Wednesday May 20th 2015
Yesterday, I was out with the bees by 0900, but today, I was still in bed at nine.
Today will be warm and breezy again. The wind is whistling around my doors and windows and knocking the birdfeeder against the house. At noon, I am still in my housecoat, at the computer, dealing with various small matters.
I'm expecting more queens today for the splits I made. Using mated queens represents a 180 degree turn from my original plans, but the opportunity presented itself and mated queens, if they continue to be well accepted, ensure a faster buildup. I'm taking thirty today since these are the last shipment. That is more than I have homes for, but I have these little nucs I bought and will put five of the extras in them.
At this point, I have no idea how many hives I have. For all my diary writing, I am a terrible record keeper. I'm guessing about one hundred and ten, including queenless splits. I'll have about one hundred and twenty at the end of this round. I called Ray and ordered another 50 lids and floors. I'll need them.
Now that I have finished my procrastination, I'll head outdoors to work through the rest of the hives. The remaining hives are south of the Quonset and the wind is from the south at 18, gusting to well over 20 MPH.
I'm thinking that I'll put some screened bottoms and drop boards under hives today. I need to monitor mites and I hate doing shakes -- even sugar shakes.
I never did get around to doing any shakes. I checked queens and made more splits. At 1830, Joe dropped by on the way home and dropped off thirty queens. I've been working all afternoon, with only short breaks, so am wondering how many I should put in tonight. I still have two hours. Tomorrow, I have to be in Calgary at noon to have the trailer hitch installed and home for supper with the Usual Suspects at 1800.
I saw red ants again and gave them more bait. Somehow pictures never seem to show how many there really are. I took lots of pictures and could never catch more than a few of the many ants on the hive.
I'm tired, but I am going back out. Thirty queens represents a lot of work by a lot of people and a lot of money, plus a lot of potential. It would be a shame to waste any of that by delaying. If I don't start tonight, some will will be sitting a while. I do not have not have much time tomorrow.
I went back out at 1900 and worked until 2030. In
that time I put in I
I brought the queen back into the house and figure I will try the method that Joe mentioned today. Instead of candy, beekeepers are covering the tunnel with masking tape and making a single tiny pinhole.
Apparently that methods works well and I can see why it is superior to having the bees eat candy since they eat the candy quickly if there is no flow and the split is large, but slowly if there is a flow or the nuc is small.
That is the opposite of what we want. We don't want fast release during a dearth because bees are cranky during a dearth and will reject new queens, but will accept anything during a heavy flow.
Chewing tape is more like chewing a queen out of a cell and more independent of flow conditions. That is the logic anyhow, but I am always leery of applying logic to assumptions. When we apply logic to assumptions or guesses, we still have assumptions or guesses. Until such projections are proven, they are just that, unproven assumptions or guesses. A lot of people don't seem to realise that.
The proof is in the pudding, whatever that means.
Another good day.
The best liar is he who makes the smallest amount of
lying go the longest way.
Thursday May 21st 2015
Today, I have an appointment in Calgary at noon to install the trailer hitch. Last time, the installer sheared off a bolt and it became obvious that I would miss my flight to Victoria if I waited to finish, so we rescheduled.
* * * * *
It's 2057 now, I'm home and it has been quite a day. I got to Calgary on time, but managed to get a speeding ticket along the way. I diverted into Airdrie for a burger and there is a ramp that should be posted at 70, but is posted at 50. The police sit there waiting. It is a classic cash cow radar trap, right out of the fifties movies about the southern US. I knew that, but had a lapse.
Anyhow, when I got to U-Haul, they had just sold the last of my model hitch. Could I come back?
"Well", I said, "I just drove seventy-five miles to get here." I did not mention the ticket.
She said they would get one somewhere if I don't mind waiting. Last night, I watched The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared so I was in a 'que sera, sera' mood and just went with the flow. It was a good chance read email and walk around the block.
Maddy phoned and everyone at The Mill, except her, was ill with a stomach bug, so supper was off. That meant I didn't have to rush.
Two and a half hours later, the hitch was mounted and Zippy and I were homeward bound. I stopped for groceries in Airdrie at Wal-Mart.
