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Thursday May 24th, 2001, 2000

  • Moving bees with Les

  • Cleaning up deadouts

Today: Increasing cloud then 40 percent chance of afternoon showers or thunderstorms. Wind increasing to southwest 20 km/h. High 28.
Tonight: Cloudy with 70 percent chance of showers or thunderstorms. Wind northwest 20 km/h. Low 8.

Normals for the period: Low 5. High 19.

Friday May 25th, 2001, 2000
Seven more months until Christmas

  • One box AFB scale found
  • Queens Arrived
  • Moving 20 packs out 
  • Interchanging hives
  • Sleeves still on
  • Supers under hives
  • Thirds on some
  • Shaking out dinks
Today: Showers or thunderstorms ending this morning then clearing. Wind northwest 30 km/h diminishing to 20 this afternoon. High 22.
Tonight: Partly cloudy. Wind becoming light. Low 6.

Normals for the period: Low 5. High 19.

Saturday May 26th, 2001, 2000

  • Tidied up yard
  • Unloaded truck
  • Started looking at databases again
  • Cash Flow
  • Planning to move bees
  • Meijers for supper
Today: A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of late afternoon thunderstorms. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h this afternoon. High 24.
Tonight: 40 percent chance of evening thunderstorms then clearing. Wind southeast 20. Low 10.

Normals for the period: Low 5. High 19.

Sunday May 27th, 2001, 2000

  • Planned to go to the zoo
  • 5 AM - Les' message on answering machine
  • Moved Sommervilles' yard to two new yardds.  Windy and cool.
  • Less than 1/2" of rain so far.  Very windy spring.
  • Dandelions, carraganas, saskatoons blooming
  • Went to Meglis' at about 8 -- bees flying couldn't move any more
    • Worked through 76 hives 
    • Better than the notes said
    • 21 in three Broods now. Six weak
  • Went home at noon. Cancelled zoo.  Ellen's rash from the sun
  • Slept for an hour.  Too windy to work outside.
  • Moving again at five AM tomorrow.
  • Spent the evening fixing up these pages etc...
Today: Sunny. Wind increasing to southeast 30 gusting 50. High 25.
Tonight: Partly cloudy. Wind diminishing to southeast 20. Low 11.

Monday May 28th, 2001, 2000

The wind has been unbearable this spring and I feel bad for expecting people to work outside when it is at its worst.  I try to find locations each day that are sheltered from the wind at the time -- it has blown from every direction one day or another -- so that things are more bearable, but many yards are exposed.  If it is hard on people, then it must also be hard on the bees.  Nonetheless, the hives are now gaining strength and some I had thought beyond hope now have bees down on the floor and wall-to-wall on top of the second brood.

Steve is sick today.  Hope he gets over it soon. I'm doing paper work, then Jeff and Paulo and I  are off to Cyril's for some training.

We are finding the hives are stronger than expected and I'm wondering what to do.  We had not planned to split this spring and we don't have enough equipment to do much splitting anyhow, since we are about out of brood boxes and all the supers will be needed -- and needed soon -- judging by the looks of the bees.

We finished Cyril's and went to The Willows.  We got about half done there and it was time to head back.  As we drove homeward, we could see a black storm and speculated whether it was dust or the rain we need so badly.  It was dust mixed with a little rain.  The storm gave us little problem, but I learned later that it was so bad on Highway 21 that Ellen had pulled right off the road into a field to wait it out and to avoid being hit by traffic, some of which proceeded in spite of near-zero visibility.  She saw one of the people who had passed her during the worst of the dust storm in a ditch a little way down the road when she deemed it safe to proceed.

When I got home, the power was off and stayed off for for several hours, due, no doubt to damage caused by the wind.

Today: Increasing cloudiness. Wind south 30 gusting 50 km/h. High 25.
Tonight: Partly cloudy with a 30 percent chance of evening showers. Wind becoming west 30. Low 9.

Normals for the period: Low 5. High 19.

Tuesday May 29th, 2001, 2000

It's very windy again this morning, and cool.  I woke up during the night and closed windows, then lit the furnace, since we had let it go out during the past few warm days and nights.    This is excellent bee moving weather, since it is cool and spitting rain from time to time.  We have no move scheduled this AM, since Les was out until 2AM at a fund raising event and has few only a few yards ready anyhow.  

