July 10th 2014
Click here for current conditions in my back yard
I'm off to Calgary today. The weather promises to be cooler
than yesterday, but still quite warm, at 25° C. I have two
appointments this morning and afternoon, and I wonder if I should
take in the Stampede. I'll be nearby.
I drove to Calgary and was at the Lung Diagnostic Centre at 1000
for my lung evaluation. I had to draw in as much air as I
could through a tube, then blow it out as hard as I could.
Then I inhaled a mist and repeated the process. A computer
monitored all the airflows and plotted charts which the operator
examined in real time. I had to repeat the process several times
before she was satisfied. I'm told that I'll have the results
by the time I see my GP next Monday.
An hour later my tests were finished and I started towards the
Rockyview Hospital for my SLT. Since I was early, I stopped at
The Home Depot and wandered through their flower and garden plants
section, then drove to the hospital.
I have had the
three times now over eight years. The purpose is to lower the
intraocular pressure to ward off
glaucoma and the past two times it was very successful.
We'll know in a month how well this one worked.
I had to wait an hour before driving and decided to go home.
Although the operation is virtually painless, my eyes feel a bit
sandy for a while after.
I stopped for gas along the way and arrived home around 1700.
The day is cooling, and I have bee work tp do, but I didn't feel
like it, so had steak and a cob of corn, then slept an hour.
Before I got married I had six
theories about bringing up children;
now I have six children and no theories.
July 11th 2014
Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Good Morning! More hot weather is coming. I am going
out early today to try to get caught up with the bees. I may
start pulling honey, just to make room.
today. I see a few posts that I missed and have replied to
them there. Somehow the 'bot did not notify me of the new
posts. Be sure to read there regularly as I do not
always cross-post content from the forum over here. Please fell
free to register and post questions and comments in the forum.
I finally got outside at 1100 and did some tidy-up around the
doors. My morale has suddenly picked up. For one thing,
I don't think I will have to sell many hives. I sent out an
email and got little response. Maybe I sent it to the wrong
list? I have so many names, I suppose I should check.
I don't really care, though. Truth be told, I
am finding that I hate selling hives. I especially hate
selling them one by one. There is always the problem of
pricing them and the fear they may not do well.
At this point, it appears I am stuck with just about 100 hives
that will produce honey. In fact, they are already well on the
way to a crop.
That's OK. I can do that. Honey production can be
simple and time-insensitive -- no appointments, no negotiating, no
emails and phone calls and no beginner questions -- just me and my
bees and a lot of lifting and moving around. I can give the
bees room and go visit Mom for a week.
I'll probably produce about 10,000 pounds of honey and I
need to decide how to get rid of it. I can just haul
supers to my friends and have the extraction done in a matter of
minutes. That is what we have been doing. We work
together anyhow and are set up to deal with this.
I could buy an extractor and fuss around, spending the
equipment investment and the set-up time plus at least forty
hours uncapping and extracting and fooling with drums.
Make that two weeks out of my life. Been there, done that.
I figure (roughly) that there will be 2400 frames to extract in
total. That could amount to as many as 300 supers. With the
empty super weight added, that means 18,000 pounds that has to be
trucked to the plant. That would be 9 trips with my truck,
taking 27 hours or one trip for a larger truck.
At any rate, I am happy now that the way forward is clear.
I am working through the hives, spreading brood and adding
I do need to get my forklift going, though. I'll need it
foundation is drawing beautifully so far.
See how few bees are on the foundation? I don't think that
there have been more than that so far. These few bees seem to
have have done all that work, using just the wax on the foundation,
plus what they pick up from burr comb and make themselves. I
don't see clusters hanging there, but foundation is getting drawn.
Have I ever mentioned how I love the black plastic one-piece
frames? Maybe not.
Working with black plastic one-piece frames is just so
pleasant compared to handling the big chunks of lumber that
make up wood frames. Scraping burr comb on plastic does not
raise slivers, the way it can on wood, and the bees just seem so
much happier not to have all that wood in their nest.
Plastic plastic feels much more natural than wood. I like
the softness and flexibility of the plastic it seems much more
compatible with beeswax. The rounded edges of the newer Pierco
frames are easy on the hands and the black colour shows off the comb
and eggs in the bottom of cells.
I've heard that bees make more burr comb on Pierco and similar
frames than wood, but I don't really see that and I have all sorts
of frames. The picture at right is what happens if you wait
too long to super, but scrapes off easily. It will happen no
matter what frames are used. Note the beautiful combs in the
Beekeeping is fun again.
1700, while I was working the last hive in the second group from
last, Ray called and said he has some lids ready, so I drove down
and picked them up. I now have enough of my new lids for all
my hives, plus a few spares that I can sell. He'll have the
floors ready Monday.
Ray does a beautiful job and I know I will love having all
matching equipment. I'll be able to stop using four-way
pallets, and space the hives out better. I'll need to make
some more hive stands, but that is fairly simple.
I suppose I should paint these lids and floors, but I don't have
the ambition to do so. Maybe I could dip them, but jobs like
that wind up taking days. Besides, we do not normally paint
the inside of bee equipment. Paint is a chemical and also can
repel the bees. I expect that these new lids should last as
long as I do.
It seems I keep spending money on my bees and am in the
red for the past several years. I really should try to get
into the black. There is no sense in losing money doing
something that is keeping me from my sailing, visiting my
family, and my cottage.
I built the bees back up when Ellen was ill and changed to
EPS boxes. This meant investing. I have intended to
sell bees, but sales have been limited due to the large loss
several years ago and the slow springs the past two years.
I also think my splitting strategy needs reconsideration.
I've mentioned previously that I'm speaking about "The
Financial Side of Beekeeping" at the
BCHPA annual meeting in Richmond B.C. this September 25-27.
How I Screwed Up and Why I'm Hoping You Won't
Why Money Matters, Even if Beekeeping is Your Hobby
Why are You Doing This, Anyhow?
What is Your Time Worth?
Pricing Your Products
Social Responsibility and Reputation
Turning Your Hobby into a Business - Is it a good Idea - For
Running a Beekeeping Business
Dealing with Competition - Making it Pay
Value for Money
Maybe I should practice what I preach?
After I returned from Ray's, I made some macaroni and went to The
Mill for a potluck supper. I stayed until the mosquitoes got
bad, then went to Bert's for a visit, then drove home, arriving
My pessimism extends to the
point of even suspecting the sincerity of the pessimists.
July 12th 2014
Click here for current conditions in my back yard
At 0730, I hear a spray plane. The country around me is
yellow with canola and the farmers are spraying for something.
