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 June 2019





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A stag grazing outside my window


 Are you are looking for bee information?

I'm losing interest in bees lately and bee-related posts are infrequent these days but at one time I was very involved in beekeeping. Just about every topic has been covered somewhere on this site some time or another. Your best bets for finding ideas are:

 1.) check today's date in previous years     2.) visit the selected topics page
search this site for keywords.
              4.) visit BEE-L


Note: I have been doing a bit of bee writing lately and there is some mention here and on recent previous pages, but it is mixed in with my daily life.



Monday June 10th 2019

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Becoming cloudy this afternoon with 30 percent chance of showers late this afternoon. Risk of a thunderstorm late this afternoon. Wind becoming north 20 km/h gusting to 40 this afternoon. High 21. UV index 8 or very high.
Tonight Cloudy with 30 percent chance of showers this evening then partly cloudy. Risk of a thunderstorm this evening. Fog patches developing before morning. Wind north 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light late this evening. Low 8.

About one-fifty-five I was half-awake and dreaming that Ellen and I were in bed with a grizzly bear and the grizzly bear was beginning to notice us. We decided we needed a distraction and told the bear we need to get up to pee.  It was then that I got up.

I've been dreaming about Ellen more lately. She was in that camper roof dream the previous night but it was too elaborate to write out here.

In August it will be six years since she died, or as the silly euphemism goes, "passed away". She's dead, but somehow she is not dead in my dreams.

I made coffee, went down and folded the laundry, and played more with the furnace.  The ring is not turning properly, so I turned it off. That is a job for tomorrow, not the middle of the night. 

Well, maybe if I don't get sleepy and go back to bed I'll do it.  There is no time like the present, but I do need to wait until the firebox cools before I stick my head in.

When I got home, I weighed and saw 239.  Wow!  That was after a flying and we'll see where it settles after a day or two at home. Now, at 3:57, I see 235, so I'm hoping it was mostly water.  I have not been terribly careful about eating and drinking the past three weeks, though.  We'll see.

I've had coffee and breakfast, and been up for two hours, so now I am ready to go back to bed.

I went back to bed and slept until eight.  I rolled over and slept until eight forty-five and got up. I feel good.  I weighed and saw 235.0.  That is down four from my arrival, so we'll see if it keeps coming down.  Regardless, I'll have to get serious about getting the weight off again.

I plan to go over and give the hives a quick check for queens this morning and should do an alcohol roll.   I split on the eleventh and twelfth last month so the new queens should be laying by now. I left drop boards under them all, but they will be full of debris.

I'll see if I can get the mower belt on and also take a better look at the furnace ring now that it will have cooled down.  The front step remains high on the list and a plan for a supper this week.

I've been obsessing about the lawn and on returning I see it is long, but looks good.  It will until the grass grows older and dries out.  That is when i worry about fire hazard and want the fire break that a mowed lawn provides.  In the years when we first moved her, we hardly mowed at all and enjoyed the wild look.  I don't know if I would hear from the bylaw officer these days, but I think I will relax a bit about cutting.  What I really need is a mower bar that cuts the grass for hay.  I do have some of the land hayed by a neighbour, but around the house I have always mowed.  This area is too tight, uneven, and cluttered with trees and gardens for a farm mower to get in.

The media tries to change your language to manipulate you

The New York Times attacks YouTubers including Philip DeFranco and Joe Rogan

We need to be careful what we believe.  There is absolutely no doubt we are being propagandized.  We must always weight the evidence and decide what is more credible. Often the truth is not in the most popular and most repeated story, but a story that is less prominent.

"If it bleeds it leads" is the rule in media. Retractions and less shocking information is buried somewhere far back in the news if it even makes the cut.  Good news is not news.

Often we have to suspend our belief where the facts are elusive or distorted and where false information is injected or opinion masquerades as fact.  We also have to remember that much of the news we see and read has been fed to the reader or writer and that everyone, including me is "talking their book" in trading parlance.  i.e. we emphasize what benefits us personally and ignore or deprecate that which opposes our interests. It is human nature.

Those who work for organizations are very aware of who pays them and self-censor. If they don't we don't see them again.  Also, the brightest media folks get lured a way to spin and raise flak for politicians and with some notable exceptions, we are left with the lesser lights pumping out the daily 'news'.

Of course I do not want to believe that CO2 is a major pollutant and love to hear from those who say it is not, like Patrick Moore. 

We hear too much from opinionated people who say the opposite IMO.   I naturally emphasize the fact that cheap energy has made possible the comfortable and mobile civilization we enjoy and am amazed that so-called feminists did not recognize that women and children have been major beneficiaries and that increasing the cost and availability of energy will affect them disproportionately.

Appreciating Patrick Moore and other very eminent people who disagree with the current doom and gloom about the climate does not mean I don't also listen to the other views and am interested in the new story that CO2  is causing the nutrient value of food to decline.

Note that the Wikipedia article above is slanted and is written as a disclaimer, just in case anyone takes these guys seriously and want to make up our own minds. The fix is in.  An encyclopedia should never editorialize.

Personally, I strongly suspect the stories of declining nutrient content in foods is being related to CO2   is bunk, but we never really know. 

The problem is that researchers know that it pays to relate their work to a popular theme like AGW or doom and gloom if they want to attract funding and be cited by others, both of which are necessary for academic survival. Opposing the popular themes can lead to ridicule and obscurity.

More later.  Maybe. Now my bees are calling.

Well, I started outside and then Miguel wrote and Victor wrote and I got to texting with Cordell about the engine RPM on Cassiopeia.  I had noticed that the engine was able to rev above the 3,000 RPM redline and woke up today realizing that the prop hub is probably worn again allowing slippage. Rick is off today but the boat goes out Wednesday so we need to check and repair it before then.

The day is growing cooler and darker, so I am in no rush to get out there. I'm finding it hard to believe I used to be out in all weather working bees in the past.

I am looking at the ten-day forecast...  Oh!  It is in Fahrenheit because I am using Brave browser and cannot recognize me.  It looks as if today and tomorrow will be the cool days, then it will warm up. This is June, isn't it?

Calgary Stampede is only a month away. I plan to go.

With the interruptions and the day growing cool, I decided to work on the furnace.  I may go out an pull the drop boards first, though, just to see if I can detect anything.

I went out and found it is nicer out there than in the house.  I pulled the drop boards and did not see a single varroa. The bees are hard at work with clouds of foragers coming and going. All hives are being bothered by red ants.

Since it is so nice out, I got ready and went to the north pasture to do a mite drop.  The first hive should have had a box a week ago.  It was getting plugged (right).

I reversed it, added a box, then started on the other one.  That split turned out to be queenless.  From appearances, it never tried to raise a queen. I gave it a frame of brood from the other and we'll see what happens.

I'll likely split the first one again after it settles down from today's work.

While working the first hive, I did a varroa alcohol wash.  Since I had seen zero varroa non the floors and on the drone brood, I did not know what to expect.  I selected and washed 164 bees from open brood near the sealed brood and counted ten mites!

That is about seven percent of the phoretic bees and there are bound to be many more varroa in the brood.

This just goes to show that even when a hive is booming and no varroa are seen on the floor and no varroa are seen on the bees and no varroa are seen on the drone brood, the hive may be above threshold and very likely to die within months.

Now, I have to decide how I am going to treat.  With honey season already underway, many treatments are not permitted, unless, of course, I decide to run the hive for increase by splitting and not produce honey for human consumption.

I had a salad wrap and a chunk of salmon for supper. The salmon was marked as being well before the due date, but was on the edge. So was the last piece I bought.

After, I was tired and watched half of Offspring on Netflix. I'd come across an article saying it is good, and I'm enjoying it -- so far, anyhow.  Before I finished the pilot I got distracted by real life. I think I'll check out the furnace issue now.

I went down and cleaned the furnace, examined the ring for wear, reassembled it and lit the fire. I'm thinking some ash got under the ring and was making it lift.  We'll see. I'll know in a half-hour.