So far this year we have not heard any frogs.  The silence is eerie, since in summer the frogs make a tremendous racket most nights.  I don't know if it is too cold this year or if the problem that overtook frogs worldwide a few years back has reduced them to small populations.

These hives are still wrapped May 29th.  With these wraps (a new design last fall) we are able to work on the top box whenever we like.  It was raining when this picture was taken, and these bees were flying!Steve is still sick and we are hoping he will be back tomorrow.   Jeff hauled a load of garbage to the dump around noon.  It is getting harder and harder to find a dump open that will take the variety of rubbish that our household and business generates over a few months.  Paulo continued to work through brood chambers from dead-outs searching for signs of disease.  Matt has finished removing the engine from D5 and reports a broken oil ring.  That is a sign of  either excessive pulling when cold or over-revving.  Hmmm.

After Jeff returned, Les came over and we went bee moving.  In the process of moving, I took the pictures on the right.  Captions should appear when the cursor is held over each thumbnail.  Close-ups can be seen by clicking the small images.  We moved 52 hives out of one crowded yard and I picked up another 25 or so on the way home.  I am still training Les and Jeff, so things are still a bit slow, but we had a good time and I returned by seven.

Bee language continues to be a topic of contention, and one of the members of BEE-L posted several good links, all supporting the bee language hypothesis:

After getting the Palm m105, I have been exploring using such a device for recording and organising my bee yard records. I've tried several databases and also downloaded Jorn's Bidata bee management software demo.  So far, it has not been without problems.  The Bidata download was corrupted, and Jorn helped me with that, then, on install, I started getting a variety of index error messages and so far I have been unable to find or create a database. There is a manual -- a large Word document -- accompanying Bidata and I suppose I will have to read it, but I usually never read manuals until after I have the software running and have pretty well mastered it.  This is not a good omen.

Steve phoned tonight to report that the doctor thinks it will be the end of the week before he is well enough to work.

Today: A mix of sun and cloud. Wind becoming west 40 km/h. High 16.
Tonight: Clear. Wind diminishing to northwest 20 km/h. Low 7.

Normals for the period: Low 5. High 19.

Wednesday May 30th, 2001, 2000

I was up at six, and gone by six thirty.  The thermometer indicated 2.3 degrees and, although it was sunny, I figured I could get some hives moved.  Our yards are still too big from pollination management and we want them no larger than 30 hives for honey production. I thought I noticed a little ice on the windshield as I pulled out of the yard.

I got to Hainings' and found that there was ice on the lid of a drum there. I moved hives around and picked up some of the extras to go home. I'm yarding some there to take north to be run in better territory.  I took them home and dropped them off for Paulo to re-organise them on better pallets and then went to the Graveyard to do the same there.  

I then stopped by Gordons' (top picture) and straightened up the yard a bit. The wind had taken off two lids in spite of the bricks but the hives seemed fine.  Although that was a cold barren looking yard and we have left the sleeves on the hives until present, the yard wintered well, and the hives are building up nicely on the dandelion flow.  I think the sleeves help.  I've noticed that there is a difference between hives with and hives without.

Today: Mainly sunny. Wind increasing to west 30 gusting 50 km/h. High 18.
Tonight: Mainly clear. Wind west 30 gusting 50 diminishing to 20. Low 7.

Normals for the period: Low 6. High 19.

Thursday May 31st, 2001, 2000

I was up early and waited around until Les got here with the second forklift, then rushed off to move hives at around 8:30.  I was concerned that it might get too warm for moving, since it was 11 degrees at 6 AM.  Steve is still off work although he still hopes to make it in this week.

I need not have worried.  It was quite cold at the yard with a strong north wind blowing.  Paulo and I reduced 8 colonies to singles, and loaded 15 good doubles for home, leaving the rest there.  The job took about an hour and there was very little flying when we left.  Although this was a good wintering yard, with average loss, it appears to be awful for spring build-up, for some hives at least.  Others are quite strong.  

I am undecided if the strain of bee is the difference or if it is just the luck of the draw, but it sure appears that some stock is better than other stock in my operation.  Unfortunately, with all the moving last year, I am unable to identify the poor stock -- or the super good one.  It seems that perhaps some of the cells we used last summer were not from as  good a breeder queen as other stock from the same supplier.  I have had interesting experiences like this before.  At one point, I purchased queens for several years from a BC producer who had a stock of bees that really suited his mountain meadow location, but were far too conservative for our prairie locale.  We did not recognise the problem until we tried other stock in the same yards at the same time.

