Maybe I do need to use my Twitter account. What do you think? Follow me: @allendick
OK. I checked Twitter, searching for "Grindrod". Here is one version of the story and another. Sure looks like some hives I opened while inspecting not too long ago. To see the CHBC video click here. The snips below are from the video.
It is getting hectic today.
I checked the scale today and see only a half-pound total loss in weight. Consumption appears to be declining (up is lower consumption - blue line) to the very low level seen some time back. A few bees are flying.
The Southern Alberta Beekeepers site is attracting more interest lately as more and more beekeepers get comfortable with the Internet. I hear a SABA meeting is being planned for early December.
I was up early. Some friends came out this way hunting for deer and stopped for breakfast. The deer must have known they were coming, since they have been here daily, eating the tops and branches off our trees and flowers all summer and into fall.
We went to Meijers' for lunch, had a good visit, and saw their new house. It is coming along, but a bit slowly. It is going to be very comfortable when it is finished.
Ruth's place is along the way, so we dropped by to see her on the way back.
I finally got around to updating the Nov 2nd entry with some slides from the convention. More later...
I extracted again today.
The hives consumed 1/4 lb of feed again today and have now lost 10 lbs each since I began measuring on October 20th. Twenty-six days down and 130 to go. The projections call for another 48 lbs of honey to be consumed by April 1st.
Alberta Provincial Apiculturist Dr. Medhat Nasr Receives Distinguished Achievement Award from Alberta Beekeepers Commission
Alberta Provincial Apiculturist, Dr. Medhat Nasr, is the recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award from Alberta Beekeepers Commission and was honored at the Annual General Meeting of Alberta Beekeepers Commission on Wednesday November 4, 2009. Dr. Nasr is an internationally recognized expert on honey bee pests management.
Dr. Nasr has developed an internationally recognized Integrated Pest Management Program focused on industry growth and sustainability. This program includes applied research, extension and regulations. He has a broad knowledge of honey bees and the beekeeping industry. His activities are critical components for the success of the beekeeping industry in the face of recent challenges.
He played a significant role in opening the continental USA boarder for honey bee queen imports and facilitating access to bee packages and queens over the years from Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and Chile. He was instrumental in acquiring full registration of CheckMite for Varroa control. In 2007, with the surge of high winter losses of honey bees he worked with industry in persuading the Pest Management Regulatory Agency to register Apivar, a French miticide known to be effective against Varroa mites. This work unquestionably helped the Alberta industry to improve honey bee health across Canada generally.
For the past seven years, Dr. Nasr has been conducting research to develop Pest Management and Pest Surveillance Programs to control honey bee pests. He partnered with industry members to develop a novel machine to safely and effectively apply pesticides in bee colonies. He continues to work tirelessly to develop and implement new techniques for monitoring and controlling pests to restore honey bee health. In doing so, he gives a significant number of presentations every year, publishes a monthly article in the Alberta Bee News, the industry newsletter, and teaches apiculture courses and workshops. He also assists beekeepers through telephone responses and one-on-one visits.
Dr. Nasr helped in sparking the building of mead (honey wine) industry in Alberta. He took a group of beekeepers to Quebec to learn about added value products of honey and the mead industry. He worked with his colleagues at Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development to amend current regulations to allow production and sales of honey wine in Alberta. He also continued to promote honey food safety and improve Alberta honey export markets in Japan, USA and other European countries. He assisted the hybrid canola industry in developing a system for payments to beekeepers for crop pollination based on colony strength. The beekeepers have an incentive to keep and supply strong healthy bee colonies for pollination and the growers achieve high seed yields due to adequate pollination. Therefore, both the beekeeper and the grower benefit.
In addition to his work with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Nasr serves as a Chair of the Bee Imports Committee with the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists and a liaison with the Canadian Food Safety Agency. He also serves as a member of the Honey Bee Health Committee –Canadian Honey Council and a director for Canada with Apiary Inspectors of America, a regulatory and enforcement group in the USA. He also works closely with commercial and hobby beekeepers in Canada and the USA.
The Alberta beekeeping industry is crucial to Alberta’s $350 million canola and forage industries (such as alfalfa and clover seed production to feed beef cattle) that require pollination. In addition, the direct farm cash receipts from apiculture (honey, beeswax, pollen, and pollination rental fees) are valued at about $50 million per year. Alberta keeps 250,000 bee colonies that account for 40% of the nation’s bee colonies.
Bee Culture has been talking about going digital. Now they have done it. I took a glance. On my netbook, I am not sure how well the concept works, but I'll have to give it a better try. There is a sample issue up, and I gather there will be a subscription cost.
Yup. $15/yr for 'net-only access. Not bad.