I've been a bit under the weather today. Maybe food, maybe the travel.

I see the furnace is happy now. So am I. It is nice to have heat in the mornings.

I figure I should share this experience with the Calgary Group:

I have two hives I have mostly lost interest in and ignored all last summer, fall, and winter, but which made it through winter and were strong enough to split a month ago, so I split them. They were triples in EPS boxes.

At that time, I inspected the brood and placed each of the two brood boxes with brood in all stages on a brood box each on new floors sharing the original spot, making two doubles. (The original third was one of the bottom boxes).

The floors were set up for drop counts and I greased the boards but not especially well. I did not see varroa the first day and I then went away until now. I expected that now, after three weeks, the queenless half would have made a queen and be catching up with the other.

Today I checked one set and only one has a queen -- the original one. The other failed to initiate queen rearing it seems, but that is beside the point.

I had not inspected the hives since last spring and maybe treated them them then with oxalic. I can't recall without looking back. So, I expected to see plenty of mites, some on the bottoms, some on drone brood and maybe even some on bees, and to see deformed wings.

I didn't see any of that, so was beginning to wonder if some miracle had taken place.

Just the same I know better and did an alcohol wash today and turned up 10 varroa in 164 bees for a count well over any threshold you care to cite. These hives would have crashed by fall and still might if I don't treat effectively and make sure it works with another test.

So, regardless of what anyone tells you about not treating and having booming colonies and no signs of varroa, make sure you actually test your bees properly and regularly, and treat as indicated -- and smile when you see that treatment-free  (former) beekeeper next year.

As much as I hate to have sacrificed that 164 bees, all the bees would have suffered varroa and died if not for using them in a test. There is no other easy test that is as definitive.

I watched the rest of Offspring and went to bed around eleven.  The sky was still light in the north.

Midsummer's Day is only ten days off +/-. Then the days begin getting shorter.

I am finding Offspring watchable, but it is beginning to look like blend of current themes (or memes?) and may wear off fast. Of course, in summer, watching video is reserved for time when I am feeling in need of a rest.

Quote of the Day
I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig.
You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.
George Bernard Shaw

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Tuesday June 11th 2019

Today A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers this morning. Wind north 20 km/h gusting to 40. High 23. UV index 8 or very high.
Tonight Clear. Wind north 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low 9.

I woke up at one-thirty feeling fine, then went to sleep again.  Next, I woke up at three, feeling stuffed.  I was dreaming about writing some exam and doing really badly. I could not remember the exact name of some organization and there was a question about tire salvage, whatever that is. I did not know what the exam was and why I was writing it, so I woke up and got up.

I've been home two nights now and am on a more sensible diet. My weight is down a touch again and my aches and pains seem to have ended. BG is still high and random, but lower than it was.

As for the dream, I am in line to do the powerboat instructor crossover course to teach powerboating as well as sailing. Even though I do well, I hate exams and  I always have trouble remembering the exact titles of some marine publications and tend to paraphrase.

At four fifteen, I had my coffee and scrambled eggs and it is time to go back to bed.

I went right to sleep, with the aid of my Spanish lesson and woke at 0740.

First thing, I got some blowback from yesterday.


I appreciate you wisdom and many years of experience.

Iím researching tf beekeeping and ecology, as professionally as I can. So for now thatís how I define my style.

I listen to all the tips, l regarding brood breaks and use of drone cone which are highly effective if done right and are forms of treatments if you want to split hairs.

Its below you to snipe when you must know this yourself. The problem with both treatment and treatment free is that the majority donít know what their doing at all. By creating posts like this your creating an unwelcoming environment for enthusiasts.

So be wise if thatís how you truly see yourself.

My reply:

As I said in the title, my contribution was meant as a word to the wise.

Others are entirely welcome to ignore or deprecate my input, but please spare me the blowback.

I write for the average beekeeper and I very much have newcomers in mind. I worry they may be led astray by very convincing poseurs, so I write as directly and as simply as I can. Some things are black and white regardless of how some try to shade them.

Not everyone is going to agree or like what I say, but I have decades of experience watching events unfold in Canada and in the USA, at national and provincial meetings. I've spent time looking inside commercial, hobby, and research hives, been inside bee labs, spent hours and days with researchers and fellow authors, and moderated Internet forums. I know real treatment-free beekeepers and have spent time in the Lusby yards.

Fact is that given what we have and where we are, not treating is not an option if the bees are to survive more than a season or at best, two, and not become a nuisance. Monitoring varroa is an absolute necessity to determine if treatment is necessary and if it worked.

As you say yourself, the interventions you cite below are treatments. That is not splitting hairs. It is fact, and it is misleading to imply otherwise.

Treatments vary in appropriateness, effectiveness, collateral damage, required equipment, effort, time, and expertise required, and cost. For efficacy, the methods you cite below depend on a number of factors, not all of which may be apparent to the beeginner, and timing which not all are willing or able to manage.

There are many options for treatment including the ones you cite, but they should all start with and be followed up by some sort of reasonably accurate method of measurement. Alcohol wash is best, but the sugar shake or drops can be used. However, be aware that those latter methods require proper procedure and interpretation, or can be wildly inaccurate. Even alcohol wash can be off by a factor of ten if the bees are taken from the supers.

I only washed 164 bees from one hive because that sample gave me all the information I required about the two hives. Should I test the other two or just treat? I'll probably just treat. It has been a year and odds are 100:1 or better that the result would give me a similar decision. I did not specify or recommend any specific treatment, and at this time of year, options are limited.

The chances of a hive originating directly or indirectly from commercial stock surviving in Alberta untreated for more than two years declines rapidly towards zero and opinion has it that these varroa bombs are public nuisance. (I'm not totally convinced and Randy wonders, too, therefore the study announced here recently.)

I stand by what I write, but YMMV. There are always outliers, but in time there is always regression to the mean.

Maybe that was overkill?  I suspect Josť will love this, however, as he is dealing with the same sort of people where he lives.  They are dangerous.

I made chicken soup out of a carcass and did some sorting.  I still am not completely unpacked. I have some web work to do for a client and then downstairs I go again, this time to fix the mower.  Honest.

Ooops.  Never happened. Email kept me busy, along with paying bills.

Around six, I started to town in the Mercury.  Once out the driveway, the car sounded strange, so I stopped a short way upon the road and walked around the car.  A rear tire was completely flat.

I had noticed a strange tire track in the gravel of the driveway earlier but did not walk around the car before leaving.  I have not had a flat on the road for ages and had to think the best way to handle this.

Years back, I used to change tires often, but in recent years, flats are unusual. I had not even looked for the jack on this car.  I found it, set it up and changed the tire.  The spare was brand new but needed a little more air, so I drove back home and blew it up, then continued to town.

I stopped for a fish burger at A&W. It was dry and bland.  Disappointing, really.  That is the second dry burger lately. The last was a chicken burger at Tim Hortons that was made from reconstituted mechanically deboned chicken slurry.  At least this was a real piece of fish.  I needed gas, but had forgotten my UFA card, so went without.

I drove home and I was beat, so I watched another episode of Offspring. It is starting to remind me of Life in Pieces. It is definitely a chick sorta series.

Quote of the Day
I have never made but one prayer to God,
a very short one: Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.
And God granted it.

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Wednesday June 12th 2019

Today Sunny. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud this afternoon. High 29. UV index 8 or very high.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Low 13.

My weight is down again today.  I slept oddly, though, and was too warm at times, then chilled.  Summer weather is here.

I spent an hour working on finding a source for a new cover for the pontoon boat at Jean and Chris'.  The old one is getting weak and developing holes. We'll have to have one custom-made.

I have some web work to do and hope to get outside on this beautiful day.

And, then there is the lawn mower. Thing is, I actually like the look of the long grass.  I'll have to cut it before it gets too dry, though.

I also should treat the bees and check the second set of splits.

