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October 2016

 

 

 

 

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Background Image: The leaves have turned and dropped. The days are cooler. Fall is here.

 

Saturday October 1st 2016

Today Cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers. Risk of a thunderstorm early this morning. High 16.
Tonight Clearing late this evening. Low plus 3.

Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

Today day is cool and dull again.  Fall is here. 

Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves.
Dorothy Parker

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Sunday October 2nd 2016

Today Sunny. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud this morning. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h this afternoon. High 15. UV index 3 or moderate.
Tonight A few clouds. Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low zero with patchy frost.

Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

Today looks brighter. I spent the morning trying to figure out what is the reason for the increasingly obvious declining ability of Apivar to control varroa as well as it did when we first began using it in Alberta less than a decade ago.

Back then, Apivar was a silver bullet.  Now, we are seeing hives with high levels even after the exact same Apivar treatments that resulted in zero levels in alcohol washes we did on entire bee yards years ago.

A zero result in a 300-bee alcohol wash does not mean zero mites in the hive, but suggests probable actual varroa levels well below 1%. (One mite in 300 bees would suggest 0.3% or ~100 mites in 30,000 bees).

 What is happening?

It is expected that over time, the efficacy of any single varroa treatment will decline as the pest adapts to the poison, especially if the treatment exploits a single, fairly simple metabolic mechanism in the pest, so we can assume that the pest is adapting to Apivar.

I asked Medhat if Apivar is failing and he reported as follows:

"... we have finished back to back 3 test for suspected Apivar resistance. All results shows over 90% efficacy using Pettis test.

"What we are seeing is Beekeepers placed strips in the top box that is full of honey and sugar syrup. However bees and mites are happy in the bottom box.

I don't know what the efficacy in the Pettis test (a quick test for mite susceptibility) was five or ten years ago, but I got to thinking and realised that even a decline of a few percent in efficacy of a highly effective control can make a huge difference.  If it was typically 98% at one time, a decline to 90% would have a huge effect over a few seasons.

At 98% efficacy, mite levels decline over the seasons. At 95% efficacy, one treatment a year holds levels steady. At 94% and less, the levels increase over time with only one treatment a year. Although this is a very simple model with many flaws, and a long essay could be written about the various factors which will determine actual real-world results,  it isolates this one factor sufficiently that we can see how seemingly tiny efficacy declines can mean failure of a formerly successful treatment regime.


With Apivar losing efficacy and Apistan not yet having recovered full efficacy, and with the various other controls for varroa being expensive, temperature-dependant,  inconsistent. and/or damaging to bees and brood, oxalic acid seems to be the most promising and reliable option these days -- IMO -- when used properly and results monitored.

Oxalic is cheap and effective, and unlikely to lose its effectiveness over time IMO.

Which method of application gives best efficacy, most consistent results, and does the least damage, however?  This article seems to be a worthy attempt to answer a question we all have been pondering:

Towards integrated control of varroa: 2)comparing application methods and doses of oxalic acid on the mortality of phoretic Varroa destructor mites and their honey bee hosts

I am reproducing charts from the study below, simply as a teaser.  Be sure to read the study in its entirety. It is well-written and an easy read. You'll be glad you do.

Using oxalic has a learning curve, and some safety issues (what doesn't?), but the small additional costs in time and labour over chemical strips are repaid many times over in cost savings.

Also, we have the assurance that -- unlike the synthetics in Apivar and Apistan or the harsh spices in other accepted treatments -- oxalic acid, albeit in small amounts, is actually part of a typical daily human diet.

We must never forget, however that oxalic acid powder when in contact with water (on skin, in eyes...) is very corrosive and must be treated with respect and a prudent beekeeper keeps fresh water and baking soda at hand to neutralize accidental contact.
 