We checked out around eleven and drove west to Fort MacLeod to see Jerry, a friend who is a foremost Canadian stained glass designer and restorer -- http://www.eversole.ca
After, we dropped into the A&W on the way out of town, and bumped into another bee inspector. Small world.
From there, we drove home.
scale is losing 0.25 lbs per hive per day consistently now.
I have worked on the chart a bit to clarify the results.
I did some more extracting and caught up a bit on deskwork.
I am getting ready to apply oxalic acid as a drizzle, seeing as I earlier detected varroa levels sufficient to merit a treatment. By now, the hives should be about as broodless as they will be, and the wind has gone down for a day. Temperatures are right in the zone -- above freezing, but the bees are still clustered. A loose cluster would probably be best.
I have to refresh my memory and check if there is anything new, so I am glancing at Randy's site and also looking back to see what I did last year (Below).[http://www.honeybeeworld.com/diary/articles/drip_incl.htm]
I have 34 colonies to treat, so that means 34 x 50 mL = 1700 mL or 1.7 litres are required.
I followed the Canadian instructions last year and all colonies came through well.
I kept the leftover syrup in the freezer and it looks OK, but the stuff is cheap and bees are not. I'll throw it out and make fresh.
The scale has been a bit neglected over the past days and I have extrapolated between the reading five days ago and today. Consumption has been tapering off, and the projected total consumption to April 1 reducing slowly again towards 40 lbs. There has turned out, however, to be a wrinkle. See below.
* * * * * *
OK. I need 1.7 litres. Since last year I used 250mL + 250mL and got 400mL, then this year, if I use 1,000mL + 1,000L, I should get 1,800mL. Perfect!
Now I'll need to mix in 35 x 1.8 = 63 g of oxalic acid dihydrate to get the correct concentration.
Well the best-laid plans... I mixed as above and came up with 1,600 mL, not the expected amount, so I mixed another 150 mL of sugar and of water and added it.
Then I weighed the acid. My scale is not particularly well-designed to show small increments, so I figure somewhere between 60 and 70 is close enough. After all, this is not rocket surgery.
Then I mixed the acid into water, or tried, at least. It did not want to blend easily, even with a power beater. At any rate I got it all mixed into the syrup and made sure no sugar or acid crystals remain on the bottom.
I now have around 2 litres of he stuff ready to go. I labelled it clearly. Ever since I took a swig of gasoline for a ginger-ale bottle, I have become more cautious.
It is windy out there, but I think I will make a start. Last year, with 9 hives, the job was simple. This year the job is over three times bigger.
The temperature is 7 degrees C, about perfect for the job. The bees are in a cluster, but won't be damaged much by manipulations. When I got out there, the wind had dropped and conditions were perfect.
I got the job done. It took exactly one hour from start to finish. I found that most seconds and thirds lifted off easily -- were not too stuck and the remaining hives could be rolled over ad treated from the bottom. As last year, I found the application somewhat imprecise, and gave every seam of bees 5mL, but a few got a bit more if the squirt ran out before the end or the gun was sucking air. Judging by what is left over, I averaged a bit less than 50 mL per hive.
Last year, I did this on Tuesday, November 18th, and was not too confident of either the need or the process. This year I am much more confident of the need, having sampled a few hives, and I am now familiar with the method.
Nonetheless, it is late November and the clusters are smaller and the bees do not look as young as they did in the fall. I've been expecting 15% losses -- 5 hives dying over winter and leaving 29, but with the 10% AFB going in -- 3 hives -- I have to reduce the best likely outcome to 26 survivors.
* * * * * *
Earlier I mentioned a wrinkle with my scale hive experiment. I had found two AFB hives in the yards previously. Today, I found another AFB hive, and it happened to be one of the four on the scale!
At any rate, since I am recording the typical consumption of wintering hives, I decided that I would replace that dying hive with another, chosen more or less at random. Actually, maybe less: I chose another three-high styrofoam hive which happened to conveniently be on a pallet with the two other AFB hives. It turned out to be quite populous.
* * * * * *
AFB hives are quite obvious in the fall. Not only do they stink, but the bee population usually has dwindled noticeably. AFB hives will not winter, even if the infection is minor. I'll be shaking these hives out. I'll save most of the equipment, but the bees don't have what it takes. I'm going to put a little more effort into making sure I am using the best stock. I'd rather not go back to medicating.
In the evening, Zippy and I walked over to the hives and checked. Last time I disturbed them, they seemed to have lost 2 lbs in the two hours (four hives) immediately after. This time, they dropped a pound in three hours, or a quarter pound a hive.
* * * * * *
Pollen supplements are a big topic now on BEE-L and I see they were at this time last year as well.