When I stopped, I noticed the engine smelled hot and that the 'check engine' light was on, so I decided to check the oil. I pulled the dipstick and the finger loop came, but the dipstick remained in the engine. I could see that it will take a puller of some sort to retrieve it and a new dipstick will be needed. The oil light was not on, so I quit worrying for the time being.
In Wal-Mart, I bought an OBD II reader to read and reset the code. I already have one somewhere, but where? Is it just a coincidence that U-Haul had my van on a hoist only an hour before?
Not good. Splits should not be too strong if we want queens to be accepted well.
I see the robbing is minimal now, so we must have a bit of a flow. The bees hanging out is another sign. Although the dandelions look finished, the apple trees are in full bloom. I also see I have a skunk. I already knew that. I just wonder how many.
First, before anything, I checked the queens installed yesterday in the strong splits while adding a box to them. The candy was completely gone and the queens set free -- in less than 24 hours (right cage, image right) . I had left all the candy and not punched a hole, but it was gone. Not good.
The masking tape idea looks better and better in light of this, so I went to work. I had used the green premium tape, but decided to use ordinary tape since it is thinner. I found a roll and, as always, had to take several turns off before I found any tape that would stick. The glue seems to evaporate or harden on the outside layers over time when exposed to light and air.
I finished the North Yard and quit for the day.
It is difficult to get a man to
understand something when his
Friday May 22nd 2015
Today Sunny. High 26. UV index 6 or high. Tonight Clear. Low 7.
Today, I plan to find homes for more queens and finish the splitting. I'll also try to extract the Chrysler van dipstick and find out why the MIL is on. Before I install more queens, I'll check to see how the masking tape is working. Mike and Liz are coming for supper, too.
The forecast is for warm days and nights for the next week, with light winds and maximum wind gusts of twenty MPH.
How to light a smoker in less than a minute and have it smoke all day.
The pinhole idea does not work, at least for me. I could see no signs that the bees had discovered the hole in the queen cages installed last night. I called Joe and he said that after two days some queens they installed with pinholes were untouched, but on other cages, after four days all the tape was gone.
I made the hole bigger, with the same drywall screw I used to deal with the cork and candy.
I checked splits and made two more by 1400. Then I had a nap.
Mike was coming at 1830 for supper and to take some splits I promised him a long time ago, so I went out and did a few odds and ends and put in all except the last five queens.
I noticed that some splits were still hanging out, so I pulled the other (rear) plug in the brood boxes to double the ventilation. (I have a hole front and back so the boxes can be turned either way and plug the back one usually).
I am not worried about combs melting or brood being cooked; there are simply too many bees in some splits. Tomorrow, if there are still clusters outside, I'll collect the bees hanging out -- they are mostly young bees -- and add them to weaker hives.
I also found time to connect the OBD II device and read some codes from the van's onboard computers, but the results are cryptic and I see that this is not a simple matter, but will take a few hours of study at minimum.
Liz couldn't make it, but Mike arrived at 1830 and we grilled steaks, then went out and found five smaller hives to make him some singles. We were going to exchange frames, but one glance told me that would not be a good idea. I keep looking for AFB and never see any in my outfit, but it is still around.
We made up five decent splits for him and he left with them around sundown.
I'm about finished this round of splits, so now I need to look things over, count what I have, and leave the bees alone for a while to build up. I'm thinking I'll go see Mom. I should repair my buildings and do yard work, but life is short.
While Mike and I were making splits, I heard a shotgun blast, then another again a while later, and smelled skunk. I imagine that is the end of my skunk problem. So far this skunk was not bothering hives, but come fall, that would be a problem. Problems could come sooner, too, with bees hanging out on doorsteps, making a tempting meal for a skunk for a taste for something tangy.
Any guy that's not working with the
same amount of intensity
Saturday May 23rd 2015
Today Sunny. High 26. UV index 6 or high. Tonight Clear. Low 8.
Same forecast as yesterday. This is perfect bee weather: warm, but not hot, with warm, nights. There are no big winds in the nearby forecast right now, but we will need rain again soon, after the drying winds we had recently.
I woke up at 0440. I could hear a train coming and it seemed louder than trains have been lately. I was not sleeping, but not really awake, and dreaming a bit. I computed I'd had only about five hours of sleep, maybe six. I got up anyhow, with the intent of returning to bed in a while.
