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October 2016

 

 

 

 

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Background Image: Cassiopeia, anchored at Butchart Gardens

 

Monday October 10th 2016

We had coffee and pastries in the club room, got ready to leave, and pulled out around 1100, headed back towards Sidney.

We motored to Sansum Narrows and onward to Cowichan Bay, where we anchored and went a shore to look around.

Cowichan Bay is a small town with a touristy strip along the bay, and a popular stop for boaters looking for restaurants and shopping. 

We walked the strip, then returned to the boast and set sail for Butchart Gardens, figuring there was plenty of daylight left for the trip.

We arrived well before sunset, caught a mooring ball, tied a stern line to the shore, had supper, then turned in early.

Tuesday October 11th 2016

Today Cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries early this morning. Clearing this morning. High plus 1. UV index 3 or moderate.
Tonight Clear. Low minus 8.

After spending the morning at Butchart Gardens, Don and I returned to Cassiopeia, took a quick spin through Todd Inlet in the dinghy, and cast off for Fulford Harbour.

Once in the bay at Fulford, we spent some time getting anchored satisfactorily, then went ashore for supper at the Rocksalt Restuarant. I had the Bombay Surf and it was fabulous.

We returned to the boat and watched Men in Black II.

Wednesday October 12th 2016

We found there was very little wind as we left the bay in the morning, but we had enough to fly the spinnaker and make 2.5 knots in the general direction of Sidney. 

We had decided to return early since we both fly out at 9:25 tomorrow and are expecting Peter to pick us up at the marina at 0800.  I always need three hours to put things away and pack and, besides, a gale is forecast for this evening and the dock is the safest and most worry-free place to be.

We stopped at Van Isle, fuelled up, motored to Port Sidney Marina and found our spot was occupied by a boat hogging two spots. 

I rafted to the interloper and we shuffled the boats around until Cassiopeia was in her right place. We then closed the enclosure, filled with water and went uptown for supper. We went to the Beacon Restaurant where I had eaten the best Caesar salad ever not many weeks ago.  I ordered the salad and this time it was about the worst Caesar salad I have ever eaten.  The dressing was wrong and the lettuce was old and limp.

Thursday October 13th 2016

Even though we are on the inside dock and as sheltered as any boat in the marina, Cassiopeia rocked and rolled all night in the gale.  Halyards were slapping in the wind and at one point I got up to adjust our spinnaker halyard, but to no avail.

In the morning the wind had died, but it was still raining.  Peter was at the marina at the appointed time and soon we were at the airport.

Don and I were on the same plane, but sitting separately. he is an nervous flier and likes to be over the wing. I like action and the view from a window seat with a clear view of the ground.

We landed in Calgary, said farewells and he flew on the YYZ.  I retrieved my van and drove home, shopping for groceries along the way.

Friday October 14th 2016

Today A few flurries or rain showers ending early this afternoon then cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Risk of freezing rain near noon. Fog patches dissipating this afternoon. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h this afternoon. High plus 2 except 8 over southern sections.
Tonight Cloudy. Low minus 2.

Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

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

I felt like crap all day and wondered if I am having another heart attack. I considered going to the hospital to be checked out but decided I'd rather take a fairly remote chance on dying than go through all the bother of being checked out.

I probably just have the flu or something, seeing as I have aches and pains the seem to move around.  I am experiencing a knee problem in my right leg that showed up the other day and comes and goes. I also have vague pains moving around my chest and right arm. That seems to be a result of the effort of cranking the winches on my boat and has been much worse on occasion in the past, but absent at other times.  My vision is not quite right today either. Blood sugar and blood pressure are normal.

The fact that I have a bad left shoulder from a ski crash years ago makes it hard to know if it is a MI symptom or just the same old, same old. If I knew I was having a heart attack, I would definitely go to the hospital, but I am tired of false alarms.  I know that denial is a symptom, but when you are right there and have to try to evaluate, it is all just words.

At any rate, I did not die.  Not yet anyhow.

Mid-morning, I made a vegetable stew to last me a few days and caught up on deskwork.

I'm researching a number of subjects. Among them is gas heat. Although I love my old coal furnace that has served me almost fifty years, I'm going to have to install some natural gas heat.  No way around that.

After supper, I watched three episodes of The Good Wife before bed.  Netflix released another season a while back and I have just now gotten around to watching. I like all the characters and the interplay is interesting.  Nobody is clearly evil, and they all are just doing their best, even if it leads to misunderstandings and conflict.

It is interesting how the writers economize and recycle known relationships. In real life (if such a thing still exists) far more people are involved in daily situations and people do not see themselves dealing with such a limited set of characters.

Saturday October 15th 2016

Today Cloudy. Fog patches dissipating late this morning. High 7.
Tonight Cloudy. Risk of freezing rain overnight. Fog patches developing late this evening. Wind northeast 20 km/h becoming light near midnight. Low plus 1.

Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

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

This is a dull sort of a day. Fen and Maddy are putting on a party this afternoon at the Mill and it is pot luck, so I am making chili con carne.

I started off by thawing some hamburger, but scorched it a bit.  I figured it was OK, so proceeded, but when the dish was finished it wasn't very good, but it is what it is and that is what I have, so I took it along. 

I realised later I could have cooked it to a mush, like most chili, and added more chili powder to mask the burnt taste, but I did not.  Oh, well.

The party was well-attended and went until at least nine, when I left. In the meantime, I had a chance to talk to people I had not seen for a while and enjoy some pretty good music.

Sunday October 16th 2016

Today Cloudy. 40 percent chance of rain showers early this morning with risk of freezing rain. Clearing this afternoon. Fog patches dissipating this morning. Wind becoming west 20 km/h this morning. High 11.
Tonight A few clouds. Wind west 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 is sunny, but I am still feeling poorly. My weight is up and it is time to get it back down again.

 

I spent the morning at the desk,. then drove over to Ruth's to get Zip and returned home.

I wrote earlier about Apivar and how it simply does not do the job any longer. I offered a chart showing how even a small loss of efficacy will result in the need for increasing frequency of treatment or employing additional measures repeated (below).

I cannot emphasize too strongly how important that understanding this subtle concept can be for a beekeeper. A small loss in treatment impact means that the varroa populations may increase over time, rather than remaining under control.

This is illustration just demonstrates an estimated average over all hives in a group. In the real world, the efficacy in some hives will be higher and some lower than average, by definition.  If low efficacy in one treatment in one particular hive is due to improper placement of the strips, chance is that the next treatment will be more successful, but the populations may be on the upswing compared to other hives nearby due to the one poor treatment, especially if the treatments are already marginal in their ability to reduce populations below an equilibrium.

Increasing frequency of treatments or increasing dosage may serve to maintain control, but costs mount quickly and the risk of failure rises over time.

While I was away last week, my friends forwarded me some information that Medhat shared regarding his recent Apivar tests (right). My understanding is that these are results of the Pettis Test, a quick test to see if varroa is resistant or not. Be sure to read the document carefully before jumping to conclusions.

Pettis does not claim that the kill numbers can be directly related to mite kill efficacy in real world beehives.  The test is for susceptibility only -- not degree of susceptibility -- and is not calibrated to real-world conditions (although I think we could be forgiven for making a connection).

"If more than 50% of the mites were killed by the Apistan®, Apivar or CheckMite+TM after 6 hours, the mites are susceptible and adequate mite control can be expected. If less than 50% of the mites are killed after 6 hours by Apistan®, Apivar or CheckMite+TM, the mites are resistant.
"Disclaimer: This assay is intended to screen for resistant mites and is not intended to indicate the exact level of resistance.

I'm sure Jeff has his reasons for choosing this cut-off, but we have to ask, "Under what circumstances?"

There is some relationship, but it is undefined.

I think it is safe to assume, regardless, that a test with high six-hour kill is far more likely to indicate a highly effective treatment than a lower six-hour kill count.

The Apivar average kill was 87% in eight tests (one was apparently spoiled or too embarrassing) BUT two of the eight Apivar tests killed only 75% or less of the varroa.

The average kill for Apistan was 58.8% in nine tests BUT, Apistan scored unexpectedly high in almost half the tests.

Previously, we heard that Apivar was still achieving kills of over 90% in Pettis test, but as always the devil is in the details. We did not hear that in the same series of tests, Apivar scored as low as 60% kill or that one result was discarded.

Of course there are many explanations and the 60% Apivar result could be an outlier, but if this is your hive, you are in deep dodo.  Besides, in another sample Apivar killed only 75% making the 60% seem less an outlier.  Start worrying now.

Granted, Apistan (not Apivar) did a bit worse with one test which was clearly an outlier (due to its distance from the average) at 14%, but at 59% overall kill, compared to Apistan at 87% kill, Apivar does not look all that much better, especially considering that Apivar had the one reading as low as 60% that did not appear to be an outlier.

Analyzing such data is difficult due to the small samples and wide scatter, but we can see clearly that if your strips are killing only 60%, you won't have bees for long, even with two treatments a year!  Even at 87% (my pessimistic chart above goes down to only 88%) trouble is just around the corner and you can expect accelerating losses each spring and fall. (Remember though that the Pettis test numbers do not directly reflect the real-world efficacy assumed in the calculator shown.

We do not have any further info about how the above tests were conducted.  I could ask, I suppose, but just using what we see, and assuming that each row applies to the same hive source of mites, taken at the same time in the same sample of bees and that only one jar was made from each hive for each chemical, we can ask some questions. Note that bee mortality is not reported. While not part of the test, any mortality would be interesting.