I asked Joe and he said he heard there is a fungus attacking the
crops and they are spraying fungicide. I hope that is true,
although some fungicides can be as bad as some insecticides.
So far I am not seeing any damage to my bees, but who can see
what is not there -- bees killed in the field -- or detect
something that subtly reduces the viability of a hive over time?
Two people are coming for bees early this morning and both have
texted that they are on the way, so I should drink my second cup of
coffee and get outside. As well, today promises to be hot and
I want to finish this round today, and before the hot part of
* * * *
I started the smoker, then cut grass until my visitors came.
I had been avoiding cutting around the beehives, but just can't
stand the chaos any longer and decided to neaten things up.
Now, at 1008, we are up to twenty-five degrees Celsius on the way
to thirty-one. I'm going out to work on the hives and
hopefully finish this round.
* * * *
a break, I went out and put on some of the new lids, just to get
them off my truck. They look great. I just know that
having everything the same and having the hives on single floors
will work better than the way I have been getting by. These
new lids will seal the tops of the hives far better and be easier to
The main secrets
ruining running more than ten hives are
yard layout for easy vehicle access
flat-deck truck or trailer or a forklift to move close to
the working area to eliminate unnecessary steps and lifting
have a clear
goal in mind each time the hives are worked
necessary supplies and place them conveniently
begin at one
end and work through to the last hive before going back to
start the next pass
exceptions ruthlessly without being distracted from the main
If you only have a pickup truck, build a crude deck of plywood
and 2X4s to sit on top of the box -- or take the box off and put on
a deck. Working from a pickup box is a horrible and
impractical way to accomplish anything.
Home Depot and Lowes sell
inexpensive pull-behind trailers with a fairly high payload that
are at a convenient height for doing bee work. See also
this forum post and
I think I will paint the lids -- sometime. The job should
be simple once the hives are on stands. I can just take a
roller and do a whole yard in jig time.
BTW, I have come to the conclusion that hive colour is not
a huge issue and that mixing box colours does not matter as much
as many think it does. Bee recognize their hives by
position and shape and smell, as well as colour.
I think I may have eaten something I should not have last night.
That is the trouble with potluck suppers. People make salads
or other dishes, then drive a distance in hot weather and then the
food sits on a table at room temperature, or in this case, hotter
for an hour or more. I woke up a bit nauseous in the middle of
the night and sat up two hours before I felt well enough to sleep.
Today my digestion is not quite right.
Although I have not quite finished this round, I distracted
myself with lawn mowing. The mess was getting to me and I
decided I simply had to mow the bee yards, and did so. I have
more tidying to do, but this is a start.
* * * *
At 1800, I went to The Mill for Noah and Annie's wedding.
The evening began with a supper under a large tent set up for the
occasion. I didn't count, but would guess maybe a hundred and
twenty to a hundred and forty people were there.
During and after supper, we were treated to musical entertainment
and the usual goings-on.
It so happens that Annie's father is a beekeeper in Nova
Scotia, and we had a few good chats. He and his wife
brought jars of honey for all the guests. I took one home
with me and have to say the honey is excellent.
Bert took Maddy up in his plane to photograph the wedding, but by
the time there was a delay in the programme and we were able to get
everyone outside, they had landed, but I heard they did get some
The wedding ceremony was scheduled for 2100, the time when the
sun set and the full moon rose, a so-called
supermoon, as the moon is reportedly at its perigee at this
particular date and time.
A moon theme sort of resonates with a tradition in the
Dick and Purves-Smith families. As I recall, Ellen and I
started it by by throwing a
lawn party one summer evening. Back then, we used any good
excuse to have a big barbeque and had quite a crowd.
The theme that night was "blue" and "moon".
People wore blue and painted themselves blue and brought
blue food. I especially recall the blue macaroni
and the kids jumping on bee hives in the dusk. I have
pictures somewhere, but can't recall the year. It was
back before 2000.
We threw a few such parties with mostly our close friends
at the time and later Bill later threw a bigger one at The Mill,
bringing in a larger group of people, but then the tradition
died, probably due to a shortage of suitable blue moon dates.
The last (small) party we had here was in 2005.
At nine, Zeke blew the starting horn sequence as if beginning a
sailing race and everyone trekked out onto the prairie north of The
Mill for the ceremony.
Sailing has been quite central to both he Dick and Purves-Smith
families. They were into sailboat racing, mostly lasers,
and were very active at the Glenmore Yacht Club. We were
avid windsurfers. Jon sailed with the P-Ss a bit over the
years and later was Noah's partner in Tornado class sailing
around the world, hoping to qualify for the Olympics.
That effort ended with a capsize and dismasting in the
mouth of Sidney (Australia) harbour and drifting around for
eighteen hours in the Tasman Sea until they were rescued.
That was back in 2000 as I recall.
About that time, the day was cooling and the mosquitoes were
coming out, so everyone was sprayed liberally with Deep Woods Off or
similar DEET product.
The ceremony went on for quite a while, and from where I was
sitting in the crowd I could not hear most of what was happening.
The PA was muffled when some speakers were at the mic and at other
times, the mic was ignored.
There was a long interlude while the rings were passed around and
everyone was asked to hold them and make good wishes. With
that crowd, even a few seconds per person added up to long time
standing there waiting and being eaten by mosquitoes.
Eventually they were married, apparently, and then the attendees
were asked to form two rings for some variation of a receiving line,
at which point some of us made a discreet retreat. By then, it was
2230 so I drove home. I had had enough, was getting cold and
mosquito-bitten, and was not in the mood to party.
Although I don't mind bees crawling on me, or even
stinging me, I hate mosquitoes. There is a lot of talk
Nile virus, too. I don't know what the risk really
From what I have heard, at this point in time many
people have been found to have antibodies indicating they have
been exposed to WNV with no noticeable effect, and we are told
that children seldom have bad reactions.
If you work or spend time
outdoors, you have a greater chance of being bitten by
an infected mosquito. Even if you're infected,
your risk of developing a serious West Nile
virus-related illness is extremely small — less than 1
percent of people who are infected become severely ill.
West Nile virus Risk factors )
If you have had WNV, are you
immune to further infections? It is thought that once a
person has recovered from WNV, they are immune for life
to future infections with WNV. This immunity may
decrease over time or with health conditions that
compromise the immune system. (from
West Nile Virus Website
I'm glad I went, and appreciate all the planning, travel and work
that went into this event, but I'm happy to be home.