Towards integrated control of varroa: 2)comparing application methods and doses of oxalic acid on the mortality of phoretic Varroa destructor mites and their honey bee hosts

 

After a day at the desk, I was feeling poorly in the afternoon and wondered if my heart was giving me issues. I considered going to town to have it checked out, but decided that doing so is a huge hassle and to see what developed. Other than feeling poorly and having a few pains that came and went, nothing developed, so I went for a one-mile walk. I figured if I have issues that should make them obvious, but the walk went normally and maybe I am just suffering from sitting and lack of exercise.

I have a left shoulder that acts up sometimes from a skiing fall years ago and when it acts up, I wonder if it is the shoulder or my heart.

Grown-ups never understand anything for themselves,
and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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Monday October 3rd 2016

Today Mainly sunny. High 16. UV index 3 or moderate.
Tonight A few clouds. Increasing cloudiness before morning. Low plus 1.

Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I woke up early today and finished yesterday's project and finished that entry.

The spreadsheet imaged below is very important IMO for understanding why beekeepers across Alberta are finding that Apivar is not providing the control we have come to expect.

Another question: does efficacy in a hive vary somewhat depending on the total mite load, or is it the same whether the hive has a 1% or a 20% infestation?

I did some more deskwork and filing.  I'm almost done. I also finished the registration form for the rendezvous and sent it to Staples to print 70 copies.  I'll pick them up tomorrow on the way to the meeting.

I felt crappy all morning and into the afternoon, so after I did all that, I decided to go to Drum to get a few things and get out of the house. I needed a few things like oil filters and the light bulbs for my van.

The van and car both need an oil change. I don't go by miles or time, but look at the oil and evaluate its condition and both look due.  I priced and oil change in town and it costs $65.  If I do it, the oil costs $16 and the filter, $9. So I save $40 by spending twenty minutes and I'd spend twenty minutes at least waiting in an oil change shop anyhow.  That's $120/hour, tax-free for crawling under the cars.

A few hours later, I returned home feeling much better.

After supper of fruit -- grapes and strawberries -- I watched two episodes of Longmire and went to bed. I have now run out the entire Longmire series.

Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons.
R. Buckminster Fuller

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Tuesday October 4th 2016

Today Mainly cloudy. Wind becoming north 20 km/h this afternoon. High 10. UV index 3 or moderate.
Tonight Cloudy. 30 percent chance of flurries or rain showers overnight. Wind north 20 km/h. Low plus 1.

Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

I have lots to do today. Oil change, shovel coal and ashes, housework, water plants, packing... and the Bluewater Cruising Association meeting tonight.

I changed the oil in the Marquis and the bee truck, but found the van was still okay for a while.  I notice the van's gas tank is completely empty now, so am wondering is the tank leaks.  I thought I had a quarter tank the other day.

Maybe not.  I went out and checked the odometer and then my record of the last fill and that was 634 km (396 miles) ago. A typical vehicle has a tank designed to go 400 miles, so by my reckoning, I should be empty. 

That is odd since I never run  a tank empty.  I always try to keep at least a third, but must have forgotten to fill on my last trip to town. I'm going to have to either get a jerry can of gas or carry on on my next trip or I will run out.

I finished my chores and drove to Calgary, stopping to pick up the registration forms at Staples on the way in.

The meeting was routine and I returned home by eleven.

It is a paradoxical but profoundly true and important principle of life that the most likely way to reach a goal is to be aiming not at that goal itself but at some more ambitious goal beyond it.
Arnold Toynbee

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Wednesday October 5th 2016

Today Cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries or rain showers. Wind north 20 km/h. High plus 4.
Tonight Mainly cloudy. Wind north 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low minus 2.

Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

Today, I weigh 220.  I see my weight creeping up, even though I have been fairly careful what I eat.

I leave tomorrow and have few things to do before I go.  I see the weather over the coming days is looking cooler than previously predicted and I will have to leave the furnace on, I suppose.

I drove to Three Hills to fuel up, then over to Ruth's to drop Zippy off.  Sure enough, I had just run the tank nearly empty. No leak.