From Calgary Beekeepers:

Just wondering if anyone has queen cells or open brood for sale? Weíre having some queen issues!

My mother and I purchased a package from the CDBA which arrived on April 28th and installed the bees very quickly that evening in the snow. At the end of May we decided that we were queenless as we did not find eggs this time or on our two previous checks and the bees were beginning to build emergency cells on two of the frames.
On June 1st we installed a new queen, and as of June 9 we believe that she may have perished as well.
During our June 9th check we noticed that they had released the queen from her cage, there was one dead bee inside the cage but we determined it was not the queen. This time we finally saw eggs but there was 1-4 eggs per cell.

So far the suggestions point toward shaking all the bees off the frames and adding a queen cell or open brood. Any further suggestions or leads on brood would be greatly appreciated!

My response:

I don't see any mention of laying workers in the original post. In my experience, and in spite of popular mention in literature, I almost never see signs of laying workers in queenless colonies.

Unless evidence in the form of multiple drone eggs in cells is visible, they are likely not present. If signs of laying queens are seen, I am not sure they will prevent raising of a new queen if eggs and brood are added.

Regardless, adding frames with eggs and young brood is the best solution other than combining with a viable colony, then re-split a few days later after they settle down.

When adding the new frames to the colony there is no need to do anything other than remove enough frames to make room for them and to shake the bees on them into the hive or onto the doorstep. On a nice day, with some nectar flow on as evidenced by bees foraging freely, fighting will not be an issue.

It is important to be aware that open brood is susceptible to drying out, overheating, or direct sun exposure. When being transported it should be in a small nuc box with enough bees to tend it. The age of the bees for this purpose is not important.

In short, source some brood, transport it carefully, open the hive, remove sufficient frames to make room, insert the frames in the middle, adhering bees and all, shake the bees off the frames that were removed and close the hive.

That's it. As for adding young bees, etc., that can be done but is likely to complicate the otherwise simple process. Older bees are quite capable of building cells and raising the queen, assuming the colony has not dwindled to nothing.

Five days later, the beekeeper may check for cells, but must be very careful not to break queen cells when moving frames as the cells will be between the combs and may be attached to adjacent frames as well as the one they are built on.

A correction:

> This time we finally saw eggs but there was 1-4 eggs per cell.

My mistake. I missed that line about the eggs.

Keep in mind that perfectly good new queens sometimes lay several eggs per cell at first, so be sure to verify that the queen is not present and now started laying a better pattern.

If there are laying workers present, people sometimes go to great lengths to eliminate them and never really know if they have. I have my doubts. A lot of plausible-sounding things are written about bees that are simply untrue.

Laying workers can definitely prevent successful introduction of a new queen, but should not have any effect on acceptance and emergence of a queen cell.

Even at solar noon, I hardly get any sun in my south windows. The sun rises and sets in the north at this time of year and is overhead at noon.

Well, I began setting up to work on the bees but email interrupted that. I received and invoice from Mexico, then my accountant emailed me my changes file and Quickbooks rejected it, so I had him place it in Dropbox.  That worked, but took a while.

 I am feeling much better today and more inspired than I have for a while.  I hope it lasts.  It's 3:30 now, so We'll see after supper if I am still as enthusiastic.

I was offered the 1903 Win 10 update today and it has downloaded. It is installing on both active machines as I write. I must have a lot faith in M$ to chance upgrading both machines at once.  Pray for me.

While it installs, I'm headed back outside.

Well, the update worked without a hitch.  Bonus!

It seems I got my mojo back. I have energy after supper. Temperatures in the eighties sure help. I started the tractor and took it out, then went to look at the queenless hive I gave brood and eggs to on the tenth.

The youngest eggs have now hatched and the larvae are about a large as I like to have the bees use to start a queen.  I decided to assist and broke down the lower cell wall on a few of the most likely candidates. 

Well, I spoke too soon.  The update blue-screened the Acer and uninstall the updates failed.  I'm doing a restart, fingers crossed.

On restart, the Acer fired up as if nothing ever happened.  We'll see if it updated or rolled back.  Oh!  It looks as if the update did not install. Oh, well.  I'm trying it again.

And again.

I went out and graded the driveway.  I'm realizing now why people buy gravel with fines and not just pea size and up.  These larger stones do not pack. They remain loose.

It is 2030 and I am tired.  I washed the bed sheets this afternoon and have to make the bed soon.

I made the bed, then watched an episode of Offspring and went to bed.

Quote of the Day
Ridicule is the best test of truth.
Lord Chesterfield

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Thursday June 13th 2019

Today A mix of sun and cloud. Becoming cloudy this afternoon with a few showers. Risk of a thunderstorm late this afternoon. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 this afternoon. High 29. UV index 8 or very high.
Tonight A few showers ending this evening then partly cloudy. Risk of a thunderstorm early this evening. Wind north 30 km/h gusting to 50 becoming light late this evening. Low 13.

I'm up at 0545.  The house is at 73 with the furnace turned off.

The Acer completed the upgrade download again and was ready to restart. I gave the go-ahead and we'll see if it succeeds this time.

I noticed last night that the fridge seemed warm and this morning the butter is soft.  The motor is not running.  I suspect it is time for a new fridge. Pronto.

I hade coffee and breakfast, then, since stores don't open until nine.  I lay down and slept until 8:45.  That surprised me because I had not thought I was tired.

Anyhow, Job One is now to get another fridge.  As I understand it, my current fridge will not be repairable. The modern fridges aren't set up for it.  

Other than this minor issue, the fridge is basically like-new condition. To repair it, the connection would have to be silver-soldered and ports soldered in, then a charge injected.  The job should cost under $200 if anyone could be found to do it.

I looked and the issue is obvious.  A line has corroded and the fix is as simple as silver soldering the joint and recharging the fridge. I spent an hour and twenty minutes trying to find a serviceman with no luck.

It seems that everything is disposable now, even things that only need minor repairs.  IMO, it is a crime to send otherwise perfect devices to the landfill for a minor issue.

Calgary Beekeepers again...

Sean: "What period of time this summer can I expect the main flow to occur here in Calgary? I am still providing supplemental feed to my 1st year nuc hive. When would you stop feeding in order to keep your honey free of the supplemental feed, and still be able to draw comb and stay healthy."

Daniel: "Short answer: July 1 to Aug 15.  Long answer: This window shifts a bit every season, but is primarily determined by the floral cues of "Sweet Clover": Melilot Albus, and Melilot Albus.   To prevent contamination, You would stop feeding when you put your honey supers on. I suggest that would be sometime in June, depending on how you roll.  [Here] is a landmark study, "Patterns of honey colony gain in Alberta", done by Tibor Szabo Sr. in 1987. Despite being 30 years old, it's still relevant.
Disclaimer: These are general principles, but mother nature, the weather, and the bees will conspire to prove me wrong."

Allen: In addition to what Dan and Nichol have offered, I should mention that things vary a lot and your location will have a big effect. In Northern Alberta, the season often ends in mid-August, but in Lethbridge, it goes on into October at times.

If you happen to be near the edge of town or out of town, the presence of large fields of alfalfa or canola will provide a flow and the flow will happen when the whole field blooms and in the case of alfalfa stop suddenly after it is cut for hay.

If you are downtown, the pickings may be slimmer and the flows more sporadic.

In central Alberta, some years the season is over for all intents and purposes in August, but other years has extended into October.

A lot depends on rain and the date of the first killer frost. Frosts can be very local and can hit one part of the city or countryside and not others.

The best policy with drawn comb is to put up to three boxes on at the end of June or sooner. Failure to super early and adequately will result in fat combs and burr comb in the broods, making manipulations difficult, and lost crop. Bees can draw and fill a box of foundation in a week. If the boxes are not on and checked regularly, the beekeeper will never know what was lost.

With foundation, only one box should be added at a time and the hive should be airtight above the broods to conserve heat. When one box is mostly done, another can be added. Above if the present one is uncapped and under it if the bees got ahead of you.