I'm not much a person for ceremonies. Ellen and were
wed in five minutes at City Hall in Calgary with two friends as
witnesses. Our marriage lasted 45 years. 'Nuff said.
Once home, I watched Netflix until quite late and went to bed.
I’d rather live with a
good question than a bad answer.
July 13th 2014
Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Having gone to bed late, I slept in this morning and maybe I'll
make sleep my project of the day. At 0853, it is already
twenty-eight degrees C.
Again I awoke to hear a spray plane diving for a pass over a
field nearby. There must be a lot of chemical in the air around
here. Even if the spray does not drift, there is evaporation.
|Allen, it was interesting to read your comparisons with
plastic frames versus wooden ones. I have a couple as well.
I use Mann Lake plastic frames in the brood nest. I hear
some beekeepers complain that they are not "natural" .."all
that plastic"... and i respond that they are no less natural
than wooden frames. Wooden frames offer a smaller area for
comb building than plastic because of thicker top and bottom
The introductory beekeepers course I took in the spring
of 2009 emphasized that there needed to be a few open cells
in the top box so that the bees would notice it in the
winter and move up - otherwise on occasion they would not
cross over the top bars of the box below. With plastic
frames this is not an issue. They don't see the thin plastic
top bar as a barrier, and the bridge offered by the burr
comb also helps them flow up as they need to.
When they get to the top in winter I hypothesize that it
also must be better for them with plastic frames because
they do not have to span their cluster all around the thick
wooden top bars. Those thick wooden top bars occupy an inert
volume that must be 5 or 6 times greater than the volume
occupied by wooden ones. The result of this is that the bees
are in contact with more wax, honey, and sisters than those
colonies in hives with wooden frames.
The only area that I have found plastic frames to be a
pain is in the honey extractor. I find they tip over more
easily than wooden ones. Also, with respect, I have a few
thoughts on your honey plans.
It might be more fun and safer to take them to your
friends and work on a team than try extracting on your own.
If you buy an extractor and uncap by hand you will be
committed to a process that may be harder on your wrists and
shoulders than you remember. Also, do I remember you saying
that uncapping canola honey was time sensitive due to its
propensity to granulate? What if something comes up and you
find you can't uncap at the rate you used to?
I am starting to think that beekeeping is a compulsion.
Having some success presents better problems than having
failures, but it still presents problems.
BTW there is a funny typo in yesterdays entry
"The main secrets to ruining more than ten
I wish I lived close enough to see your lecture. I
appreciate the time you put into your diary. It helps me be
a better beekeeper.
Adrian. (Hudson, WI)
I'll be making up PowerPoint slides for the talk and
may post it here. Who knows? Someone may video the
talk and post it to YouTube.
As for extracting, you are quite right. As it
happens, my friends have two large commercial extracting
lines and they can run through what would be a day's hard
work for me, if all goes well, in less than an hour.
Their system also flattens the combs nicely. One
problem though, is that young, tender comb tends to rip off
the foundation under some conditions.
Although I consider extracting myself, it's just talk, I'll never
get around to it. Life is too short, and I should stick to what I am
BTW, my ankles are much better again. Who knows what
causes my shoulders to be sore at times, then my ankles at
others? My doctors says maybe it is osteoarthritis.
That is just his way of saying he doesn't know either.
It seems I will probably be selling a few more hives after all.
I'm getting a few responses to my last emails and this is the way I
like to do things, with no time pressure. Spring sales are
time-sensitive, but summer sales are more laid-back. One
respondent likes the idea of buying a hive with honey already on it,
ready to extract. Others just want some bees and don't much
care about the honey.
I spent the morning at my desk, updating yesterday's post and
doing other tasks. This afternoon, I am tidying and cleaning.
It's over thirty-one degrees outside.
I have been accumulating odds and ends in various places in the
studio, especially on the north steps where I come and go when
working outside. Tools and supplies get left there, either to
be handy next time or because I don't have a place for them.
There was a bag of fish food that I bought last time I
tried to raise trout. A mouse had chewed a hole and the
pellets were spilling out a small hole. A tote full of straps
and misc supplies from when I picked up hives in B.C. back in
2010 was still there. I had cleared out a stack of discarded
computers and electronics and there were some leftover items that
might still have some value , including two desktop computers with
hard drives I am, reluctant to just discard without knowing where
they go (I know, the risk of any security risk through data recovery
by bad guys is very low, but we hear scare stories...). At any
rate, I cleaned that area up and made a good start on the rest.
* * * *
-- very occasionally -- a mouse gets into my EPS boxes and something
like this happens. Repair options are quite simple. I
can simply cut that entire side, or a portion of that side,
off with a saw and cut an identical piece from another wrecked box,
then Weldbond it in place, clamped with three inch drywall screws
that can be left in, or removed later. You can't do these
quick and easy repairs with wooden boxes.
I just received an email from a beekeeper who picked up a
strong single-story hive here yesterday. He chose an
EPS box and also bought a set of the new floors and lids I
have had made and a second box to put on when he arrived
home. Picture at right.
The bees obviously arrived intact although with all the
bearding one could say they are a little on the warm side.
I did put a super on right after I took this picture and
an hour later they were all in the hive. It seems like
business as usual for them today.
Again thank you.
That's what I like to hear!
These EPS boxes are made here in Alberta, require no assembly or
painting (although they can be painted) and provide an insulated
hive year-round. Ordinary wood honey supers fit on top
normally for the summer flows.
Come fall, the only
preparation required for winter with these hives is
Remove any remaining
supers so only two EPS boxes remain
Assure the hive has
sufficient feed by weighing it. Slip a bathroom scale
under the back, then the front, and add up the two numbers.
Should total over 65 kg including floor and lid.
Feed if necessary
Add a little more
insulation in the space provided under or on top of the lid.
Add an entrance
reducer and/or mouse guard if desired
Make sure the hive
faces south and is tipped slightly forward for drainage. A
half-inch or so of lift at the back is sufficient
Make sure the hive is located
out of gusty winds and will receive
the most possible direct sun during the winter days. (Remember
that the sun gets very low in the southern sky around New Years)
http://www.honeybeeworld.com/hives/ for more details.
A wise man gets more use from
his enemies than a fool from his friends.
July 14th 2014
Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Monday again. The summer is flying by.
I have a doctor's appointment at 1100, so there goes the morning.
I'm pricing lumber that I need to see if it is worthwhile to pick
some up on this trip or if I should run to the city later.
