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Alfalfa in Full bloom
The flow is on again and we have some great bee weather in the forecast. I had thought that I'd be headed back to Ontario shortly -- tomorrow, in fact, but at the rate I'm going, it may not be for a week or even more. I'm off to do the river trip today and then I have at least three or four days of bee work.
I have yet to examine all the hives, adjust the space and remove excess honey, then get some feed on hand for when the flows cut off. I also have to do some mite tests and I have promised to test a new protein feed formula for Global.
Last night, I put patties on three hives to see how they react. In previous years I fed all summer, but this year, with all the foundation I am using, I am not sure where to place the patties. Normally, I put them close to the brood, and I often do lift some brood up as I place on a new super, but I just don't seem to have a clue this year.
What happens to the patties in the next several days will guide me as to how I will proceed, I hope. I know I took pictures of the patties on the hives to record the positioning, but it seems my phone lost the pictures. Odd. I've had this happen before. No explanation. I placed three patties on each hive and am concerned that the markings could be lost if the patties are eaten quickly and the paper is shredded by the bees
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The river trip went off quite well after we all managed to get together. It seems that Emil was not used to the country and drove far out of the way looking for the Ranch and arrived over an hour late. From there things went like clockwork and we had a pleasant afternoon drifting down the River and swimming when we got to hot.
We got back the Ranch at 4:30, left the canoes, and drove to Three Hills. There we bought some groceries. Fen and Emil went to the Mill and the rest of us to Swalwell. Fen dropped off Emil at the Mill and picked up my chairs and tables which were still there from the memorial the day before last and brought them over so we had something to sit on.
Cheryl, Ellen's roommate from university appeared, as expected, around 7:30 and we all had wings and wine outside in the perfect, calm, warm evening. I finished off the day with a swim in the pool.
It is still hot and sticky this morning, with another hot day predicted. I intend to get working on the bees again, early, and before the day heats up. I have decided that being out working bees between 1 and 3 makes little sense on hot, sunny summer days since the sun is overhead and the heat is uncomfortable when wearing a bee suit. I prefer to work without a shirt and during those hours, the UV is at a maximum. So, and I plan to use the cooler hours for the bee work and find other things to do during the hottest hours.
That said, I had best push this keyboard away and get going. Hopefully, I can get another 1/3 done and maybe some varroa checks. I have patties to feed, too.
* * * * * *
As it went, I did not get out until almost noon, and did 10 more hives by 1. When I was done I had 11 queenright, viable hives, since one of the boxes I had tipped up previously from a dud proved to have queen just beginning to lay. I knew something was keeping the bees from abandoning this one box since the bees left all the other tipped-up boxes in the two days since I tipped them.
33+10=43 original hives checked so far. 25+11=36 are OK. That's 84% success so far and I am about 40% done checking. I have been doing about ten hives and hour in this bunch. That includes checking and pulling frames and doing various odds and ends of jobs.
I also have 13 boxes of honey to extract from those 43 hives I have worked through. I simply pulled out any finished combs that were not brood combs from the boxes I examined. I left far more than I took. Many are newly drawn and half-capped Pierco and I am wondering if uncapping will tear up the new cells. I might be better to stack them on a few hives to get fully capped and hardened up a bit first. My goal is to get lots of good brood comb, not lots of honey and damaged combs.
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At 2, I went out to check more hives. Including the time for a swim in the middle and at the end, I did 9 hives before 4:10. The going was slow. 9 out of 9 were good and I had a lot of honey to deal with. At midday the sky became overcast, so the work was not too uncomfortable, especially with the cool pool (22 degrees C) for respite.
That is 86% success, but I am not expecting things to continue like this. The last twenty hives are hives which received the most attention and were worked the earliest in the season. I may have already checked them once a few weeks ago and that would account for the low loss rate for these two groups on this round. I'll be coming soon to some with, maybe, 50% success.