When an excluder is used over a double, the double should be reversed when adding the first super if there is a sealed honey barrier above the brood in the top brood box of two inches or more.

Again, flows happens suddenly and can fill a box in days. predicting them is difficult, so the beekeeper should be ready from the time of first bloom in May for strong colonies and definitely sometime in June for slower colonies.


Calgary Beekeepers again...

Question: "i have a question. I'd like to stock on some drawn frames for brood chamber because some of mine are old and in case of swarm i have some ready and also for winter feed. Can I super one of my strong hive with and empty frame brood box instead of a regular super or is it better to add them to the existing brood box one or two at the time?  thanks in advance for the advice

Not sure what you are asking.

As for frames being old, actually the bees like old frames better than new ones and unless they are damaged, more than 10% drone comb, or diseased, they are perfectly fine to use.

Can you explain what you mean when you say, "empty frame brood box"? Do you mean foundation? If so, there are various ways to add foundation and none of those methods work as expected every time.

One thing that works for me is to remove a drawn outer frame from each side of the brood chamber(s) and replace it with a frame of foundation on each side. That gives me the drawn comb to use elsewhere and the foundation gets drawn if the flow is heavy. This works best with wax coated plastic foundation or one-piece frames as they can wait a year or so if the bees don't get to them right way. Wax foundation gets old fast if it is not drawn.

If you put a frame or two of foundation into a super of drawn combs, sometimes they are drawn well and sometimes the bees just fatten the other combs.

If you want to put on a whole box of foundation, do it at the beginning of a strong honeyflow or replace a filled honey super midway through the flow.

My afternoon was spent getting the new fridge.  I found one online and called the store.  They had one, a floor model and I said, fine.  I'll be over shortly.  I unloaded the trash barrels from the trailer, drove to Drum, and walked into The Brick.  The sales crew were standing around chatting. I was the only customer in the entire huge store.

I had spoken to Len on the phone and I expected him to be ready.  We walked to the fridge.  It had a $699 sticker. Len said, "Oh, I have to check the price".  

I had found the price online that very morning and that was what made me drop everything and drive to Drum and I had confirmed the price with him on the phone. I said, "Don't jerk me around."

Anyhow, minutes later, we had the fridge loaded, and for the advertised price.

I drove home and had to figure how to manhandle the heavy fridge up and into the house by myself.  It took some playing around as the trailer was a lot lower than the dock door, but I managed and shortly after, I had remove the old fridge and replaced it with the new one.

The new fridge is stainless steel and thus dark.  the old one is white. Although SS is all the rage, it is dark and prone to showing fingerprints. The new one also has a freezer on top and although that is handy, and may replace my stand-up freezer, it means I have to stoop to see into the part I use many times a day.

Anyhow, I am happy to have the problem solved.  I chilled and watched more Offspring and went to bed around ten-thirty.

Having watched several episodes now, I am puzzling out what makes the series appealing. To start, the actors are all very photogenic, with very mobile and expressive faces.  The camera work is subtle and captures the expressions perfectly.

I enjoy the absence of stereotypes and the absence of the usual tropes and prejudices.  I see non of the annoying wooden posing that has become standard in US productions.

I really don't know how long I'll keep watching this soap opera, but so far I am finding it harmless diversion.  The people are pleasant and the arc is entertaining.

Quote of the Day
Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
Thomas Hobbes

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Friday June 14th 2019

Today A few showers ending near noon then a mix of sun and cloud with 30 percent chance of showers. Risk of a thunderstorm. Local amount 5 mm. Wind becoming north 20 km/h gusting to 40 near noon. High 22. UV index 7 or high.
Tonight Mainly cloudy with 30 percent chance of showers. Risk of a thunderstorm this evening. Wind north 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low 12.

I'm up at 0830.  My weight is down to 232.0 and my BG is 6.3.  Both are a considerable improvement over when I came home from the coast

Today is cool and breezy.  I turned up the furnace.

Somehow the day slips by.  I read and wrote and made a stew, then now at 2:45 in the afternoon, I am about to go to town to get the flat fixed, get gas, buy a few groceries and pick up items at the accountant's.

We had heavy rain in the morning, but the sun came out at noon and the afternoon is warming nicely. I put away the van and trailer and noticed the stag in the hedge just north of me.

Question: I currently have two deeps with drawn comb, but have started to checkerboard the upper deep with foundation frames...

I really do not recommend checkerboarding and have had debates with the originator over its application, especially for inexperienced beekeepers due to the many possible downsides.

Question: Allen, a quick follow up question. When I add the supers with only foundation, you mentioned they should be one at a time and airtight. Does airtight mean you would put a barrier between the brood boxes and the super with foundation, or do you add a barrier like canvas with a hole?

I am trying to say not to have upper ventilation. You want that new super to stay warm day and night. Even short-term cooling will set the comb building back. The new super should be fully exposed to the brood chamber heat and depending on your style, an excluder can be omitted for better acceptance.

If the flow can come on so strong that the bees can draw and fill a box in a week, how often are you looking in your hives to assess the level of fill? Are they a full assessment or just a quick check.

Just lift the lid briefly. If there are bees on all top bars, then a closer look is in order. Otherwise, just close the lid again and look again any time you see bees active and especially if they are hanging out.

Hanging out is good sign that the flow is on and the bees are building comb.


Question: Attached are photos I took of two drones in the grass out front of my hive with deformed wings. My beekeeping mentor has helped me with a plan, but I wanted to share for the good of the group. I understand that these wing deformities can be caused by mites, and we will likely treat the hive before the main flow arrives.

Background: These drones have hatched recently from a nuc received at the end of May. The parent hive was treated with Oxalic acid, and does not show the same wing deformity on the drones. My worker bees are not showing the same issues as the drones, as far as I can tell. I only found the drones from hearing them foundering in the grass in front of the hive.

What treatment method is most suited to this situation. I've been reading about vapour and strips for mites. Any thoughts? Maybe not mite related? 
Should I do a hive inspection and test for mites, or just go ahead and treat?

By the time you see significant DWV, chances are that the varroa load is pretty high. At this time of year, the options for varroa control are limited if you plan to produce honey.

Also, since two-thirds of the varroa are likely to be in brood, the efficacy of treatments will be limited. Apivar to the extent it is still working is the most probable solution, but the hive cannot be supered during or shortly after treatment. (Read the label).

If that route is chosen then the only option is to split to the point where the hives will only produce enough honey for themselves. No surplus.

That is not a bad thing, though, because you can sell hives next year and the prices I see suggest hive production is more profitable than honey.

Otherwise, the options are approaches like drone comb mite trapping, but that is a slow and most effective as proactive treatment, not one to use when the horse has already left the barn.

Oxalic drizzle is cheap, safe, easy, and considered organic by most. Although it has been said that it should not be repeated more than once every few weeks, a beekeeper I respect (albeit in Florida) has reported that he has done it repeatedly without harm as long as the bees are well fed by a flow. The reasons are beyond this discussion, but the thought is that the bees must not consume the oxalic syrup or they will be harmed. During a flow or when well fed, they won't, but when hungry, they might. The syrup is intended to be applied the oxalic on the bees' exterior, not to be consumed.

Following the instructions is very important. People experimenting with different vehicles and concentrations have damaged colonies.

Oxalic evaporation is another possible solution, but has to be repeated every five days at least five times for much effect at this time of year.

MAQS may be a solution.

At any rate, actually measuring your mite load with an alcohol wash is very desirable and bound to be educational. If the alcohol idea does not appeal, then a sugar shake will give a rough idea of what you have and a later test will tell you if your treatment worked.


When smoking bees many beekeepers either do not make certain that the smoker is making lots of cool dense smoke first, or when smoking fail to get the smoke to the bees. Smoking over their heads or around them does little.

Proper smoking does not require making a lot of smoke, but the smoke has to reach the bees.

When smoking at the entrance, smoke all across the entrance, wait a few moments and repeat the smoking.