After unloading at home (where the bees were flying freely), and a lunch break,  Jeff, Paulo and I headed west to do some splitting.  We found a sheltered yard and did 25 splits.  Each split was made with two frames containing brood and whatever bees came up through the excluder while the spits sat on top of the hive until we were done.  We removed them to home and installed queens.  Afterwards, I thought I should have left them overnight to ensure lots of bees and then moved them in the cool of the morning.  However, the yard where we were working was far enough from home, and my plans for tomorrow sufficiently uncertain, that I felt I should go for the sure thing and take them along -- even at the risk of losing too many bees.

We found several queenless and drone layer hives.  We just shook them out, except for one queenless that seemed very good, and which we re-queened.  It is simpler and better to just let the old bees from such hives join another hive where they can do some good, and to make up the loss with a split from a strong hive which can provide the young bees necessary to do a good job.  More on this at http://www.honeybeeworld.com//spring.htm .  Sorry if the formatting there is a bit wonky.  Needs work, I guess..

Click for a  close-up of the 6-mesh feeding screen on top of the battery box.A queen shipping box with a syrup feeder on top.This time I (finally) got smart and screened the feeder hole on the queen shipping box with 6-mesh hardware cloth .  I think Mann Lake or whoever supplies them should make top screens standard on all boxes.  I realise that we are not supposed to keep queens in these boxes after receipt, but these boxes do supply the most convenient and safe short-term storage and are easily portable.  Everyone I know uses them rather than set up a queen bank with the attendant risks of loss and damage, and there is never any loss or apparent bad effect.  These boxes can be easily taken to the field, then returned home and fitted with a jar of dilute syrup (with fumigillan).  The mesh shown does not entirely prevent bees escaping: the odd one will squeeze through periodically, so I tape it when travelling -- but the mesh means that 100 bees do not get out (or get squished) when you are trying to quickly put the feed jar on top.

I learned a lot on this topic last year when I received several very useful responses to my comments about the problems I was having at the time. Here are the links.  One, Two  The second link follows my conversion from a semi-successful queen storer to someone who finds storing queens in these boxes a cinch!

I see an article of mine from BEE-L is in the 'Letters' section of Bee Culture magazine this  month.  Kim had asked if he could print it and I agreed.  I see that bob's quotes in the second paragraph did not show up as quotes, a peculiarity which makes it seem I am contradicting myself.  Oh well.

I did not realise what a zealot I am becoming on the topic of hygienic queens.  I searched for the item above and found 20 matches in total on 'hygienic' and author Allen Dick. Some of those articles a re pretty good too -- even if I do say so myself.

010219 96/08/17 07:42 53 Re: Foul Brood.
011464 96/10/26 07:04 26 Re: Substance for queen marking
012490 96/12/18 09:09 125 The Future of Antibiotics
029353 99/09/22 23:34 136 Re: Take home message from Apimondia
029858 99/11/21 10:39 78 AFB Today
029905 99/11/30 16:34 62 Re: AFB Today
029916 99/12/01 11:59 52 Re: AFB Today
029917 99/12/01 07:56 114 SAFB is a New and Distinct Contagious Disease
030725 00/02/17 10:04 47 Re: Screened bottoms
032949 00/09/10 03:46 151 Re: Bees Regression, was(Re: American Bee Journal collector help)
034019 01/01/07 22:21 31 Requesting Advice on Hygienic Queens
034128 01/01/15 11:45 53 Re: SMR Bees
034700 01/03/04 06:38 92 Fw: Queen Bee Standards
034834 01/03/18 10:20 83 Re: The dynamics of haoneybee and varroa populations (was Thai Bees)
034850 01/03/19 08:26 67 Re: The dynamics of honeybee and varroa populations
035435 01/05/12 21:14 68 Re: American Foulbrood
035461 01/05/14 11:16 90 Re: American Foulbrood
035537 01/05/19 14:26 39 Don't buy and queens...
035551 01/05/19 16:09 28 Re: Don't buy and queens...
035558 01/05/22 08:51 34 Re: sugar dusting
Today: Mainly sunny. Wind west 20. High 25.
Tonight: Mainly cloudy this evening then clearing overnight. Wind light. Low 5.

Normals for the period: Low 6. High 19.

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