Note also that we do not know the history of these hives and cannot assume that they accurately represent other populations of bees on Alberta.

What can we do? We can keep doing the same thing only stronger and more often or we can look for another solution, and hopefully one that will not fail as quickly as Apistan and Apivar did.  With Apivar costs approaching $12/hive twice a year, oxalic is looking very good.

Some worry about the presence of brood when applying OA, but who cares?  Not me.  Evaporation has persistence of several weeks and  can be repeated as often as we like for pennies a treatment..

I am going to risk publishing this tonight and take a chance on embarrassment for going off half-cocked seeing as I think it is important. 

I'm sure I'll have a better perspective in the AM and maybe some comments.

I'm off to watch more of The Good Wife.

I did, then wrote this for the Calgary group:

Oxalic acid (OA) is an underappreciated treatment, but one that can match chemical strips if done properly.

Nobody really makes any money promoting OA, so OA does not have interested parties singing its praises (and making money from it) the way that the expensive alternatives do.

When Apistan and Apivar were highly effective, there were good arguments for employing them, even though each is costly and each requires two visits, and although unlike OA, both chemicals leave residues -- albeit at very low levels -- that are not GRAS and create fears in some consumers and may harm the bees.

Now that these strips are less effective and more closely approach the same efficacy as oxalic treatments, there is less incentive to use them as principle controls. We can no longer just put a strip or two in once a year, take them out a while later, and have confidence that our bees will be okay. We have to monitor, treat at more frequent intervals and, ideally, alternate treatments.

The complaints against OA are that
  • OA is corrosive, requires equipment and technique to use. Dangers are exaggerated
  • OA does not kill mites in brood
  • Sublimation is daunting for those who have not tried it and found how safe and easy it is
  • Drizzling requires careful measuring and application -- and sometimes splitting boxes to access the bees
  • Spraying is messy

Moreover, the data on OA treatment is not from as many sources and as cherry-picked as the data from chemical strips and the failures are reported honestly in trials, not all of which are professionally designed or executed. The multiplicity of application methods and spectrum of opinion tends to confuse people as well, obscuring simplicity and safety of OA treatment.

The big advantage of the chemical strips over oxalic has been the ease of application without risk of error and the consistency of results. Now that strip failures are blamed on operator error and wide variability in Apivar and Apistan efficacy has been revealed, the advantages over OA disappear.  Moreover, when cost, residues and operator safety (the Apivar label limits the number of strips an operator can handle in one day) are considered, oxalic acid emerges as a logical choice.

Also, oddly, people disrespect anything that is almost free and figure it cannot be as good as something that costs money.

However, OA requires only one visit per treatment, is highly effective, and when done properly can be as quick and easy as applying strips. Moreover, although we are not supposed to use OA when supers are on, tests have shown no detectable OA residue above the naturally occurring levels in untreated hives.

Just sayin'

There are many who dare not kill themselves for fear of what the neighbors will say.
Cyril Connolly

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Monday October 17th 2016

Today Mainly cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Risk of freezing drizzle near noon. Fog dissipating this afternoon. High plus 5.
Tonight Cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Fog patches developing near midnight. Low minus 1.

Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

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

I slept in, then got up and worked on the Thanksgiving Rendezvous report and the plans for next year.  That took pretty well all day.

I also worked on some articles about oxalic.  See yesterday's post.

The actual tragedies of life bear no relation to one's preconceived ideas.
 In the event, one is always bewildered by their simplicity, their grandeur of design,
and by that element of the bizarre which seems inherent in them.
Jean Cocteau

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Tuesday October 18th 2016

Today Cloudy. 30 percent chance of rain showers or flurries this morning with risk of freezing drizzle. Fog patches dissipating this morning. High plus 5.
Tonight Mainly cloudy. Fog patches developing overnight. Low minus 3.

Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

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

It looks like another dull day coming up.  My weight is pretty well unchanged.

We have some better weather coming soon, though if we can believe the forecasts.

*    *    *    *    *

The big advantage of the chemical strips over oxalic has been the ease of application without risk of error and the consistency of results.

Now that strip failures are blamed on operator error and wide variability in Apivar and Apistan efficacy has been revealed, the advantages over OA disappear.

Moreover, when cost, residues and operator safety (the Canadian Apivar label limits the number of strips an operator can handle in one day) are considered, oxalic acid emerges as a logical choice. (2013 Canadian label shown at right)

*    *    *    *    *

I see Marion Ellis has a good presentation on YouTube: Effective use of Oxalic Acid to suppress Varroa with Marion Ellis

It's a very good presentation, but, of course, I have some differences of opinion on minor points.  But I do agree with him on most.

A researcher's experience is going to be considerably different from the experience of a commercial beekeeper.