When smoking under the lid, tilt up the lid, give a puff or two and close it, then wait. Look under again and if there is still hostility, repeat the process.

Then, when lifting the lid off, be prepared to send some smoke between the frames if any bees act aggressive.

If even then the bees are cross, close the hive and return another day when the bees are flying and the older bees are out working.

Be careful not to oversmoke the bees. The idea is to disorient them, not to stun them or burn their wings off.

My tomato plants are blooming.

I went to town and now the tire is fixed.

I'm feeling much better.  I don't know what had me down, but I have gotten over the fatigue it seems.

I spent an hour and half after supper reconciling the accounts and am headed out to check on the hive that was not raising a queen.  If they did not start one this time, I'll have to combine them back with the parent.  I should also get treating.  I have the oxalic and I do have Apivar and Apistan.  I'm loaded for bear.

Well, by the time I finished the bookkeeping I planned, it was eight and I know from experience that is a bad time to work bees.  The field force is home and looking for trouble.  Night is when skunks bother bees, so if there is one around, they are waiting for her.

So, I'm doing some tidying and plan to watch some Netflix before bed.

Quote of the Day
If you want the present to be different from the past, study the past.
Baruch Spinoza

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Saturday June 15th 2019

Today Sunny this morning and early this afternoon then a mix of sun and cloud with 30 percent chance of showers late this afternoon. Risk of a thunderstorm late this afternoon. Wind becoming northwest 20 km/h near noon. High 22. UV index 8 or very high.
Tonight Partly cloudy with 30 percent chance of showers early this evening then clear. Risk of a thunderstorm early this evening. Wind northwest 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 9.

I'm up at 0545.  My weight is down to 231.4.0 but my BG is 7.0. I really don't understand the fluctuations in BG.

The day is bright and sunny, so far.

It's always nice to hear from readers...

allen good to read your talking about your bees again I know its maybe short live and you will most likely loose interest again and I understand why so many years of being a commercial bee keeper I guess anyone would get burned out with it just wanted to say hello and mention that take care troy

I've quit obsessing about the lawn.  That was one of my main worries when I returned home, but I realise my priorities have changed and that all I need to do is cut often enough to keep weeds down and to have a fire guard.  Cutting also keeps the mice and voles away.  Just the same, I do need to get started before long.

I still am unable to get the Acer to update.  That computer has cost me a lot of time and trouble and this is just the latest hitch.  I'm trying several other approaches, but am finding this an annoying time waster. After I installed the SSD the machine ran well for a while, but slowed again.  Seems some of the drive's capabilities are not activated and there does not seem to be a way.

At eight, I lay down again and slept 45 minutes.  That has been my pattern lately. Sleep at night, get up, have coffee and breakfast, do some work, then have a nap.

It is nine now and I am headed outside. C emailed that she is ready to go for a walk, so we did that. Then the weather turned dark for a while and I did some desk work.

I manage a few clients' websites and usually it is not a lot of work, but somehow one site reverted to an old appearance with items missing. I don't know if there were server problems and the server crew did a refresh from a backup  or somehow I goofed up.  Whatever the reason, it took me about four hours on and off to be sure I had restored it to the proper version from a backup I have locally.  Although it was mostly current, double-checking takes time. Anyhow, that is done and I am glad to see that done.

It is three now and I have moved everything into the new fridge from the freezer.  It occurs to me that maybe now I don't need the upright freezer any more. When the kids were home and we bought quantities, the freezer was essential, considering the nearest store is fifteen miles away

Aaron wrote and wondered if I am going to Apimondia. I said probably not.  It is in Montreal in September and costly to attend. I also have too many other irons in the fire.

Miguel wrote and says my new keel will not be shipped until the 28th.  I fly into San Jose on the 27th and even if the keel only takes a day or two to get to La Paz, the boat won't launch for a week after that as the keel has to be put on and the bottom painted.  They might surprise me, but I am not counting on it.  Any surprises are likely to be on the downside.

I do have options.  Although I bought a non-refundable fare, being Gold, I may be able to change it for later.  The other option is to go as planned and take a room for a week.  It does not have to be in La Paz, either.  I can rent a car and see the area or just take a room in San Jose.

I'm now headed outside again to play...

I glanced out the window and guess what I saw looking at the pond.

Look what happens when you don't cut the grass...

You get neighbours.

I moved the trailer away from the house and coiled the straps.  Then I went our to check the queenless split.  I had given it a frame with eggs and larvae the other day and even broken down several cells as a hint as per Mel Disselkoens notching to produce cells.

At this point, the only solution is to recombine the splits, so that is what I did.  Really, nothing is lost but time.

I'll either raise a cell or find one or just repeat the splitting again and hope for better luck.  Whatever kept the bees from raising cells will have been overpowered by the influences in the stronger queenright hive. 

Did I have laying workers?  Not that I can see, and I looked.  Sometimes bees just don't feel like raising queens. That's my explanation.  Others might make up a better story, though.

It's 8 and I am not feeling like watching Netflix and I don't much feel like working.  Maybe I'll just wander around and see what I find to do.  The is no lack of things that need doing. The question is, though, do I feel like doing them?

I sat at the computer and thought I'd meditate a bit. Half an hour later, I woke up and realised I'd been asleep, so I went to bed.

I slept an hour or two, then got up and listened to some Spanish lessons and ordered more. I ate some greek yogurt and went back to bed, then realised I was experiencing allergies and took two Benadryl, listened to more lessons with my phone on sleep timer...

Quote of the Day
Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.

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Sunday June 16th 2019

Today Sunny this morning then a mix of sun and cloud with 30 percent chance of showers this afternoon. Risk of a thunderstorm this afternoon. Fog patches dissipating this morning. High 24. UV index 8 or very high.
Tonight Partly cloudy. 30 percent chance of showers early this evening with risk of a thunderstorm. Clearing overnight. Low 10.

I slept until 0835 and got up.  I now weigh 230.8, so my mass is dropping quickly. When I returned home on the 10th, I massed 235.0. That is 4.2 pounds in six days. My BG this AM is 7.2, however.

Austin had told me about a 9AM Sunday morning Cowichan Valley amateur radio net on VHF that he checks by Echolink, so I thought I would try listening.

I managed to connect with Austin but due to lag or some glitch was not able to check the net. No matter, it was not a marine net, but just a local Cowichan area check-in net.

Austin and I then got talking about boats and I was able to give him some advice about zincs and divers. 

That takes me to 10:35 and the day is looking bright.

I read news in the morning and most of what I hear from our prime minister is idiotic. That is not to say that the government has not done some intelligent and sensible things, but this guy and his environment minister are complete embarrassments.  His finance minister is not much better, but at least keeps a low profile.

Trudeauís 'plastic ban' wonít help the environment. It could actually harm it instead

Canada contributes almost zero ocean plastic and only a tiny amount of the worldwide so-called greenhouse gasses.

For some reason, these prominent figures overestimate the impact that Canada has on the world and cannot weigh the relative importance and urgency of various issues.  Moreover, they constantly virtue-signal and repeat meaningless and irrelevant mantras whenever asked reasonable questions.

If this guy is not bad enough, since it is clear the populace is wising up and about ready turf him, there are rumours the Liberals are thinking of recruiting Mark Carney. We are headed for dark ages unless the worm turns, as it so often does.

I have some tidying to do, then plan to go downstairs. The day is turning dull, so I am now working on upgrading the Acer again, this time using the Media Creation Tool. I'll let it run while I am downstairs and outside.

I have no perspective.  I just spent a half-hour fixing an umbrella.

16 Surprising Things You Can Do with Google Maps

C emailed and we did the one-mile walk around town.  At three, the day was getting warm but C is in better shape today.  We did the whole circuit with hardly a pause. 

On walking back up my driveway, I was admiring my lawn in its full glory.  The grass is going to seed and the dandelions are just finishing for the year. I'll be cutting it before long.

I have yet to decide if I will leave on the 27th and fly to the Cape or change plans.  That will affect how soon I cut. 