It seems that Acme has the best lumber deals -- as good as
Airdrie Home Depot. Three Hills is always the most expensive.
I saw the doctor and all is well. After getting a few
groceries, I returned home and began work on the publicity for
Ellen's memorial. That comes up in a little over three weeks,
so I have to get hopping.
Subject to revision and tuning, I think I have the plan now:
I spent the evening and here is what I came up with:
Memorial for Ellen Dick - 1944-2013:
The power of hiding ourselves
from one another is mercifully given,
for men are wild beasts, and would devour one another but for this
Henry Ward Beecher
July 15th 2014
Click here for current conditions in my back yard
|Here is an interesting question, and one we have all
wondered about, I am sure:
Wanted to get your thoughts on storing extra Apivar
after the packaging has been opened.
I'm concerned about the effectiveness after the
vacuum seal has been broken.
What to do with extra strips?
Should they be thrown away?
It would be nice to keep them for next season.
I placed a call to Arysta Life Science posing this
A representative advised that placing them in a zip
lock freezer bag and placing them in a freezer (not one
that is used for human food storage) would maintain its
I don't understand how the product degrades after
Have you researched this issue?
Not really, but I have wondered, since everyone has a
part package when finished inserting strips. I'm
checking it out. It appears there are some answers
I asked Medhat and he says:
All products must have before end date for use as a
part of the requirements for registration. Apivar is
good for 2 years. The leftover strips can be placed in a
freezer zip lock bag. I always wrap them in aluminum
foil. Then the bag can be stored in dark, dry at room
temperature. I put them usually in the garage. This way
I take advantage of cold winters to keep them from
degradation. It does work for me.
> Could the strips be tested after this kind of
storage to determine the amount of amitraz that is
It can, we also did (that)
AMITRAZ REREGISTRATION ELIGIBILITY DECISION
Amitraz (Pesticide residues in food: 1980 evaluations)
From the above information, Amitraz appears to be very stable
when stored in a cool, dry place. Air and light appear to have
little effect from what I can tell from the above
Support | Amitraz Strips, Varroa Mite | Apivar
"How long will Apivar strips remain effective after
opening the package?
"Apivar strips are vacuum-packed to preserve their
effectiveness. To guarantee a high concentration of active
ingredient in the hive, Apivar strips should be used as soon as
possible after opening the packaging. The effectiveness of
Apivar strips could be reduced by prolonged exposure to light.
"We recommend you install Apivar strips in the hive
immediately after opening the package. If a short period of
storage is necessary, we suggest placing the strips in a sealed
container that provides protection from light and humidity.
Further, we recommend that opened Apivar packages not be stored
for more than two weeks and that the strips be used as soon as
"Storing strips outside the hive for a long period of time is
not recommended as the active ingredient continues to be
released, regardless of how or where it is stored. We cannot
guarantee that stored strips will have sufficient quantities of
active ingredient to be effective for later treatments."
"The active ingredient in Apivar strips is sensitive to
moisture and is degraded more quickly in extremely humid
conditions. These conditions can impair the strips’ long-term
effectiveness, and may result in an inadvertent over-dosing.
In extremely humid conditions, we recommend that you read and
follow all instructions, using two strips per brood chamber and
positioning the strips to optimize distribution of the active
ingredient during the treatment. The positions of the strips
should be checked to be sure that they are still in the middle
of the brood area."
How do we reconcile this? The MSDS above says that
Amitraz is a solid and not volatile. Is the strip form
unstable when stored outside a beehive in cool conditions for two
If so, how can the treatment last six weeks in a moist hive at
95.5 degrees F?
The following is from
Amitraz (Acaricide/Pesticide) (Chemical Page)
Straw coloured or pale
yellow, odourless crystalline solid. (B263, W180.Sept04.w1)
86-87°C. (B263, W180.Sept04.w1, W324.Sept04.w1)
About 1 mg/L. (W180.Sept04.w1)
Sparingly soluble. (B263)
Soluble in common organic
solvents such as acetone, toluene, and xylene. (B263, W180.Sept04.w1)
Storage / Stability
- Non-corrosive. (W180.Sept04.w1)
- Non-hygroscopic. (B263)
- Relatively stable to heat. (B263, W180.Sept04.w1)
- Stability apparently little affected by UV
- Slow decomposition occurs when amitraz is stored
for prolonged periods under moist conditions. (W180.Sept04.w1)
From that, I conclude that the strips are stable in storage and
that the manufacturer is being over-cautious.
* * *
I've been working for more than a day now on
the memorial for Ellen
and am trying to cobble together a mailing list. The event is
a bit over three weeks away now. We're having another hot day
and I have only been outside for the mail.
* * *
For years now, I have used Synergy to run several computers from
one keyboard and one mouse.
"Synergy is free open source software for
sharing one mouse and keyboard between multiple Windows, Mac OS
X and Linux computers on your desk. Seamlessly copy and paste
between your computers. An open source community run project, in
development since May 2001.
The program works reasonably well,
but is hard to upgrade and configure and has a few bugs, It's main
advantage over similar software is that it can link machines running
Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. The long promised drag and drop
between computers never materialized and lately they have been
begging for money. I donated a few times, but figure I have
paid my share.
Today I decided to try
Mouse Without Borders, a similar free program, but one that only
runs on Windows machines.
"Mouse without Borders is a product that makes you the
captain of your computer fleet by allowing you to control up to
four computers from a single mouse and keyboard. This means that
with Mouse without Borders you can copy text or drag and drop
files across computers."
I figure that I don't run Linux anymore, except on
virtual machines on a Windows
host, so that should work fine. I ran Ubuntu full-screen and
have full mouse and keyboard, so that question is answered.
I downloaded and installed it, removing Synergy first. The
installation was quick and the setup and config instantaneous.
So far it seems excellent, but immediately after installation, I
did have a crash on a program I use all the time -- the one I use to
write these pages -- so time will tell.
I rebooted both computers and had another crash that seems to be
related to using the clipboard, so we will see.
Crashes are very unusual these days, so I have to suspect the new
There are many who dare not kill
themselves for fear of what the neighbors will say.
July 16th 2014
Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Today promises to be the hottest of the year so far at a
predicted thirty-four degrees Celsius.
My weather station seems to be online again. I have had
more problems with this software over the past few years than any
other, except perhaps, Synergy.
Mouse Without Borders seems to
have decided to get along with my other software now. I have
not had a software crash for a few hours, other than a
Sleepyhead beta which always crashes when loading data for the
second time in the same session.