I updated the scale hives chart. As expected, the hives are using more than they have been, after this disturbance. I expect the consumption will taper off again, but maybe not quite so much, since I substituted a strong hive for one which was a goner and it will eat more than a dead hive would.
I checked the hives and see that, sure enough, the weight loss has ramped up quite a bit after the oxalic treatment. It will be interesting to see how long the bees remain disturbed compared to the honey-pulling disturbance.
The chart at right has been totally re-worked to display the evolving data better.
Temperatures have been quite mild these last few weeks.
I finished extracting today and cleaned up. In the afternoon, Ellen & I went to Three Hills and bought some shelves form a store which was moving.
The scale hives seem to have gotten over the oxalic disturbance better than they did my taking off the extra supers a while back. The consumption is back to the baseline, it appears, although not quite a low as it was after a week undisturbed.
I was cleaning up after the extracting and decided to warm the honey on buckets. I set them under a large table and draped several 20-pack wraps over to insulate the cavity and set a car warmer inside. Turns out I blew a fuse. Well, later. I'm off to the Mill for supper.
While I was out at the hives, I decided to wrap a few. I had dug a few wraps out of an old granary and the birds had made a mess. I suppose I should have washed them, but figure the rain and snow should do the job. Although it is zero degrees, C, I saw a few bees flying and when I pulled the wraps down, bees came out to thank me
I checked the hives again, today, and they are back to baseline consumption. They are not quite back to the lowest reading, but I did exchange one hive that was nearly for a strong one, so we should expect as much as 1/3rd more consumption than when there were only three good hives. We'll see.
I have the honey in buckets under a table in the basement with some large bee wraps draped over and an electric heater under with the pails. I am softening the honey, with the intent to skim it and probably make mead with some of it.
I drove to Calgary in the afternoon for an MRI. I have had some leg pain and foot numbness for twenty years or so. The doctor thought it a good idea to take a look. The MRI was ordered a year ago, and just came up now, seeing as it is not urgent. I have to assume that the lower back degeneration may be related to portaging 75-lb canoes when I was twelve, unloading 100-lb sacks of fertilizer from rail cars in my youth and lugging heavy standard supers during my adulthood. I also attribute some of the problem to my snowboard stance which has one foot pointing forward.
At any rate the MRI was quick and efficient. I was in and out in under one hour.
One month until Christmas
I arrived around dusk, in time for supper.
Jon and I took the kids to the park and then swimming. There are five kids, since Katherine is here with her three.
I strolled along a ridge while we were at Moulton Meadows and noticed bees working. I also watched the eagles soaring below me in the canyons. They seem to sense the currents and seldom move more than a wingtip.
Ellen and Zip are checking the scale while I'm gone. Consumption has continued to taper down
I hear there was enough snow in Alberta this morning to close the Number Two Highway. Seems it does not take much to close a highway these days. We used to drive everywhere in all kinds of weather, and the roads were seldom closed.
The snow affects today's scale hive reading by adding weight (~7 lbs) to the reading. I saw this problem coming and wondered how I would deal with it, since there can be five or ten pounds of snow on the hives at times in coming months. At other times, that snow will melt. This will affect my charts.
I could tarp the four-pack, but that is probably not a good idea for several reasons. I think I will just have to deal with the situation as best I can, by brushing the snow off, adjusting the data, and extrapolating between dry points if necessary.
Today, Ellen brushed the snow off and weighed before and after. The end weight is about the same as yesterday's reading, so I assume that some water has soaked into the wood. I'll plot the reading anyway, but we'll see the loss when it warms up and the wood dries out. That should be pretty well right away judging by the forecast.
It rained all night and the morning air is fresh and warm
here in Laguna Beach.
This morning, we all went for a hike at the "Top of the World". The kids had a great time. Kalle, Jon and I decided to climb down to a cave we saw down one of the hills. After we checked it out, Jon noticed bees coming and going from a smaller cave near the first one. After Jon and Kalle were safely away, I climbed over to get a closer look, and took a picture, but did not want to get something going, since the nest was very active and I am not sure if AHB might be in this area. With no protection and no quick retreat possible on the steep hill, stirring up an AHB nest could be fatal. My picture, taken with the camera pointed into the hole showed nothing -- one bee's behind.
I spent some of my morning re-working the oxalic acid page. Seems some pretty smart people are confused by the fact that recommended concentrations for oxalic drizzle are figured on actual acid percentage, but mixing is done using the dihydrate which weighs 1.72 times as much as the acid it contains, since it contains water, as well as the acid.
I don't know how significant the day to day variations will prove to be, since the effects of precipitation and wind tend to have as large a short term effect as the actual consumption. I can infer meanings -- like the effects of temperature and wind -- for the daily changes, but the only thing that will be certain is the average over time.
I walked the beach this morning.