As I go through these hives, I am having a chance to compare the various new foundation/frame combinations that I have been trying over the past few years and I am sad to say that the PF-100s are no better than I expected. Bees do accept them, and often draw them perfectly, but draw strange patterns far too often for my liking. I think that says something.
I am still reserving my final verdict, but at this point, I still like the Pierco standard black frames best. I seldom see any burr or brace comb and never see anything like what is shown at right on two different PF-100 frames. In the middle are wood frames with Permadent or something comparable. They draw well, and look nice, but have far too much frame (wood) area for my liking. I love the way that Pierco frames feel like honeycombs, not rigid pieces of furniture. They flex a bit, like wax and the surface is mostly comb, not wood. The bees apparently love them too, as they draw them wall to wall, flawlessly, time after time.
So, after working three days, I'm half done checking. I can see I'm going to need to pull honey again. I've been doing it frame by frame and walking around a lot. This is very inefficient. Back in my commercial days I'd have pulled twenty boxes in fifteen minutes, and that is on a bad day.
BUT, I'm not pulling honey, except as a necessary activity in checking the hives. Nonetheless, I really should get organized and use the forklift more, and my legs less.
I had thought that the season is over and it sure looked that way for a few days. Now, the flow is really heavy and the hives are filling. I've done my best to weaken the hives by splitting, but even little splits are making real honey. Some years, I've seen really poor spring hives make a bumper crop. This might be one of those years. If so, maybe I'll have to just "go with the flow" (so to speak) and make honey, but Ontario waits. Carpe Diem sits tethered to a dock in Muskoka.
There are two more hives to check in the quonset yard, then the swarms. I've been moving the swarms incrementally closer to the middle of the yard to palletize them since the swarms chose my various old equipment stacks at several spots distant from the yard. As a result, the swarm hives are all in wood boxes and on old brood frames. I have to say that after using EPS, both painted and unpainted, that wood seems really primitive and unnatural. Although I do like wood for floors and lids, it really pains to to have any hives in wood boxes anymore. I'll be moving those hives into EPS soon.
After drawing lots of foundation, the older wood brood frames look ancient. Some are warped, some are chewed, some are broken, and some have patches of drone comb, but I know the older ones, no matter how they look, are the best brood frames for wintering, and that the bees will winter much better on them than new, white combs. However, aesthetically, the new frames have a lot of appeal. I also know that after they have been in service a while, that these white frames will be fine. I'll put the new frames in the bottom boxes and next year they will be promoted to brood chambers.
For some reason, the Honey Bee World Forum is quiet lately. I guess everyone is busy.
Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being
run by smart people who are putting us on,
I realised last night that I am quite excited about what I am seeing in my hives. The combination of Meijer EPS boxes and black Pierco is working far better than I expected. The bees are doing very well and handling the equipment is far more pleasant than handling wood. The newer Pierco design makes a difference that is obvious when comparing to the Mann lake PF frames which are sharp and also brittle by comparison.
Time is flying and I must get caught up. I've been working in my best yard, one which is sheltered from north winds and am nearly finished there, with only two hives to do. The other two yards are not sheltered from the north, and I see that today the wind will be from the north, predicted to be at 20 KPH. I'm thinking that I could have planned better, but this wind is fairly light and may make the work more pleasant. We'll see.
Last year I had some problems with the north-facing hives in the North Yard being weaker than the south. I'm seeing that again this year. I have not observed that often before. I wonder what it is about this spot?
The forecasts keep changing and I see we are now expecting cooler weather for a few days. The days are also getting much shorter. I awake at 5 AM and see that it is still semi-dark. As the fall equinox approaches, we experience the maximum rate of change and the days really shorten. Nonetheless, we can have strong flows if things work out. Or we can have a killer frost that ends everything for the year. The number to watch is the nighttime temperature prediction.