With Windows, I find that rebooting a few times seems to
heal mysterious problems, often as not. In the worst cases,
booting to safe mode and then back to normal boot seems to help.
I have no idea why.
and Kalle are coming in two weeks Faye, Bill, Myra and Ken a
few days later, and the memorial is a bit bit over three weeks off.
I also have to get the year-end to the accountant right away as
this is holiday season and a return is due at the end of the month,
and then there are the bees to worry about.
Time to get moving on things.
* * * *
This was a long, hot, and wasted day. I spent the entire
day doing books and I don't know what is more a waste of time than
that. Anyhow, I have them all up to date for the first time in
a while and ready for the accountant.
That is two dreaded tasks done in the past several days: the
memorial announcement and the books. I have a few items to do
to get each on its way, but the gruntwork and hard thinking is
Fortune does not change men, it
July 17th 2014
Today, 17 July: A mix of sun and cloud. Showers
or thunderstorms beginning near noon. Risk of a severe
thunderstorm this afternoon. Local amount 20 to 30 mm.
Hazy. Wind north 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming
southeast 20 gusting to 40 this morning then light this
afternoon. High 26. UV index 7 or high.
Click here for current conditions in my back yard
According to my weather station. we had 10 mm of rain last night.
That was enough to wet the deck and this morning, there is mist in
the valleys. Some of that may be smoke from the fires in the
North West Territories and British Columbia. I could smell the
smoke yesterday afternoon.
I have lots to do today, and the weather looks to be cooler.
The hives have not had a visit for a while, so I went out and went
down the line. I did the North Yard and half of the Quonset
I don't understand why people cannot get Pierco drawn out.
See the picture at right. This a whole box of foundation I
put on this hive recently. I may have seeded it with one
or two partially drawn centre combs. Can't recall.
The trick with any foundation is not to put it on until
the bees are whitening the combs in the top box. Giving it
too early results in odd constructions.
Some people worry about the bits of stray wax shown there, but they
are just due the fact that the frames were dipped in hot wax, plus
the fact that this cover pillow was lofted up a bit. These
bits scrape off easily, besides, I like a bit of wax like that; the
bees use it for travel.
else people worry about is the quality of emergency cells. I
show two good examples here. Both examples are far better than
the cells many, if not most queen producers raise. (I've seen
what many consider to be good cells, and they are not).
Some claim that emergency cells produce inferior queens, but many
experts disagree. After all, the queens we buy are raised
under the emergency impulse. The determining factor in cell
quality is the number of young bees making the cells and how well
they are fed.
After I finished the row, I noticed this one hive (below) had more
entrance bees than the others and looked to see why. They were
the source of the cells at the left above.
I'm loving the new floors and lids. As with anything, good
equipment makes for more enjoyable work and a better product.
I believe most cells raised by queen producers are
raised under swarming conditions, that is, with queen
pheromone present. The cells are started in a queen less
starter, then moved to a queenright finisher. IMO better
cells are raised in a queenright hive. I've seen 50+ BIG
cells consistently put out by strong starter/finishers
under the right conditions.
As far I can see, you are agreeing that the cells are
started under the emergency impulse. There are various
ways to finish and hold large numbers of developing cells,
and one might claim that this part of the raising
(finishing) is done under swarm conditions, but that is
splitting hairs IMO.
The starting is almost invariably done in
queenless conditions AFAIK. Finishing can be done
under various methods.
A colony such as those I illustrate here only has to
finish and hold a few cells. In commercial operations,
maintaining queenless colonies is an unnecessary expense
with no benefit. When producing queens in quantity, we have used various methods of
holding once cells are sealed, including incubators.
I am not disagreeing that large numbers of excellent
cells can be pulled out of good finishers, but I am saying
that this is probably more the exception than the rule since
young bees are expensive and replenishing them properly and
often takes time.
I can testify to what I have seen and I've seen some
pretty runty cells from people who should know better.
Here is an article about raising cells in a
queenright colony. I find it interesting because
in my experience,
bees generally do not raise cells in brood raised up
above an excluder and if they do, the queens do not mate
and lay for whatever reason.
I was observing something like that just today
as I had put some splits above hives and in one the
queen was left below: no cells. In other where the
queen was up, no cells below.
This is a good topic for
the Honey Bee World Forum
course, we sometimes get runty emergency cells, too, about the size
some queen producers consider OK.
Actually, IMO, the main advantage of large cells is the greater
certainty that every one of the batch is well fed. Small cells
are an indicator that conditions were less than ideal.
On any bar, there are some cells and some locations that
are better cared for than others; the cells at the ends of the
bar are often less successful, especially if the weather cools
and a cluster forms at any point during building, finishing or
Some beekeepers candle their cells and it pays off by identifying
dead or small queens.
Here is a good article (PDF).
I got back out and worked through the South of the Hedge Yard.
I found some excellent hives, plus two drone layers. I just
stacked the DL boxes onto other hives and moved on. I am
running out of boxes to put on hives.
Mid-afternoon we had a sheet lightning storm. Heavy rain
lasting a few minutes followed, so I came inside. The clouds
were quite dense and I have to turn on lights, now at 1600.
Darkness in the middle of the day upsets my sense of time.
We are still on storm watch with a tornado warning over a wide
area of Southern Alberta, but no tornado has yet been spotted.
A fair number go through this area, but because it is so sparsely
populated no one notices. That is until recent years when
communication has improved and every little thing gets reported.
Forty years back, or so, when we were making furniture, we
were asked to make a coffee table for a couple who had built a
beautiful new house on their farm, only to have it burn down
They rebuilt the same house in the same spot. We
made the table, and a year after the fire, the new house was taken
away by a tornado. They gave up and moved to town.
You could not make up a story like that.
I've seen rows of bales missing in a field near our beehives.
The field was dotted with hundreds of small square bales in rows
where the baler dropped them. After a storm,
there was an empty swath about 100 feet wide across the entire field
When Jean was little, she heard us talking and became worried
about tomatoes coming out of the sky and taking our house away.
It took a while to figure out what she was talking about.
* * * *
After supper, I counted the hives and as of this afternoon, I've
done 60. 35 or so left to go.
For a list of all the ways
technology has failed to improve the quality of life,
please press three.
July 18th 2014
Click here for current conditions in my back yard
Last night brought us the rain we have been needing to break this
past dry spell. Of course it comes as soon as the farmers cut
the hay and it is lying on the ground.
My lawns were getting brown and I was becoming a bit
concerned. I had delayed cutting until the lawn was longer
than usual, so cutting it had taken off more of the blade than
regular cutting does and recovery was slow. Doing what I
did is very hard on the weeds and taller coarser grasses, but it
is hard on everything.