I returned home, and realigned the headlights on the Grand Marquis.  I've meant to raise the beams a bit since the lows are pointed too far down, making it hard to see well at night on the highway when on low beam.

The process is simple.  Just measure the high to the centre of the beam, park on a level road and walk about fifty feet in front, stoop down until the beam glares in your eyes and measure your eye height from the pavement. 

If that glare point is at or higher than than the beam height at the car, then lower the beam to where they shine progressively lower as you check at distances further away, but not too far below straight ahead. 

Don't fiddle with the sideways adjustment unless you see reason to as that is more critical. As always, this is what I do and be sure you observe local regulations.

Next, I took the furnace burner apart, did a bit of welding and reassembled it, then had supper and went to bed earlier than I have been lately.

When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President.
 Now I'm beginning to believe it.
Clarence Darrow

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Thursday October 6th 2016

Today Mainly cloudy. High plus 4.
Tonight Clearing this evening. Low minus 6 with frost.

Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

 Read yesterday's post
Often posts are edited the next day for improved clarity

Today, I weigh 219. I'm up early, packing and generally getting ready to leave. My flight is after lunch, so there is no rush.

I left in plenty of time and parked at Park and Jet.  With discounts, they are cheaper than the bargain lot and a sure thing.  Lately, their shuttle has been very prompt as well.

I went through security and met up with my cousin, Don, who had flown in from Toronto and we caught the next flight top YYJ.  At YYJ, Peter met us with the projector and supplies for the rendezvous and drove us to the marina.

We settled into the boat, went shopping, and decided to spend the might at the dock since a storm was predicted.

Friday October 7th 2016

The day satrted with rain, but cleared, but with strong winds. We left the docks and sailed north.  We were almost becalmed, then subjected to gusty winds as we crossed Swartz Bay and tacked to clear Saltspring Island. We reduced to about one third sail and fought shify gusts up to forty knots as we fought our way to the point.

Once clear the point, we could relax a bit as we reached down to Sansum Narrows. As we entered the narrows, the wind died and turned shifty, so we motored through to Octopus Point where the wind steadied and we raised sail again.

The wind was light until we approached Crofton, at which point, the wind became strong and gusty again.  We made Thetis Island on one tack and motored in to tie up.  Paul met us there and we paid our docking fees and met up with other early arrivals.

We had supper and went to the club room with the projector, bit no one seems to want to show slides and the evening was spent casually in the pub and on boats.

Saturday October 8th 2016

Tonight Flurries or rain showers with risk of freezing rain. Fog patches dissipating overnight.
Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Wind becoming northwest 20 gusting to 40 overnight. Temperature steady near zero.

The day began with drizzle that developed into a downpour, but that hardly dampened our spirits.  Coffee was served in the club room at nine. Boats continued to arrive all day. By the end of the day we had 30 boats and 52 people registered and the marina was turning away any new arrivals.

We held a swap meet in the afternoon and that was followed by a happy hour and a potluck supper in the club room.

Afterwards, we had two slide presentations to round off the evening.

Sunday October 9th 2016

Today Snow at times heavy ending near noon then a mix of sun and cloud. Amount 2 to 4 cm. Wind northwest 30 km/h gusting to 50. High plus 2.
Tonight Becoming cloudy this evening with 30 percent chance of flurries late this evening and overnight. Wind northwest 30 km/h gusting to 50 becoming light this evening. Low minus 3.

It has now turned sunny here at Thetis Island, but there is snow at home, I see. I guess the system that gave us the storms has moved east and cooled, crossing the Rockies.

Home is only  500 miles from here as the crow flies and, at the rate the system was moving, it could be expected to arrive in Alberta within a day or so of arriving here.

We had coffee and boat visits and another swap. then the Model Boat race.

After that, we had happy hour followed by a turkey Thanksgiving dinner at 1730.  After supper we had a prize draw and I handed out prizes. It was all over around 2000.

In theory, there’s no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.
Yogi Bera

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