and cheaply.   The one time I regretted being in the front row centre was at Sea World when the walrus spat fishy water onto the front row.  Otherwise, I like to see the action as if I am in it.  I even sit up front in movies.  As for the balconies, It all depends on the theatre.

I've been putting off working on the furnace, but decided that today I will get started.  Of course, to start any job, I have to put away the various tools that accumulate from previous jobs and clean up.

I got a good start on that, then had a nap.  I have not been napping in the afternoons, but then have been getting weary around four or five and doing nothing of any consequence from then on.  I only napped for twenty minutes.  That is the recommended nap, but I usually nap and hour.

It is lovely outside and I should get out there for a little while, too.  The forklift shifter needs adjusting.  Maybe I'll do that.

I did that little job, which turned out to be almost nothing, in a few minutes.

My kitchen sinks plugged today. That happens every few months.  I am going to cut out the offending section and replace it tomorrow -- after the water bleeds down overnight so I don't have a gusher in the basement when I open the pipe.

After planning that job, I began work on the furnace.  The ring teeth wear, so I will build them up and grind them square tomorrow as well.  I'll have the coal furnace back to working.  It will be all I need until December at least and then have to figure out what to use for backup when I go away in winter.

No bee work today.

I was asked about honey removal and decided to make up an archive page with some of my 1996 articles on using the abandonment or tipping method for removing bees from honey supers at harvest time.

I tried watching TV in the evening and found it hard to watch.  I sat through a bit of "Cracked" and then started on the news.  I can't believe how bogus the news is and what a lapdog the CBC is.  Do those 'reporters' believe the stuff they say?  How can they?  I turned it off.

Well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech.
Martin Fraquhar Tupper

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