On opening one hive the other day, I found eggs and decided it had a queen. I needed to shift it to another base, so I moved it over onto the new stand next to the old one. When I looked on the floor where the hive had been sitting, I found an apparently perfect queen lying still in one corner. I examined it carefully and decide that she musty have fainted,. I have heard of such things, but can't recall seeing it before. I dropped her into her hive and marked it for checking in four days, after the current eggs have hatched.
I took a peek at the patties I put on the hives several days ago. Here is a shot showing relative patty consumption so far. The patties are not necessarily near brood, as they are on the top box of three-storey hives full of honey. I'll explain which patty is which later.
I worked through 8 hives in the north group and only one was a dud. Another was very small, though. This is quite fascinating, watching what happens in a bee yard if the bees are disturbed, then allowed to recover their own way.
60 hives are now checked with 52 turning out OK.
If picture is worth 1,000 words, these pictures should show how beautifully the bees draw the black Piercos in these EPS boxes. These entire supers of foundation were put on several weeks ago. Click the thumbnails to enlarge.
For contrast, compare these to the picture at right of two different PF-100s. Granted, these two combs are the worst examples I happened on that day, but I have seen plenty more as I work through the hives. I also see many PF-100s drawn perfectly, and in fact the opposite side (not shown) was OK, but there is quite a variation in how they are drawn compared to the Piercos, which seldom have flaws. Usually any flaws on newly-drawn Piercos are a piece of brace comb to the next frame or the hive wall that is easily removed. The resulting gouge is then reliably repaired by the bees.
I put some screened bottoms on this yard in preparation for mite drop counts. I chose only hives which appear to have had queens all season, based on their strength, on the assumption that these will have the most mites. Interruptions in brood rearing reduce mite loads significantly.
If I had been really thinking and really co-ordinated, I could have made a point of using oxalic acid during those broodless periods for an enhanced mite kill. Of course, to do it properly, I would have had to know which hives were broodless, and proving that can amount to a lot of work, or just do all the hives. As it is, I'll have to watch and maybe act as early as September. Last year, I began in October and it seemed to work well enough.
The worst thing that could happen to anybody, would be to not be used for
anything by anybody.
I started the day by driving Cheryl to YYC, then stopped in Airdrie for a visit and to register the truck. This afternoon, I plan to take my extracting over to Meijers to get the combs emptied.
I loaded the honey which I had moved into wood boxes for transport and extraction, and was at Meijers just after 3. I was headed home by 5. In my travels, I noticed alfalfa fields in full bloom throughout the country.
The job itself only took less than a half hour. I had 24-1/2 supers weighing 1818 lbs, including pallet. When extracted, the same pallet load weighed 690 lbs. That means that we got about 46 lbs out of each box on average and, since the pallet weighs 60 lbs and an empty super weighs around 18 lbs, it seems that 690-(25x18) or 180 lbs remained in the boxes, or about 7 lbs per box did not come out.
That was largely due to the fact that the uncapper had problems with such thin combs. Normally, commercial extracting supers have only 8 combs in the space of 10 and the combs are much fatter. *-frame spacing reduces the cost of frames, the labour of extracting them by 20%, and makes fatter, fuller combs that hold more honey and are easier to uncap.
In fatter combs, the wax extends beyond the frame and is easy for the knives to reach. My combs, drawn from foundation with 10-frame spacing, were thin enough that the knives missed entire sides occasionally and often missed patches. Nonetheless, the job was plenty good enough for my purposes and very quick.
I returned home, had supper, then went out and put the extracted frames (still in wood boxes) onto a group of hives I have yet to check and which need supers. I wanted to get the job done while I have the energy and before tomorrow's rain. I'll be transferring the combs back into EPS boxes when I work those hives.
In supering this group of 27 hives, I noted that 9 are weaker than the others and did not yet need another box. One had dwindled right out, but other duds looked as if they may be queenright, but just under-populated. We'll see. Being weaker does not necessarily mean they are queenless. Maybe they were just slow getting a new queen or were the weak half of an uneven split, but I marked them and they will be the first I check when I get to that yard. The strongest ones are obviously queenright and only need supering.
