It's cool and breezy again this morning.. Temperatures been running well below normal
for over a month now and the bees show it. Reports are coming in from all over Alberta that bees
do not have as much sealed brood as usual, although hives seem strong.
All this can change if we get a warm week and they can get a good patch of brood established. The are
some years when the hottest day of the year occurs in May. We are now only two months from the summer
solstice, the time of year when days are longest we get the most sunshine.
I went for my annual check-up this morning and got a requisition for several test and some
x-rays. Seems my blood sugar has been creeping up. I bought a home BP monitor some time back
after I nearly flunked the BP test when giving blood. I find that it is normally in the proper
range, but sometimes the BP and the pulse are high. I suspect food sensitivities.
Bill and family came
by in the afternoon to pick up their truck and began moving bees out. This is the first trip and so
he took only a truckload of 32 wrapped hives and a forklift to use at the other end. That leaves 468
hives to go.
The job will require about six trips using one of our truck and trailer combinations. I expect
that the move will take a little over two weeks, since there is work to do on the hives during that time
as well as the move itself. A trip takes about 3 hours each way and loading or unloading takes an
hour or so on each end, so the minimum time would be 8 hours, but with fueling and with other things to
do, a trip every two days will be as much as we can expect, and perhaps less.
Too many beekeepers work until they are exhausted. That results in mistakes being made and
increases accident risk. Time for relaxation is important. The best insights and decisions
often occur during moments when we step back from the pressure and relax doing something non job-related.
Today: A mix of sun and cloud. Wind becoming northwest 30 km/h. High 12.
Tonight: Partly cloudy. Wind north 20 km/h. Low minus 3.
Normals for the period: Low minus 1. High 12.
Friday April 20th,
I went to the lab this morning for more routine blood tests and an EEG (or was it an ECG?). The
rest of the day just went by. Weather was too lousy to get out and do any bee work. The wind has
been unrelenting and the bees are best left alone.
Talked to Bill and he got back okay. He'll be down here tomorrow for another load.
Today: Mainly cloudy. 40 percent chance of flurries. Wind north 20 km/h. High 6.
Tonight: Partly cloudy. 30 percent chance of evening flurries. Wind north 20. Low minus
Warmer weather is now in sight. Let's hope that the forecast holds. We've had warm weather predicted
before this spring only to have the prediction changed at the last minute to snow and wind.
William returned for
another load around 5 PM and we went out and unwrapped and loaded. The bees are smoked down and it
is cool and windy out in the picture above, but the bees were active when we got there and can be seen
spilling out of the tops of hives.
The green Swinger has a new coat of paint that makes it look like the great machine it is. We
installed the Kubota conversion kit into it last spring, but it looked quite awful until we got around to
giving it new paint. We only loaded 80 hives and they are in doubles, but will likely take more next
trip. The picture (above left) shows the rims inside the lids to allow for patties and pillows
I think we sold the Swingers to cheap and too fast. I'm not really ready to part with
more than one or two until I am sure how many hives will be sold. I realise that some people get by
without any and we have four, but three is just about right, since it allows for a spare. The day
they hit the US magazines, two were spoken for.
El & I went to visit a prospective buyer of hives and then dropped
into a yard where we had applied the blue shop towel treatment to see how the bees had reacted. The
picture shows one hive that is typical. It seems that the towel did not bother them. It was applied
over a week ago and still smells faintly of menthol. As for the effect on tracheal mites, I'll never
know, since we did no measurement. Ideally, we should be applying another towel now, since I assume
the idea is to apply twice to hit any mites that were eggs during the first application. The bees
were bringing in pollen.
We visited Bert then
went over to P-Ss' for coffee with the girls. Fen & Bill were in Linden at Robinson's' and we
dropped in on Maurice and Flo on the way home. We were expecting Meijers for supper and wanted to
prepare. Maurice needed to borrow a Swinger to move dirt and followed us home. We decided to
invite everyone for burgers and wound up with about 15 for our first barbeque of the year.
Before supper Meijers and I went out to look at a few hives and went to The Carraganas. I was
surprised to see that the hives seem to have declined a bit in the past week or so since I was
there. Maybe it is just the weather -- it was a little cool when we got there.
A mix of sun and cloud. Wind west 20 km/h. High 12.
Nothing much special happened today. Matt worked on the transmission for the White Gas. I
worked at my desk . Ellen worked at advertising.
It is looking more and more as if we will be running some bees again this year. Even if it is not
right here or by our own hand, we will be owners and managers, so I looked into crop insurance -the deadline
for application is April 30th. We have not been eligible for the last few years since we were
pollinating not purely producing honey , but it might be wise to get coverage this year to ensure cash flow.
Today: A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers. Wind west 20 km/h in the
afternoon. High 15.
Tonight: Partly cloudy. Wind increasing to westerly 30 gusting 50. Low plus 3.
Ellen started the day calling a few beekeepers we have talked to about buying bees or equipment and things
are picking up. We have a meeting with a buyer at noon.
We find we are getting most of our interest from young beekeepers who want to run around 600 hives, but
lack the facilities, experience and financing. We are masters at all that, so it is a good fit if we
advise and help them get better established. I am starting to think of the possibility of setting up a
honey production co-op where facilities and experience are shared.
Today: Mainly sunny. Wind increasing to westerly 30 gusting 50 km/h. High 19.
Tonight: Partly cloudy. Wind westerly 30 gusting at times to 60 in the evening. Low 5.
Normals for the period
Low zero. High 13.
Sunrise: 6:21 am / Sunset: 8:46 pm
The Moon is New
I got the books off to the accountant and had a chance to do some cash flows.
Bill came for another load of bees at 7:20 and was loaded and gone by 9 PM. The hives are looking
very good. He reports that many now have brood down into the bottom box. He also says that this is
more apparent in the ones with brood boxes on the bottom compared to those that are singles placed on a super
for winter. That is impressive, since only a week or two ago many hives did not seem to have any brood
We ran out of brood boxes last fall and used supers under some of our singles so that they would be in
doubles over winter. Our experience with wintering bees in one box has been poor compared to our success
with the same hives when we put a box -- any box -- under them for the winter and wrap them as doubles.
We will now remove the supers and replace them with proper brood boxes from dead-outs. We fed the hives
in the fall with the supers under, so we will have to make sure that any supers with feed in them are robbed
out before using them for supers again.
Wednesday: A mix of sun and cloud. Wind westerly 20. High 19.