Today, I'll put in the last queens, tidy and catch up on things, and think what else needs doing immediately. I should leave the bees alone for a while, with the exception of a few hives in the Quonset yard.
I managed to pull out the dipstick and called a dealer to see about a replacement. $25! For a strip of metal. Wreckers, here I come.
I then installed the remaining queens into the hives I split last night and decided to check the rest of the splits and make a count. I began with the South of the Hedge group. I was curious to see how the queens were being released and if they had enough space. Some have four or five solid frames of sealed brood and they could double by the time I get back to them if I will be leaving them alone for ten days, as I tentatively plan.
As it turned out, some did need more room, so I made up second brood boxes off the truck. I also looked to see how the masking tape is working out.
Above, we see one just about chewed out and one from which the queen was released. It appears that a pinhole is too small, and a screw hole is too large. I wonder how much the colony's experience chewing out the paper from patties affects their performance in chewing this paper tape.
Elijah was here all afternoon, working on the gardens. I mowed the south lawn and got things ready for the BBQ. Fen and the gang came over at six for hamburgers and hamburger soup and we had a fun time. We ended the evening with everyone taking turns flying my AR.Drone. More.
Simplicity is the ultimate
Sunday May 24th 2015
The wind is coming back, but the days and nights continue warm.
I was tired today, so I stayed in and did books and filing. The files pile up and need to be boxed and put away from time to time.
In the evening, I went out and made some more splits, this time without queens.
I see the caraganas are now blooming and I also see that some hives are getting too heavy. Some were so full of honey that I had to spread brood and that is hard when I have so may brood combs and too few light ones handy. With any luck, this flow will taper down to just enough to stimulate without plugging the brood chambers further.
After I came in, at about 2100, I decided to go back out to walk around and count hives. I started at the North Yard, and came upon a skunk cleaning up dead bees in front of hives, then went to the Quonset Yard where I found another skunk doing the same. They looked at me when I spoke and ran away. I kinda like them, but I know they multiply like rabbits and will become a nuisance later. For now, though, I'll do nothing.
At this point, I count 48 splits and 62 hives, including the ones Mike took last night. The total is 110 and that is about what I estimated I would have. I can always count ion attrition due to failed queens or failed introductions, so that number will drop by ten in a week or two. Some will need to be shaken out, but there will be more hives needing to be split next week. I'm guessing that I may have a swarm in the next week or two as well.
It is scary to realise you donít
know what is going on.
Monday May 25th 2015
We have the same forecast as yesterday. Other than the wind, these conditions are ideal for build-up. Nighttime temperatures are one of the main limiting factors. and when nights get this warm, even small colonies can cover a lot of brood. Ambient daytime and nighttime temperatures are one of the biggest difference between southern and northern beekeeping, and a difference that is seldom acknowledged or properly understood.
I woke up around 0500, rolled over and slept a bit, got up, wrote the above paragraphs, had breakfast, and went back and slept a bit more.
Then I got up again around 0730, reserved a flight to Sudbury, packed, checked in online, dropped Zip at The Mill, and drove to Airdrie. Mike drove me to YYC and Bill picked me up at YSB at a little after 2000 hours, and drove me to 1207 where we chatted with Mom until 2100.
Tonight I sleep in my childhood home.
If you can't explain it to a six
year old, you don't understand it yourself.
Tuesday May 26th 2015
It's raining in Sudbury this morning. I'm visiting Mom and resting up.
After lunch, we went grocery shopping, then I had a nap. We had supper at 1730 and now, at 1840, I am headed over to Bill's.
You never have to change anything
you got up in the middle of the night to write.
Wednesday May 27th 2015
I was up at 0700 and took out the garbage. So far the day is overcast and cool, but the day will be warm and pleasant for the most part.
I see we can never really trust the weather-guessers. At home, the forecast now suggests we will see nights as low as plus three Celsius.
Here, I am wondering if I should rig my boat and launch while I am here. The problem is that if I unwrap it, it will get dirty while I am away at home again. The trees in the yard shed everything from needles to leaves flowers, and pollen, all of which mark the white surface and make work for me.