Some people want a lawn that is perfect and lush. I
just want grass that looks OK and keeps the mud covered up.
In response to an enquiry about comb rotation and a
mention of small cell.
It looks like a fine day for slaying dragons.
To: The Calgary Beekeepers List:
... Two interesting and important topics here, both
associated with beekeeping fads, one based one based on a
hoax and one on misapplication of data from another very
different region and general oversimplification.
> SC-12 (Small cell 2012)
I think by now we all have figured out that small cell is
an utter hoax. If not, see
This researcher did what few others have done: consulted
the original historical documents and clearly revealed the
underlying distortion of fact that was obvious to many of us
from the start, but difficult to prove, lacking access to
the original literature.
That is not to say that smaller cells do not work at all,
but that the story behind the belief that they are better
than more moderately sized cells is simply fiction and SC is
a false religion.
Moreover, in spite of a number of attempts by respected
bee researchers, no one has been able to demonstrate
scientifically that small cells are effective against
There are good reasons that the people who developed
foundation historically chose the standard sizes they did,
and those reasons have not changed -- unless you have AHB.
The main and only reason small cells are associated with
varroa control in Arizona is that Arizona is Africanized,
and AHB naturally use cells in the 4.9 mm range and AHB are
also varroa resistant.
In fact, the measured cell size of swarms was a method of
choice for tracking the AHB migration up from South America
into the USA and small cells in comb in swarm traps was the
first indicator of AHB presence. Still is.
> Eventually found that ongoing expansion made (comb)
rotation moot, so
> stopped marking.
Regardless of what the fad is right now, few commercial
beekeepers in Canada discard combs simply for age. To do so
is simply too costly as drawn comb is a beekeeper's most
important asset, and normal wear and tear and introduction
of new foundation naturally drives out the older combs when
their time comes.
I think that unless you use a lot of toxic strips in your
hives, that there is no reason to rotate out good combs. If
you did use coumaphos, or a lot of strips, or unregistered
treatments, then maybe it is justified.
We get a lot of our ideas from writers in warmer climes
and what works for them often does not work well for us. In
the south, several varroa treatments a year are required,
and chemicals are the norm. New comb can be drawn there at
times of year when we are shoveling snow. We only have a few
months to draw new comb.
As for disease build-up, that fear is overstated in
importance compared to the benefits of having dark comb for
build-up and wintering. As well, from what I can see, the
bees we have these days are quite disease resistant compared
to the ones of decades ago.
Charlie pointed me to this some time back.
One must read it carefully and note this:
"There was some difference based on region. Beekeepers in
northern states who replaced 50% or more of the comb in
their colonies lost on average 17.2 more colonies per
hundred than those who did not replace any of the combs in
their brood chambers. The same comparison was not
significant when only looking at southern states."
Unfortunately, the data behind this study is not very high
quality, and details are not well defined, but it confirms
what anyone who makes a living with bees knows. Drawn comb
is very valuable and one does not discard it with impunity,
especially in an expanding bee operation.
A lie can travel halfway around the
while the truth is still putting on its shoes
At 0825, it is up to sixteen degrees. I've been for a
bike ride already and now am off to finish this round.
At this time of year a weekly round is a good idea, especially if
a great deal of foundation is being drawn. When foundation is
all that the bees have, the hives can get plugged. Nectar is
put in brood cells, cutting back the brood rearing. Reduced brood
rearing results in less growth, smaller populations and can be the
cause of small crops and poor wintering.
Plugged hives require loosening (spreading of brood) to provide
room for the queen.
Any supers must be removed and the brood combs examined.
A hive being given ten frames or more of foundation
should only have one super of foundation on top of the one
or two brood chambers. Adding more than a box at a time
wastes heat and results in partially drawn combs.
When that first box of foundation is almost finished
and the outside frames are filling, another box of
foundation can be added, preferably under the nearly
finished box, assuming the first box is not removed for
If the brood chamber is plugged (brood cells full of
nectar) at this time of the season--during a steady flow and when
foundation is being drawn well in the supers -- a sheet or two of
foundation from the supers (partially drawn is best) can be
placed judiciously between frames of brood in the brood
The frames of young brood removed to make space for them
can replace them in the middle of the super. If the timing
is right and the beekeeper's judgment is good, the foundation
will be drawn overnight and filled with eggs. The brood
above will encourage the bees to work the foundation nearby.
All this assumes that there are sufficient bees to fill
the hive. Otherwise, as at any time of year, brood could
be chilled if a cold night comes along before the bees expand
more. If in doubt, don't spread brood, or only spread a
Although hives with boxes of foundation require manipulation for
best performance, hives with many boxes of empty drawn comb which
have not been plugged at any point can be ignored much longer.
With drawn comb and lots of room -- six standards of drawn comb, a
beekeeper can leave the hive in June and come back in early
September to pull honey.
> I didn’t hear from you, but now I’m wondering if you meant
for me to call you.
> I’ll try to call you today, if that’s okay.
Sorry about that. You have been on my mind, but I have
been engrossed in organizing the memorial of Ellen's death
that is coming up fast.
The bees are no problem, but figuring the money is always
hard. (I hate that part).
Basically, assuming you want the
EPS boxes I use and which do not need winter wrapping or
unwrapping the prices work out thusly at my cost:
Each super or
Brood chamber with drawn frames: $50
foundation frames: $45
estimated weight: $2.00/lb
bees with queen: $200
So, a typical hive with four boxes and 75 lbs of honey
I have quite a few like that on hand.
If you would like a smaller hive, the only difference
would be the weight of feed and number of boxes.
I can also supply in wood boxes with older wood floors
and lids for a lesser cost, but do not recommend it.
My Acorn frames are at the Three Hills Post
Office. They arrived yesterday. Should I drive up and
get them? It would cost me an hour.
I decided to continue working with the
hives. Once I am done this round, I should be able to ignore
the hives for a few weeks, although I will probably lift lids to check
the strongest ones and maybe pull a little honey to make room.
I'm finding enough boxes and comb to get by. I have about ten
hives to go.
I have to remember to keep back an
empty box, comb or foundation, for every box of honey I plan to
remove to take the place of the honey while it is being
That means I should have 50 boxes
waiting. Foundation is fine for that because once the bees
have been up in a third or fourth box, they will rush back up
into a replacement if the original third or fourth is removed
and replaced with any box at all.
I'm enjoying the bees and life again.