On my return, I see the Acer is 68% thru this attempt at upgrading to 1903.  After three previous tries using Windows Update, I have decided to use the Media creation Tool.

Every time previously the process has appeared to complete, but either shut down at the end or took me to the page that asks about my keyboard -- a bad sign and then goes to a recovery screen where my only valid choice is to shut down.  On restart Windows Update acts as if the next time is the first time.

I decided today that weighing myself is a good indicator, but a scale is not always available and the mass does not necessarily show what I really need to know.  Finding a bag of belts from my past awoke me to the fact that my girth has increased again over the past year.  A tape measure is likely a better indicator.

Mark Carney and Michael Bloomberg's 'sustainable' scheme to dismantle Canada's economy

It has become very obvious that Canada is being picked on and the reason why is not obvious.  The most likely reason I can see is that Canada is prosperous and easy to bully.  Low-hanging fruit.  Try picking on the US or China.  Good luck with that.  Canada, easy target.  Our politicians are easily manipulated and distracted from protecting Canadian interests.  Our prime minister is especially naive as we have seen over an over.

I guess one goal is to drive up the price of fossil fuels to make alternatives more competitive. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Russia and other major producers can't be bullied. Venezuela has already been driven into the ground. Iraq is a mess as is Libya.  Coincidence?  Maybe.

Is Canada next on that list?  Maybe a complete disaster is not in the plan, but there is a movement to lower the living standards in rich countries and raise them in the poorer ones.

Anyhow, what is really obvious is that this deliberate and well-orchestrated sabotage is backed and financed by some very rich men, and that they only grow richer themselves and increase their grasp while recruiting and using naive segments of the populace to further their goals in the streets.

> Sometimes bees just don't feel like raising queens. That's my explanation.

Could there be a virgin, maybe with damaged wings?

I think not.  There is no sign they ever built any cells.

Myself, 2 walk away splits at 26 days, no sign of brood.
But they were not making "unhappy noise", so I gave a frame

Mine sounded queenless and they had two chances, so I combined them back.  I'll try again later, maybe. Otherwise I'm going to have to extract. Uggh. 

They are now in five boxes.  The fifth is an extra, but they will boom unless I split them again.  I figure I can split an anytime before July.

I also have a almost vicious hive to deal with, definitely have suit up for it. Not sure of the best method.

Try midday on a sunny day when they are foraging. Use lots of cool dense smoke.  Blow it in the door and under the lid, then wait.  After a minute or two, repeat.  They should be okay to work. 

If they are still really nasty, beak them into singles, each on a floor, and walk away for a day.  They should be more approachable then.

You can then work them and recombine if you like.

After a few hours and much effort, the Acer upgrade failed. 

At least this time I have an explanation.

I wasted another hour in the event viewer and the various logs and conclude there is a permissions issue.  I also concluded it is beyond me and that I really don't see anything in the computer that successfully upgraded to suggest that 1903 is a noticeable step up.  Maybe in a while it will install by itself.

For now, I give up.

I paid my taxes online, watched Netflix and went to bed at midnight.

Quote of the Day
Catch a man a fish, and you can sell it to him.
Teach a man to fish, and you ruin a wonderful business opportunity.
Karl Marx

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Monday June 17th 2019

Today Sunny. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud this afternoon. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h gusting to 40 this afternoon. High 27. UV index 8 or very high.
Tonight Partly cloudy. Becoming clear early this evening. Increasing cloudiness before morning. Wind southeast 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light overnight. Low 12.

I'm up at 0830. Breakfast is egg whites with mushrooms, celery, onion and broccoli. Looking ahead ten days, the weather looks great today, but gets cool and wet Wednesday and Thursday and stays cool.  If I'm going to cut grass, I had better get on  it now.  I need hot dry weather or I'll have terrible clumping.

The day has warmed to 18 degrees and is breezy. I had some web work to do and am now headed downstairs.

I opened the shop doors for air and light and hoisted the tractor on end to acess the bottom to do the belt change.

I had expected to have some issues with the motor pulley, but it slipped nicely down the shaft, allowing me to put on the belt without the issues I has seen on YouTube.  I see, however that engine oil has been running down the shaft and will damage the belt if I cannot somehow stop it.

The problem could be the shaft seal or maybe some simple thing like a loose plug.  I'll check.  If it is the seal, I'll add some seal conditioner to the oil when I change it.

Next, I lower the tractor and put on the cutting deck.

Although the job is straightforward, mounting the deck is always a miserable job due to the need to align several rods and line up cotter pins with the holes.

Well, the mower is back together and the engine runs.  I have yet to engage the mower deck as the unit is indoors. 

I'm charging the battery and resting a few moments.  Then comes the moment of truth.

On 2019-06-17 9:56 a.m., Steven wrote:

> This is a good discussion topic. We are experiencing similar good productive hives in our apiary right now. Taking good practice steps to manage swarming though reversing brood boxes to making a couple of splits and also providing space with one or even two supers on all hives already. All hives are doing very well including the splits which are already filling an upper brood box from three weeks ago. The abundant dandelion crop this year has been a boon for the hives. The parent hives of the splits have recovered population and brood. Upon a thorough inspection this past weekend we found 8 queen cups in one hive around the face of one frame and along the bottom. Did not see any royal jelly in them. The other parent hive had a very clear, large and advanced closed queen cell. We removed this frame with another containing mixed stages of brood and larvae and installed in a nuc box hoping it will produce a spare queen. Those frames were replaced with foundation frames to provide more space to hopefully prevent swarming. Perhaps in retrospect the hive was replacing this queen that was from a 2018 package?
> We do not really want to expand our number of hives any further but have some concern about how to manage swarming and superceding.

I wrote:

When there is only one cell, the intent is very probably supersedure.  Keep an eye on the parent colony and see what happens.  If the queen is failing, just combine back one of the splits.

As for swarm control, an easy method is to split in spring and recombine the colonies later, after swarming season.  The recombined colony will be strong and winter well.

To recombine after the flows in early September, just remove all supers from both, and stack up the boxes with brood and bees to make one hive.  No need to look for queens.  They'll figure that out themselves. After a few weeks, the cluster will be in only one or two, maybe three, boxes and any extras can be taken away when preparing for winter in October.

Looking at my calendar, I see I am booked to fly in ten days from now, but the boat will not be ready until the fifth at the earliest and more likely the eighth.

Stampede begins on the 5th, so maybe I should change my flight  I have a week to decide.  Right now it looks as if I will get the grass cut, but I'll know better once I lower the tractor, attach the deck and cut a bit.

I started the mower, climbed up the slope from the shop onto the level and  and engaged the cutter deck.  The engine stalled.  A quick examination showed that one end of one new blade I had installed was contacting the deck and stalling the belts.

I got the other tractor and lifted the mower enough to reach under and ground a tiny bit off the one end, checked for clearance, and lowered the mower.

I started it again and the cutters worked as expected, so I mowed a few rounds just to make sure that things are working and came in for my earplugs.  It's 1614 and I'm thinking I may ruin to town for a break.  I'll mow a bit later when things cool down.

I returned by six and and mowed until after eight, then came in. Before bedtime, I watched more Offspring and went to bed around midnight.

Quote of the Day
Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
Soren Kierkegaard

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Tuesday June 18th 2019

Today Increasing cloudiness early this morning. 30 percent chance of showers with risk of a thunderstorm. Wind becoming north 20 km/h gusting to 40 near noon. High 24. UV index 7 or high.
Tonight Cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers this evening and after midnight. Showers beginning after midnight. Risk of a thunderstorm this evening and overnight. Amount 10 to 15 mm. Low 11.

I awoke at two, and, sure enough, I was suffering allergies from mowing.  This predictable.  I also had a sore hip. I took an aspirin and two Benadryl, flushed my sinuses, or tried to, stayed up until three, then went to bed. 