Will I work on the boat? I have not decided. I'm tired this morning and may nap the day away.
I had a nap in the morning, had lunch and another nap, then went shopping for a pressure washer to clean the boat.
When I came in January, I had found the pressure washer in the garage and not put away as I expected, so I assume it had frozen. I did not like it much anyhow.
I got home in time for supper and unpacked the washer, plus put up a post in the garage, then decided to quit for the day. The evening was growing colder, with gusty winds.
A long habit of not thinking a thing
wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right,
Thursday May 28th 2015
I woke up at 0930. That was a surprise. I have been sleeping a lot, but sleeping ten hours in one night is not something I do often.
I see that they now expect tonight to be warmer at home (five instead of three degrees C.) than they previously expected. That is a good thing for my bees.
After lunch, I went out and unwrapped Carpe Diem, took the blocks from under the trailer axles and pulled the boat out onto the drive to wash her down. Surprisingly, after almost two years under wraps, she is pretty clean. I almost did not need to buy the new pressure washer.
Then, I took an item back to the store for Mom and went to Bill's to borrow his ODB II dongle to check my van for error codes.
This dongle works through a Bluetooth connection to software in a smartphone. I ordered one online to arrive at home, but want to check this van before I go home.
I am not sure if it will work completely with this 1998 van, but it does give some data and checked for error codes. There were none.
It has been more profitable for us
to bind together in the wrong direction than to be alone in the right
Friday May 29th 2015
After sleeping ten hours Wednesday night, I think I slept three or four last night, and I am not tired. Go figure.
Mom wants to go to the greenhouse today to get planters. I want to go sailing. Maybe I can do both.
At home, the temperature did get down to three degrees Celsius, with a 6 MPH wind. Bummer!
In the morning, I began washing the boat and loading things back on board.
Before noon, Mom and I went to the garden centre to get her some planters for her patio, then we went for lunch.
After, I had a nap and then finished the boat and measured the sails since I am considering ordering new sails. That took up the afternoon and into the evening. It started to rain and I decided to go to Canadian Tire for a new gas tank for the outboard. The existing tank leaks when it gets warm, and the fumes and oil that escaped during storage are partly the reason the boat is hard to wash. Although the boat was cleaner than expected, some spots were especially dirty, near where the gas tank was sitting.
The new tank is far heavier, with an automatic vent, and looks designed to allow air in, but to resist releasing vapour, so maybe it will not vent like the old one.
Change your thoughts and you change
Saturday May 30th 2015
I slept eight hours and awoke to a rainy morning. I have dreams of going sailing today, but the weather is not the best.
This lake tends to be gusty, even on a good day. Gusty winds are not fun for sailing.
I caught up at the desk this morning and got back to work on putting things back into my boat. It is a bit of a job and I need to find a way to not need to do this every year.
I went to bed at 2300 and woke a while later. My phone was flashing, so I checked and Medhat had replied to a question about exotic mites raised in the forum. I stayed up a while, then went back to bed and slept.
Never let your sense of morals get
in the way of doing what's right.
I surfaced from a dream and wondered what time it was. 4:23, I thought, no, maybe 4:24 by now. I rolled over and lifted my head to see the clock. 4:24 it read. What is with that anyhow? The mind is an amazing thing.
I lay there a few minutes, and in that time my mind got active. I realized that I was not going back to sleep, so I got up, had breakfast and coffee and went back to bed. Four and a half hours is not enough sleep
That did not work out. I'm awake and the day looks clear and ideal for a sail.
I still have not splashed the boat and I have a few more things to do to get ready before I am ready to go. I've lost a pin from one of the shackles, and need to load and attach lines and various other items.
* * * *
By 1400, I was ready to go and hauled the boat across town to the ramp where I spent another two hours finishing the setup. The mast has to be raised and sails attached, etc. on-site since it is thirty feet tall.
The launch went off perfectly, the engine started, and soon I was sailing. The boat seemed to be a bit tender as I tacked upwind back to Mom's. It was not until I docked that the next-door neighbour that I realised that I had forgotten to fill the ballast tank.
I tied up, had supper, then Mom drove me back over to get the van and trailer. BY 2000, I was beat and called it a day.
If you feel like there's something
out there that you're supposed to be doing,
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