There are two ways of exerting one's strength: one is
pushing down, the other is pulling up.
Today is rainy and cooler. This rain will keep things growing. It is predicted to end around noon, but at mid-morning, there is no such indication. If it ends, I'll work on some hives. If not, I'll get some bookwork and cleanup done.
I'm glad I put those boxes on hives last night, but sorry that the boxes are wood. I am sure the EPS boxes are drier and warmer.
Something I noticed while adding the supers was that some of the hives which are still in doubles and are packed with honey seem to have fairly low populations for the amount of honey they made. I am thinking they may either be small due to having been queenless a while or were plugged and consequently have reduced brood areas. I'll be working through them soon and I'll see how much brood they have.
Some small colonies I have examined have had a surprising amount of brood. After being queenless, for three or four weeks, colonies have a pent-up potential in terms of young bees ready to feed larvae and huge pollen stores accumulated during the queenless period and explode after the new queen gets started.
For the small, but queenright colonies, I'll either exchange their with strong colonies by turning pallets around or exchanging them so the weaker ones pick up more bees, or combine them with strong queenless colonies before fall.
The sun came out mid-afternoon and I got out and did some odd jobs after the wind went down. The rest of the day was spent in deskwork.
Now that I have a diesel truck again, I am thinking about the 100 gallons of diesel that has been sitting in one of my tanks for about ten years. I pumped some out and took a look at it and it appears fine. I'll put some into a glass jar and look closer. I tried giving it away about eight years ago, but my friends did not want to take a chance on one-year old fuel. So, I have been doubtful about using it. Boaters, however, often have very old or dirty diesel in their tanks and simply polish it with filters if required or have it polished by portable filters. Matt says he can't see why it should not be fine. After all, people are burning a lot of strange things in diesels these days. With the high cost of cleaning injectors and rebuilding pumps, though, I want to be careful.
I have ever deemed it more honorable and more
Today is expected to be sunny and right around 22 degrees C. That is ideal for working around the yard and working on the bees. I started by mowing the grass around the south yard and the shed.
I have looked through 60 of my ~110 hives and have the rest to go.
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It was too windy to be pleasant north of the hedge, so I decided to finish the quonset yard, which is more sheltered. There were two hives yet to do and I checked them. They were OK. Then I started on the swarm hives which were in wood boxes of brood comb, mostly heavy with honey. They need to be transferred by fall and I need to check them and remove honey as well. The first four went fine, but then I had to come in to wash my hands; they were getting very sticky. I had forgotten the water bucket when I went over. there. It can be an essential item.
* * * * *
I've now done the last nine in the quonset yard. There is one small swarm yet to remove from the stacks, though. The count is now 69 checked, with 61 good ones in that count, or an 89% success rate. 40 left to go (est.)
The honey removal and extraction has slowed me down a lot. I think I may need to find an extractor if I plan to continue this enterprise. An old Kelly 72 would be perfect. One of those would have done my boxes in three loads. As it was, though, Meijers saved the day for me. I extracted with a 20-frame machine the other year and those things are murder. They are just too small.
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I went out and worked on the north yard again and checked 8. All have queens. The hives are either small -- one is a single -- or plugged in three or four boxes. I tired of pulling honey and just reversed them and/or put them on screened floors. The count is now 77 checked, with 69 good ones resulting in a 90% success rate. realise that I forgot to count the small swarm. That makes for 78 and 70.
I'm getting tired of this. Why am I doing it? The answer, of course, is 1.) that it is so much fun and 2.) I have split to the point where I have more hives than time. I could be sailing a yacht or travelling the world and here I am playing with beehives.
If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most
Here comes a hot day. There was a little robbing yesterday and I hope that will stop. I should go out and check if the alfalfa field that was in full bloom across town is still standing or if it has been cut.