When I mow, the dusts affect me.  I had bought dust masks earlier and wore one. Maybe it did some good, but this style leaks up around the nose, and of course my beard holds it off my face a bit elsewhere. I still had a reaction.

When I have to hold an accelerator pedal for periods of time, in a car, or mowing, that hip bothers me.  Otherwise it never does.  I also noticed a bump on that hip like the ones I reported earlier.

Sometime around five-thirty, my phone rang twice.  I could see it was Mom, so I phoned her back. She said she had been checking missed calls and must have dialed accidentally.

Now I was a wake and the hip was really bothering me.  The Mexican 500 mg aspirin I had taken earlier was not doing the trick.  I have some naproxen , so I took 250 mg tablet and a shot of rum and next I knew it is 0930.  My hip is not bothering me and my sinuses are clear.

The day is overcast and I see it rained.  I had left the mower out, uncovered and the tractor, too. Will I be able to mow today, or will it be too wet all day?

When there is only one cell, the intent is very probably supersedure. Keep an eye on the parent colony and see what happens. If the queen is failing, just combine back one of the splits.

As for swarm control, an easy method is to split in spring and recombine the colonies later, after swarming season. The recombined colony will be strong and winter well.

To recombine after the flows in early September, just remove all supers from both, and stack up the boxes with brood and bees to make one hive. No need to look for queens. They'll figure that out themselves. After a few weeks, the cluster will be in only one or two, maybe three, boxes and any extras can be taken away when preparing fro winter in October.

>>To recombine after the flows in early September, just remove all
>> supers from both, and stack up the boxes with brood and bees
>> to make one hive.
>> (etc...)

> I know that such procedure can be done in theory, and in most cases, practice as well.

It was standard practice to combine any questionable hives in September in my outfit and I don't know how many hundreds of all sorts I've combined without any noticeable problems. Strong, weak, both, it does not matter.

The only thing that matters is that the days have to be warm and there has to be a flow, even a weak one, but come to think of it, I have done it in December and January with colonies clustered and it worked. Just don't do it when the bees are robbing and fighting. Common sense?

> But it is not without its risk. Combining two strong, queenright colonies in late summer or early Fall can result in one dead queen and one badly injured queen.

The literature claims many things that are not true or only true sometimes somewhere. I have never seen it. Done when there is a flow and bees are not inclined to fight, the two queens lay together peaceably until such time as one disappears. It is quite common to have two queens in a hive but most never notice because they quit looking after finding one.

My son had heard about emerging queens fighting to the death, so when he found a swarming hive with many emerging queens, he took some and put them together to watch the match. They ignored one another. I guess they did not read the book.

> That can happen any time, but at that time of year raising or buying a new queen can be dicey.

Actually Ed Farr used to requeen all his hives in September. Queens can be had, but there is no need.

> And I wonder about the notion that the super-strong colony that results will cluster itself into just one or even two boxes, especially before freeze-up.

As I said, I did it all the time, but YMMV.

> Combining questionable or weak hives is certainly common practice.
> But you talked about combining two strong, queen right hives. Not
> during the honey flow, but after. I've seen it done, though I've not
> done it. And I've seen it fail, with emergency cells being built a
> week after the manipulation. One can get away with almost anything
> during a strong flow. But after?

Here is what I actually said:
"The only thing that matters is that the days have to be warm and there
has to be a flow, even a weak one, but come to think of it, I have done
it in December and January with colonies clustered and it worked. Just
don't do it when the bees are robbing and fighting. Common sense?"

I also said September, not October. There has to be a period of several
weeks to a month for brood to hatch and the combined colony to re-form.

The second case -- December and January -- is very different as the bees
are semi-dormant.

> I do all kinds of manipulations in Spring and Summer. But as I tell
> folks all the time, after the main flow, keep hands off. I see a lot
> of folks hives get strong, produce well, and then die before
> Christmas because someone told them they had to do this or that
> inspection/manipulation before winter prep.

That is good advice and advice I give also.  I did not recommend rooting
through boxes and rearranging frames.

I said to handle entire boxes. The process takes only minutes. As for
when to do it, I said after swarming season, so it can be done any time
the supers are coming off anyhow -- or earlier if you happen to like lifting boxes.

I am also assuming two hives with related queens sitting side by side
as recommended when describing splitting and outlining a method.
In such cases many bees are known to visit both hives and process is
much like pulling the excluder on a two-queen colony.

My understanding is that laying mated queens seldom fight. When queens
disappear, it is usually the work of workers and their reasons can vary.
At any rate, my advice, as always, is if you have doubts, don't do it.

> And I wonder about the notion that the super-strong colony that results will cluster itself into just one or even two boxes, especially before freeze-up.

I don't think I ever suggested that, and I am not even sure that is desirable. I often winter in three or even four boxes. Sometimes I have been known to winter colonies in five if they seemed to need the space. Extra boxes below raise the colony up and away from the floor that seems to be a good thing.

I have never had very good luck wintering in singles although I know many who seem happy with the results.

In my experience, the more space given a wintering hive, within reason, the larger it will be in spring.

> Just out of curiosity, Allen, why would you combine colonies in December/January?

I can't recall. Maybe I just figured they were too weak to be sure of making it through.

The combined colony has a much better chance of survival and being strong enough to split in spring.

I have notes, but would have to look it up. Anyhow, I do recall that it worked out fine.

I guess I should stipulate that much of what I write assume a basic understanding for bees and ability to read what they are saying, but I do try to keep my comments simple and relatively idiot-proof -- and , explain the important details clearly.

At some point all this becomes instinctive.

Also, it may be too the perspective of commercial beekeeper with 100s or 1,000s of hives and many years of experience tends to be less worried about a single failure than a person with one precious hive and only book reading or the Internet for understanding.

I realise that some are very cautious and risk adverse and others bold and devil-may-care. I like to think I fall somewhere in between.

Ten days from today, I'll be arriving at San Jose del Cabo unless I change my plans.  I'm guessing I will.

Today feels like a weekend.  I don't know why.

The mower would not start, so for the first time, I decided to pull the starter off and look it over.  I cleaned the drive  and put it back on and had no luck. One little 25-cent rubber piece is the cause of all this inconvenience. Of course, it is not available anywhere.  One must buy the entire starter.

I took it off again and decided to phone around and look online.  I could get a replacement online for a cheap as $86, but delivery would be four days and as it seems to work out, maybe five.


I found a starter in Crossfield for $305 and drove over to get it. At this point, I don't want to fool around and wait.  I came home to cut grass and I leave again in ten days, so I am through waiting.

100 miles and $207 plus tax later, it took five minutes to install the new one, and I regret not buying one sooner.  The machine starts right for the first time in ages and the starter sounds like a starter, not a grinder.

 As I worked, I noticed that this machine is now ten years old.  The date on the old starter is 2008.  Time flies.

I cut a few rounds and came in for a break.  Thunderstorms are circling, but nothing is happening here, yet.

I cut grass until nine and quit for the day.  here is my handiwork.  It looks good, but I also liked it before the cutting. I wonder when and where lawn mowing became the expected way.  I know in parts of the US desert south and Mexico, grass lawns are the exception.


This is a first cut and it is ragged in places. After the cuttings dry, I'll cut again.  I see I did not cut at all last fall and there is a lot of dead grass under the green  I'll have to look back in the diary and see why.

Looking south at sundown after mowing

I watched a bit of Offspring and went to bed at ten-thirty

Quote of the Day
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep;
I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.
Alexander the Great

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Wednesday June 19th 2019

Today Periods of rain. Risk of a thunderstorm this morning and early this afternoon. Amount 5 to 10 mm. Wind east 30 km/h becoming light this morning. Wind becoming northwest 40 gusting to 60 late this morning. High 13. UV index 2 or low.
Tonight Periods of rain. Wind northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40. Low 8.

Just as I went to sleep last night, the lightning and thunder began. Heavy rain began later. I woke up several times during the night, but went back to sleep. I dozed from daybreak. 