Marion mentions how to create a broodless period for greatest effect when drizzling. IMO, this is a counter-productive distraction in an otherwise excellent presentation .  Just don't do it.  It's a bad idea for anyone trying to produce honey in Alberta.

He also cites a test where they treated three times in July when brood was in hives with positive no effect, effect, but I would question that, and want to see it replicated. Even if 2/3rds of varroa is in brood at mid-summer, killing 95+% of the phoretic mites 3X has to have some effect since that is equivalent to a 33% efficacy three times and simple math says that should result in a cumulative 70% kill (Complex math says something different, but similar). YMMV.

He did not say what three drizzles did to the bees themselves, but repeated drizzling is not recommended with suggestions that repetition may harm the colony (not true of evaporation), but some commercial beekeepers do repeatedly drizzle -- against recommendations with no apparent bad effects.

I suspect that the presence or lack of a flow may have a big influence on whether bees ingest the treated syrup and whether harm occurs or not and that a flow will mitigate any harm from repeating drizzles.

The worry about HMF is overdone, too IMO. After all, the bees are not supposed to consume the syrup and do not normally. The syrup is simply intended as a vehicle and adhesive.

In the video, drizzle starts at 22 minutes, vapourization at 30 minutes. Treating package bees starts at 33. Research at 35.

Illusion is one of the most pervasive realities of life.
The greatest self-deception is to believe oneself free of self-deception.
Mardy Grothe

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Wednesday October 19th 2016

Today Mainly cloudy. 30 percent chance of flurries early this morning. Clearing this afternoon. Fog patches dissipating this morning. High 8.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Low minus 2.

Environment Canada
Ten day forecast

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

The weather is trending warmer. This morning, I weigh 220.4 and feel more like myself.

That feeling of well-being did not last, and I began feeling poorly again.  I ignored it and worked on desk projects until after lunch , when I gave up and decided that I had better go to the hospital and get checked out in case something bad is happening.

Going to the hospital for a heart  attack check is not a simple thing to do if you are not in crisis. In a crisis, you just go, maybe on a stretcher. Otherwise, with unspecific symptoms, you go for a few hours and are maybe gone days, a week -- or forever.

In my case, merely being uncomfortable and going for an appraisal, I have time to plan and worry about what happens at home, but no idea if I'd be back in a  few hours or be gone much longer and have to leave things set up for the worst case.

When living with a spouse or roommates, there is someone at home to care for the place and able to shuttle things around. Living alone, I have to make sure that my heating system is okay for at least a few days, and that I have someone to come in to monitor periodically and water plants. I also should put away personal papers and pack whatever I would like to have on hand if they decide to hold me overnight or longer. 

I have to consider how, if they send me to Red Deer as they did last time, how to get back home and recover my van.  They ran me up there in ambulance, but did not provide a ride home.  Moreover they said not to drive for a month.

And, lastly, I have to figure out how to deal with my dog, not knowing if I'll be sent home in an hour or two, the next morning, or days or weeks later -- or , worst case, never.

Last time, I was gone a week. My friends took care of the dog and van and Jean picked me up from the hospital, but this time I have to guess what to expect. I decided to put things away, shovel ashes and take a chance on taking the dog along since the weather is quite mild and she is happy to sit for hours in the van. If they whisk me away to Red Deer, I'll call Ruth to come for her.

I drove to the Three Hills hospital emergency and checked in, mentioning that I was wondering if I was having another heart attack. There is no waiting if you say anything about heart.  In minutes, I was on my back, shirt off, and covered with electrodes. Soon I was x-rayed from three sides, back on my cot, and staff came by to take a blood sample.

After a while a doctor came by and told me my troponin, an indicator of heart damage, measured a normal 0.02, apparently indicating no issues.  Moreover my ECG was normal and a slight irregularity that appeared after my incident last year had disappeared.  Seems I have a flu or something and not obvious heart problems.

Normal (hs Troponin T < 14ng/l) - A result of <14ng/L more than 6 hours after symptoms rules out MI. (source). A high troponin and even slight elevations may indicate some degree of damage to the heart. When a person has significantly elevated troponin levels and, in particular, a rise in the results from a series of tests done over several hours, then it is likely that the person has had a heart attack or some other form of damage to the heart. Levels of troponin can become elevated in the blood within 3 or 4 hours after heart injury and may remain elevated for 10 to 14 days. In people with angina, an elevated troponin may indicate that their condition is worsening and they are at increased risk of a heart attack.. (source)

See also this site. And this.

I was released a few hours later, bought a CO detector at the hardware store since I had been wondering if my furnace has been gassing me, bought some fruit and drove home in time for supper.

I am feeling better.  I ate roast chicken, strawberries and green grapes for supper, watched some Netflix and went to bed early, at 2100 hours.

A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.
Joseph Stalin

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