I went and checked. It is still standing (right).
We're planning a barbeque tonight and have to run to town to get supplies. I'll also try to finish the north yard today. Last night, the bees were getting pretty cranky before I quit for the day. I was rearranging hives and reversed quite a few since I don't want the new comb on top, and that is hard on bees, even with careful motions and use of smoke. I quit pulling honey, though. That was slowing me down and, besides, I would just have to extract it. I'd rather winter on it and sell the balance with the hives in spring. I am getting some interest in hives already.
I did the last hives in the north yard and found 2 more duds. One was small and had no queen The other had dwindled to almost nothing. I used the one with bees to boost the single. There are now 20 colonies in the north yard. Current tally: 85 and 75 -- or 88%.
Now I just have the 27 in the south yard to do. I've marked 9 there as doubtful just from looking at the outside and under the pillow. I have only 200 EPS boxes that are not in service.
After lunch, I ran over to Drum in the truck to get groceries then got home just before 5.
We had friends for supper and ate outside. Ellen and I have both been tired this last few days and may have some low-grade cold since we are both congested a little, especially at night. I suppose it could also be an allergy, but we both are experiencing it. Anyhow, we both tired a bit early and since the group came and hour earlier than usual, we broke up for the evening an hour earlier than usual, at 8. We all had a good time.
Criticism is nothing more than other people's opinion.
The bee work drags on. I had forgotten how much worth 100 hives can be. Another hot day is expected today and I hope to finish up the bees. We'll see.
I've been tired for the past few days, but got quite a bit done. Today, I plan to try to do the south yard and get the drop board under the nine hives where I placed screened bottoms.
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I vacuumed the swimming poll, then prepared the and drop boards. I find that spreading and rolling Vaseline is a lot of work, so I got out a gallon of mineral oil and a spray bottle. Spraying with oil is much easier, but I seem to recall I had some issues last year with it soaking in, etc. What are others using? Reply here.
I placed the boards at ten and will check them tomorrow, but unless I see a lot of mites, I won't count until three days have passed. Last year, I did daily checks to get a better understanding. This year, my goal is just to monitor levels more approximately.
This is supposedly a bright hot, sunny day, but it is overcast and we had to start the furnace. It is warm enough to work the hives, though. That said, I lay down and had a 1/2-hour nap. I have been very tired the last few days.
I went out and recounted, wearing reading glasses this time. The results: 20,1,4,17,6,1,7. I'm still not sure how close I came since, even with glasses, I can't be 100% certain about some of the objects. It takes better light and a magnifier to be sure.
We all know how dangerous it is to extrapolate from small samples, but let's do it anyways. These numbers suggest daily drops of 160, 8,32,136, 48, 8, and 56 a day. I didn't bother with the last few at this point. These numbers are serious if they bear out over a three-day test.
I also saw, for the first time, a live varroa running around on the board. It was soon overpowered by the oil on the board and died, but I see the oil is soaking in. and need to apply more.
* * * * *
I sprayed more oil onto the drop boards, then got to checking the patty hives. They had eaten all the patties about equally, so the new test formula passes that test, but I saw some crumbs on the entrance and in front. I've never seen that with Global, so we are looking into this. I'm now placing samples of each over screened bottoms to see where the crumbs come from. I'm pretty sure it is not from Global's standard formulas, and comes from the new formula under test, but I like to be sure. Suppliers can sometimes alter their specifications like particle size and 'forget' to mention it, so we keep a close eye on quality. These particles are huge, by bee standards.
That's how my days go. Distraction after distraction.
I did get to work on the south yard after the sun got lower and the heat lessened. I had been tired all day and took two naps, one for all of an hour before supper and felt more energetic after. So, I set four hives on the scale to start monitoring weight gain again, lifted the pallet of patties that was being molested by some critter onto drums, and then went south. I only did four hives there then called it a day.