I had a few rough days when I was beginning to think I was going
crazy. Working on the memorial has been hard on me. At
the time Ellen died last August, a memorial seemed like a good idea,
but having one has put pressure on me, limited my summer options,
and has brought all sorts of memories front and centre again. As I
have said before, the secret of my happiness is my short memory.
I realise now that recently I
automatically volunteered to hang a big art show for September
when the opportunity popped up due to a cancellation.
means I have to be here around August 31st to hang it. I don't even like art
that much, although I have been involved with art and artists
all my adult life. This show is something others think I should do and I
am going along.
I have to learn to stop volunteering.
Oh! But I just volunteered to run the Bluewater Cruising
Association Thanksgiving Rendezvous.
That's different, though. I forces me
to be where I want to be on that date --at Thetis Island on
Cassiopeia, spending time with other sailors.
I also found that lately I am doing better
without CPAP. At first it really helped, but now it does not
Go figure. My AHI was 10.5 when they
did the sleep study and it dropped to 5 with the first machine.
The current one was showing zeros some nights and < 0.5 other
nights, and any apneas were centrals, not obstructive. CPAP
helps with obstructive apneas, but can actually cause or exacerbate
The night before last, I slept very poorly with
the CPAP and awoke with sore and red eyes, I assume due to air
leaks. That worried me a lot considering my recent eye
Also, Googling CPAP and glaucoma gave me
pause. CPAP is implicated circumstantially in glaucoma, in
that CPAP apparently raise nighttime intraocular Pressures (IOP).
Hmmmm. My recent operation was to reduce IOP to forestall
glaucoma. My glaucoma specialist never asked me about
Last night I went to bed early and slept
without CPAP. I awoke early and refreshed. Now I don't
know what to think.
I have decided I need to do some aerobic
exercise to build my lungs. Hence the bike ride. The
seat was down when I got on this morning and I realise that I have
not used the bike since Katrina was here in early June.
(I have déjà vu when reading the
above. Did I make this resolution before?)
BTW, my recent lung test came back OK, but my
capacity seems to be 75-95% of expected, and apparently I have a
little asthma, but not enough to justify an inhaler unless I want
I wonder if it would help me sleep? Congestion is
the problem, but as far as I can tell it is because my breathing
slows at night and becomes shallower, As soon as I get up and
move around, it clears.
I'm thinking I just need to learn how
to breathe properly and remember to do so. I have been
very tense lately and tenseness leads to shallow breathing and
shallow breathing leads to tenseness.
"Take a deep breath"
* * *
* * *
INFORMAL , chiefly US - bitter contest or confrontation)
I can't wait any longer. I'm going to
town to pick up the Acorn frames.
I picked them up in town, then came home and
had supper. Nick wrote a minute ago to make sure I got them.
I've opened the box and looked them over. Nick sent twenty black and
five white brood/honey frames plus one green drone frame.
These are all standard depth frames.
As far as I can see there is almost no
difference between Acorn and Pierco, They both have slight warping on the
foundation surface. I have a limited number of samples in
front of me but have seen variation in the warping of Pierco and
assume the same of Acorn.
The Acorn frames have a slightly heavier top
bar, but one has to really look to notice it.
The main difference I can see is that the
Acorn frames have cell
hexagonal bases with a thicker plastic sidewall stub than
Pierco frames, so I will have to test to see if the bees
care about that.
In heavy wax foundation, thick base walls are
made of wax and the bees use it to extend the walls on up, thinning
the base of the walls as they use the material.
In fact with
some heavy wax brood foundation, they can draw the combs out 1/3 way
without making any wax themselves.
With plastic, they cannot
so so. They can use the wax on the surface, but not use the
plastic in the cell bases.
I'll just have to see what happens and if it
These frames are well waxed as are the
Piercos I have on hand.
There is a noticeable difference in
how the wax is applied to the two products. The Pierco wax
seems to be applied at hotter temperatures and adheres like a
coat of paint. The Acorn wax appears to have been applied
at a cooler temperature and seems to be clumped.
that matters, but it will be interesting to examine the sheets a
day or two after the bees begin to work on them.
I'm planning to put some into hives tonight,
but I am hearing thunder at the moment.
* * *
(Later) I've changed my mind. I'm done
for the day.
I re-photographed he foundations
again. (larger pictures above). I also checked under the
microscope and frankly, those two pictures shot with my phone
are about as clear as looking down the scope.
There is a big difference in the cell bases.
The Pierco walls are very thin and taper up to a knife-edge.
The Acorn walls are at least three times as thick and maybe thicker,
and appear to be rounded on top.
I'd say the Pierco is more in line with the
shape a cross section of the cell wall will be when the wax is
pulled up. The Acorn base looks like the fat base employed in
wax heavy brood foundation, where extra wax in the wall bases is
pulled (drawn) upwards by the bees reducing the wax in thickness on
the foundation at the base, as they drew it up. They cannot
draw plastic bases up and and thin them like wax.
Will the base shape matter to the bees?
I doubt it. We should know soon.
(It turns out that it doesn't
matter, and actually, it seems taht the Acorn shape is more
"natural". See later posts)
The average Ph.D. thesis is
nothing but a transference
of bones from one graveyard to another.
J. Frank Dobie
July 19th 2014
Today, 19 July:
Mainly cloudy. 30 percent chance of showers this afternoon with risk
of thunderstorms. Hazy. High 25. UV index 7 or high..
Click here for current conditions in my back yard
The next few days look like great honeyflow weather.
Although rain can wash the nectar from flowers, changes in
barometric pressure and warm, humid conditions should stimulate
flows. As long as winds are light, bees should be bringing big
After the rains, though, I'm seeing some robbing off the truck...
I'm wondering how best to test the Acorn frames.
I'm thinking to shake a good hive down to one brood
chamber and put a box of foundation on top. One half would be
Pierco, the other half Acorn.
That should give me an answer within a week or two.
We are on the main flow now, so this test will only show what
happens under optimal foundation drawing conditions. Another test
may be required to determine what happens when conditions are more
I may do two hives and in one put the two brands in separate
groups of five and do another with the two brands alternating across
I should find some undrawn PF-100s to examine the cell bases.
I cannot use them in a horse race, though. Any un-drawn PF-100s I have
are years old and un-waxed.
Even with new Pierco and new Acorn, there are slight
differences in their history that could conceivably affect the
results of a test. The Piercos were manufactured and
shipped some weeks or months ago, then placed into new EPS
supers a week ago. Since then they sat outdoors and have
been rained on (note the water in the picture). The Acorn
frames were shipped direct and arrived yesterday.