I dreamed I was in a city which  appeared to be a blend of Sudbury, Calgary and Vancouver.  I parked my pale blue car on a north/south street and walked south to downtown.  I had noted my location in respect to a brightly coloured shopping centre visible north of me a block or so.

One of my kids was with me at various points in the dream.  At one point, I walked into an Information Technology magazine press room and chatted with the writers.  They did not remember me at first until we went back a few decades

Then I went back to the car, but I seemed have forgotten the location.  Maybe it was on a parallel street that converged with the others near the shopping centre? Had the car been towed?

I consulted my computer (a combination laptop and tablet that seemed to have raised edges like a tray and water on the bottom the screen) about my parking location, but it was not responding and I realised I could not remember how to call up maps because I was asleep.

My daughter helped me and about then I changed the channel or woke up.

When I got up at 0645, rain was pelting hard on the skylights.

The same scene in morning after overnight thunderstorms and rain.  The rain continues...

I'm feeling fine today.  Weight is down to 230.2 and BG is 6.5. No congestion, no hip pain. I have dry eyes, however.

Neither my weight or my BG are near ideal, but the past weeks, they have been trending in the right direction.

I'm glad I did three hours of cutting last night and that I covered the mower with a tarp when I came in. I don't know when things will dry out enough to do more mowing.  I'm about one third done, if we figure I'll re-cut everything to spread the clippings and deal with the tufts.

I'm catching up on organizing the house and my files today seeing as it is wet, windy, and cool out.  I see things are dying out, though, so if the rain does not resume, maybe I'll be able to do more cutting later today.

I'm also contemplating holding a Summer Solstice party on Saturday.

Okay.  It is settled.  I'm having a bonfire.  Now I just have to get a permit.

I had a nap and turned on the radio. First up was an interview with high school student who was involved in marches for the "Fight Against Climate change". I found this intriguing on many levels. Apparently his Mom had been asked to speak at some climate event and of course he is a believer.  If only we could stop pipelines, the world would saved.  I am wondering where the kids are getting their information.  I'm afraid that it may be the schools. I have sincere doubts that anything Canada does will have even the tiniest effect on anything except Canada's economy. As to whether it will have positive effects on the environment, I have my doubts.  Prosperity matters. The better off people are, the more they begin to be concerned about the environment. Poor people don't care.  Survival comes first.

Kids have always been worried about the future and each generation thinks that attacking the achievements of the previous generations is a good niche, and provides natural instigators a pulpit and an audience.

I got to wondering if any of the people who are so excited and certain about "Climate Change" have actually read the IPCC report, so I looked it up.  I figured if I am going to fault the believers then I should read the material myself. Apparently there are a few reports, but here is the latest. 

Global warming of 1.5įC. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5įC above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty

I was shocked.  I was expecting a scientific paper, but what I found is pure propaganda and clearly a political manifesto.  Moreover the website is horribly formatted and hard to look at.  It is obviously not intended for critical appraisal. It is intended to confuse. If their science is as awful as the website, then that explains a lot.

Frankly, this 'report' is a scary assault on industrial societies, with dumbed down summaries for media and policymakers.  My impression is that it meant to be believed, not read.

I got to thinking about my Mom's tablet.  It is very slow and inadequate, so started looking.  I wound up ordering a dual SIM 3G 10.1 inch tablet on Amazon for $130 CAD. I'll see what I think and if it is good, I'll give it to Mom.

I find shopping fills me with indecision when I have incomplete information -- which is almost always -- and I have resolved to be more decisive. I give myself a time limit for equivocation and have decided to decide.

The tablets I looked at have Android 7.0 which is older and have only 3G, not LTE, but my Public Mobile account is 3G and I don't really see a difference.

The one I chose is has 4GB RAM and 64GB storage and quad core 2GHz processors and good reviews so I took the leap.

The day has cleared and the lawn looks dry, but the wind is up and I know if I mow, I'll get covered with chaff on the turns, so I am waiting.

As I listen to the radio, I can hardly believe the full court press our Federal Government is making on the Climate Change (Now 'Climate Crisis') front, raising the ante and supported by their lapdog, the CBC.

Is it my imagination, or is this topic trending to hysteria.  Am I just paying too much attention to media -- and maybe Google is flooding me with 'climate' and Trudeau 'news' since I have read some of the offerings?

Lately, it seems that all attempts at a balanced conversation have gone out the window. Opposition parties have no choice by join the conversation on the biased terms as they have been framed*. Two have chosen to double down, and the one who might save us is equivocating.  No one dares say the Emperor has no (or only hypothetical) clothes. To do so would be unthinkable about now.

In Canada, we are increasingly becoming intent on spitting into the wind and scuttling our economy, and all for almost zero effect. Right now, I'll trade two Trudeaus for one Trump.

For all his faults, Trump is not intent on destroying his country and virtue signaling.  He is dealing with issues that have been allowed to accumulate to his country's detriment under the rush to Globalize.  With Trump, people should pay more attention to what he does and less to what he says.  His talk keeps the chattering classes confused and busy; he is a master of misdirection.

Our guy is already into a post-national world and is intent on dismantling Canada, right in front of us and with the co-operation of naive and well-intentioned masses.  Fact, and "Lest We Forget", through all of history, this is a hostile, dog-eat-dog world much of the time and our current freedoms were won with blood and tears. 

The world is for the most part in a relatively peaceful period but if history is any indication, we cannot expect it to last. The current generation has forgotten what it took to get us to where they can have the leisure and confidence to bite the hand that feeds them. I fear for the future, but not because of climate change.

How easy it is to forget that Canada has benefitted from climate change thus far.  Our growing seasons have lengthened and the weather has improved over the last centuries. Granted, there are regions that suffer from that same change, but it has always been so.

Here's a funny story:

I withdrew some funds for a cash purchase and had to go on a trip before that opportunity came up and decided I should conceal it somewhere because I did not want to carrying it around.  So, I stashed it somewhere I figured I would not forget, but when I returned I simply could not remember where I had put it.

I examined in my mind all the places I had considered and looked high and low to no avail. I then tried various mind tricks to recall, but as we all know, the harder we press ourselves, the more elusive that memory gets. I even considered hypnotism.

I finally gave up and figured that it would turn up eventually, or if not, someone someday going through my things would have a nice surprise, assuming that inflation had not rendered that cash worthless or that the hiding place was not thrown into the trash. I also figured (hoped) that without any pressure I would stumble on it "accidentally". 

So, tonight I was tidying and decided to file some papers and guess what?  There it was, in one of the files. How about that?

The day is sunny now and the wind is dying. The grass looks dry but it is getting late to go out.

While I am in reflective mood, maybe I should lay out the summer. I'm listening to Mindi Abair and Booker T on Spotify.

First, I am off to La Paz, on the 28th or later if I put it off a bit.   My new keel should be there and the boat refitted and ready to launch. I usually take the shuttle to La Paz from SJD but am thinking this time to take the bus. That will be an adventure in itself.  Alternately, I could rent a car and explore.

How long I'll be in Mexico, is hard to say. I might fly to Tijuana on the way home and visit Jon and family in Laguna Beach, but following that I want to be in Ontario in early August to visit Mom, go to camp and to sail the North channel. I have an eye appointment in late August, so I'll likely be home around then.  Last year I was booked as a captain and teaching in August and September, so maybe something like that will show up. Predictions are hard to make, especially about the future.

* RE: Framing.  I can't find a really good link. Past knowledge is fading. 
Regardless, here it is: People naturally tend to gravitate to the centre on issues. Framing is a propaganda technique whereby a socially unacceptable statement or position is made to seem more reasonable by deliberately playing up a far more extreme statement that by comparison makes the original position seem to be middle of frame.

In my search for "Framed", I found this if you like Film Noire.

It's 2330 and I am off to bed.

Quote of the Day
For those with faith, no evidence is necessary;
for those without it, no evidence will suffice.
Thomas Aquinas

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Note: This is not the malicious extension recently reported.

Read yesterday's post

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