The hive scale gained two pounds in the last minutes before sundown as the field bees returned. The end of day reading was 36 at 7:45.
I counted my hives today and here is the count: 55 in the quonset yard including swarms, 20 in the north yard, and 26 in the south (with several more duds suspected). That amounts to 101 good hives at his point, so my estimate of 80 for winter may be low.
At this point, it appears that I have roughly doubled my numbers from last fall and made about 50 lbs per hive based on my spring count. That is not too bad, and I could probably extract at least as much again if I cared to without harming the hives.
All in all, I got a lot done today, although I have yet to do the sugar shake. After I find some hives with known mite drops, I'll do a few hives to try it out. Drops are easy, though, once the floors are in place.
Sex and creativity are often seen by dictators as subversive activities.
Another beautiful day is coming up. I think I'll get out and get at those south hives before the sun gets hot. I slept well last night and am full of beans today.
Is "geometric" the right word? I suspect the effects of varroa go up far faster than the mite population.
I counted the mite drop after 24 hours and am amazed. There were problems with some boards soaking up the oil to where they were dry to various degrees compared to the Vaselined boards. This could affect the accuracy as I saw quite a few live, mobile mites. It seems that Vaseline is necessary on Masonite. Here are the results.
I don't know about you, but that looks scary to me. (scream) Red numbers are for less oily boards. All these hives were chosen for drops because they were the largest and assumed to have had queens and brood continuously all summer.
What would you do in my shoes? Let's discuss this in the the forum.
* * * * *
El & I went to town, mid-afternoon as it was too hot to work outside and we got a 15-gallon electric weed sprayer. We've been using a one gallon hand sprayer and I figure we need something more heavy-duty and easier to transport, especially since El is weaker than last year and we have decided to maintain some of our hedges and tree lines better.
After the wind and the heat went down, I worked on the south yard and did another 4 hives, shaking out two duds in the process. I also realize that i am an idiot and I've gone and found myself with 100 large, heavy hives with a mite load that needs attention soon or I will have even more boxes of feed with no bees. All this and I am supposed to be in Ontario, sailing and relaxing. My cup runneth over. I'm getting sick of bees. Man, am I sick of bees every day!
The scale is at 48 tonight ay 7:10. That is a 3lb/hive gain for today. If this year turns out like 2009, I am in trouble. From this date to the end of the flow, another 75 lbs/hive came in. I'll need more boxes or I'll have to extract!
Here is the gain data from that year. Note: the left chart shows gain per hive per day and cumulative gain per hive and the right chart is the total of the four hives on that pallet per day.
As it stands now, I have 100 hives with an average of -- I'm guessing -- 160 lbs of stores already. This getting to be a problem.
No problem is so formidable that you can't walk away from it.
There is lots of forum activity this morning. Check it out.
I got out and counted the mites again.
It almost looks as if I somehow reversed the order since #9 is low the first time and #2 is low the second, but I am sure I did not. It is often tempting to "correct" the data to make 'sense' to human minds, but I always resist that urge. and present exactly what I got. There may be an error, but if so, it is an honest error. The data has not been fiddled.
I can see that I need to improve the drop board coatings or even add inserts since I am having some boards dry out. Also cleaning them is a lot of work. I am going to try the air hose next.
Hot dog! It works and in a jiffy. I've been worrying about wind blowing mites off boards when I take them from the hives to the truck and it never twigged until now that I could use that effect to clear the boards between uses. Remind me to wear my bee suit, not street clothes next time, though.
Jean and the kids came for the day, arriving mid-morning, and leaving before supper.
Just as I figured. I have a skunk. Here he is looking up at the pallet of patties I raised onto drums in the open shelter to get them out of reach. The game camera caught these shots and many more. He spent a lot of time looking up. I don't know what the black bar is. I think I may have stretched one of the bungees over the lens. Duh.