I've been waiting for the dew to dissipate and the sun to come
out. If I am going to shake bees out, I like to make sure the
ground will be warm and dry. Maybe I should use a sheet.
That is the recommended method, but I have never done that. A
sheet is one more thing to haul around, but I can see how it would
help marshal the bees into the hive much more quickly than when they
must climb up the pallet or a ramp made of a cover or floor.
At 0930, the conditions are looking more suitable and I'm eager
to get out there to start the test.
I took a closer look at the frames in daylight. One thing
that becomes apparent is that the edges of the Pierco frames are
smoother and more rounded. These Acorn frames have sharper edges,
but not as sharp as the Mann Lake PF-100 frames and the old Pierco frames. That is
something I very much appreciated in the recent improvements in
People complain about the feel of plastic frames and IMO,
much of that is due to the hard, sharp edges. Rounded
edges feel much more natural to me. The other complaint is
about flex, but I actually like a bit of flex as it feels
natural to me.
Another obvious difference is that Acorn does not have the line
down the middle of the foundation. Additionally, there is no
brand on one end of the top bar. This may prove to be a
problem for me since I have taken to turning all the Piercos the
same way and I use that brand as a marker to tell me which way the
I have not proven that all the Piercos are warped in the same
direction, but that is my impression. I need to verify this
with more careful observation.
Since the foundation bows out about a 3/16" in the
middle of the surface, that means if two bowed surfaces face
one another, the distance between midribs on those frames is
less than 1-3/8" by 3/8", reducing the spacing by
3/16+3/16" to 1" -- a much closer spacing than intended.
In the opposite case, the distance is increased by
3/16+3/16" to 1-3/4" -- wider than intended.
People who shave frame shoulders to fit eleven frames into
a ten frame box only need to reduce the frame with by 1/8".
One standard Hoffman end bar frame is 1-3/8" wide. 1/10 of
that is about 1/8". These frames are bowed by about 3/16",
an amount greater than 1/8.
Close spacing requires very flat combs or if combs are
bowed, there is not enough space for brood on both combs
when the bowed sides face one another.
result is bald spots on frames when 10-frame (or 1frame) spacing is
used. With 9-frame spacing, there is no issue, but the
ideal is to use ten frames in a brood chamber..
When I went out, I found a Mann lake PF-100 that has not been
drawn. It has been kicking around for three years or more, but
here is a shot of the cells. Keep in mind that these cells are
5.0 mm compared to The others at 5.25 mm.
Mann Lake PF-100
PF-100s and Acorn both have fat cell bases. Pierco has a
sharp wall base. Does this difference matter?
I did get out finally at 1130 and spent two hours setting up the
foundation trials. This slower than just doing the everyday bee
The first hive was a triple that was working well in the third.
That third contained all Pierco foundation, so this seems like a
natural, although there is the possibility these bees may have
developed a preference now and could discriminate against Acorn for
being a bit different. We'll see. I shook the hive down to a
single and added a box with half Pierco and half Acorn.
At right are the combs from the box of foundation (third)
I removed from that hive (along with a box full of brood honey
combs) to be replaced with the box of test foundation.
These are not the test combs.
Frames are laid out so that the two middle frames are near
us and the side combs are laid out progressively into the
Note: the brown wax frame was a partially drawn seed frame
I had placed in the middle of a box of foundation to bring bees
Also note that the frames were not drawn equally on both sides of
the hive, so our test cannot expect to prove anything decisive.
We will only see if both foundations are accepted. Some
difference is to be expected solely due to chance or position of the
brood below. Since the bees from three boxes are now in two,
they should get to work quickly.
have always listened to radio while working bees, but lately
have not had a vehicle nearby with a good radio, so Finally
smartened up and put six flashlight batteries into an old
boombox that was in the studio and I am back in business.
I find listening to CBC talk shows keeps my mind occupied while
doing instinctive work.
Unfortunately, CBC's budget is being cut and they are
repeating many of their shows several times a day. I could
use the podcasts, but find them inconvenient and don't have the
right devices to make it work better.
other two tests were on hives like the one at left here: they were
finishing a third and ready for a fourth.
One got half Pierco/half Acorn. The other got the rainbow
mix shown below.
I'll be interested to see the results. I'm assuming that
there will not be a lot of difference.
I laid out the partially drawn foundation, i answered a question
people often ask.
"Does painting or dipping wax onto foundation make a
difference in how the foundation is drawn and and how much wax
should I use?"
what I see, I conclude that wax makes a definite difference,
but that adding too much results in wax being left on the midrib.
handled both Pierco and Acorn, I have to say they are hard to tell
apart. Some older Pierco had no stamp on the top bar, but the
recent ones do. I like that and do not know why Acorn left it
off as it makes a convenient method of knowing which way the
frame is rotated. In fact, the acorn has a depression where
the stamp should go (left), but it is hard to see.
I went out mid-afternoon to work in the Quonset Yard. Somehow I
thought I had another ten to do, but ss it turns out, I am caught up
with the bees now.
I went there, though, curiosity got the best of me and although only
two hours have passed, I checked the first hive I broke down to a
single to add foundation. Amazingly, there are already
signs of work. Not much yet, but something I can see.
Anyhow, being caught up gives me time to clean up and
organize. I can see I have enough boxes to last a while, but
could work through an pull honey any time I feel like it.
I think I'll wait a week and give the bees time to recover from
my current molestations. Other than checking for the need for
more boxes, there is little beekeeping to do.
I called Mom and said I would not be down until August,
She understood, having seen he notice for the memorial, she
realizes I'll be busy.
I tidied in the Quonset yard and cut some grass. There is
still lots left to do and I have yet to deal with the forklift, the
tin that came off the shed and the tarp problems on the Quonset.
got to wondering if cell bottom shape really matters, so I Googled
honeycomb cross-section. I'm surprised that only a few picture
came up, so I sliced an old brood comb that has raised many
generations of bees. I used a hot box knife, but still did a
messy job. Nonetheless, the cell bases are distinct.
My conclusion? Bees don't care much about cell shape.
Here was the best online photo I found:
We had a tornado watch again tonight. The wind picked up
from the NNW and was followed by marble-sized hail.
I'm taking all my pictures with my Nexus 4 cell phone now.
It does a dandy job. I have a camera with more features, but
I'm finding the phone is good enough for my purposes.
With ordinary talent and
extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable.
Thomas Foxwell Buxton