He was eating my patties and who knows what else in the yard. I can see no signs of him bothering hives. If he were, there should be muddy, scratched patches in the grass near hives, and there are not, but I find it hard to believe that he is not eating the bees which hang in clusters from entrances on hot flow nights. Next I'll set the camera to watch the hives.
My philosophy is live and let live -- to a point. I have a trap, if it comes to that.
I found a truck toolbox on Kijiji and sent a text to the seller. By evening, I had bought a box and it had been delivered to Jean's house in Lacombe. Kijij is a good place to find things and text messaging is a great way to contact people and see pictures of items sent from the phone. In fact, it is now rude to phone people without texting first.
Late in the day, after the hottest part, I went down and did another 4 or 5 hives in the south yard. This job is going very slowly. The hives are full of honey and I am having trouble deciding how to deal with it. I don't mind wintering in four boxes heavy with honey, in fact that is my preference, but I am concerned that if I lose hives again, I will have far too much feed in combs. I may have to extract again, but I really must treat for varroa, and I must get East soon.
Everything is simpler than you think and at the same time more complex than
We are expecting company, so I went out two hours early, at 8, to count the varroa. The counts are down and it makes me wonder if the higher drops were due to the fact that the hives had been recently worked and the screens were placed under recently, or if ants are taking the mites off the boards. I don't see any ants, though. The boards are drier than I like, but that does not seem to be a factor. I am not seeing live mites today, so I wonder if the live ones fall between 8 and 10 or 11, when I have been counting lately, or if they are more active as the day gets warmer. Our nights often get down to plus 5 Celsius.
Choosing the right amount of grease and oil for drop boards is an art, it seems. Too much oil, and the debris is soaked and hard to identify. Too little, and the mites can walk away, in warm weather at least.
The chart at right above is from Jean-Pierre Chapleau's website. I appear to been above the thresholds all season, judging by spring counts and my three measurements so far this week.
I like the trend I see in the table below, however. I should also point out that I am counting mites that many would not even see and sometimes immatures that maybe fall below the colour threshold.
The scale reads "53" this morning. I forgot to check it last night. That's a 5-pound gain for the 4 hives, plus whatever weight was lost overnight. That comes to a 1.25 -pound gain per hive yesterday.
At right (click to enlarge) is another shot of PF100s that I am coming across in the hives as I work. Not good. I also see some with chips out of the plastic.
The following is from my diary on Oct 12, 2011, but is so important, I am repeating it here.
I finished the south yard tonight and just have cleanup tomorrow. (Right)
I have 9 EPS boxes that are not currently on hives.
The hive scale reads, "70". That is a 17-lb gain from this morning, or a little over 4lbs per hive today.
The south yard had big losses compared to the other yards, partly due to making late splits. Once the summer honeyflow is on, success seems to drop.
Current success tally: 112 checked and 92 found OK -- or 82%. This not far from my expected 80%, and I would not be surprised to find the rate is 80% by the time I put them into winter. My original prediction was 80 hive going into winter.
Just think of the tragedy of teaching children not to doubt.
The long weekend is upon me and I have finished the round of bee checking. It took much longer than I would have expected and now I have to decide when and how to treat for varroa, as I have varroa at serious levels.
I also have to decide whether to pull more honey. If I do, I should do it before evaporating oxalic, although, frankly, it should not matter since oxalic acid is a a natural constituent of honey (Ref.) and no threat to humans in the minute amounts it does.
I checked the mite boards again this morning at 8. I also looked at the hive scale and see it lost 4 lbs overnight (total for 4 hives). I assume that his represents the moisture driven off from the 17 lb gain yesterday.
It is clear that the test hives are about twice over Chapleau's 24-mite benchmark.
I checked the scale and we had another good day. The scale reads 81.5, for a gain of almost 3 lbs/hive.
There are no solutions...there are only
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"If I make a
living off it, that's great -- but I come from a culture where you're valued
not so much by what you acquire but by what you give away,"
-- Larry Wall (the inventor of Perl)
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