Saturday 10 April 2004
I'm retired now, and days or weeks may pass between beekeeping articles  I recommend visiting pages from previous years.

One Year ago | Two years ago | Three Years ago | Four Years ago | Forum | Sale | Home | Write me

I'm feeling much better now.

Today begins a new page, but be sure to check the previous page if you haven't been there lately.

Everything of importance has been said before by somebody who did not discover it.
Alfred North Whitehead

I'm looking for a new laptop.  My partial list of wants are:

Essential (declining in importance)

Less essential (declining in importance)


Fast frontside bus -  400 MHz or faster


Windows XP (preferably XP Professional)


Low battery draw and long battery life - 5 hours or more


Battery level indicator and power management.  Multiple batteries?  Low cost for extras & replacements.


Good set of management utilities (like Toshiba's)


Clear, large flat panel w native resolution - 1024x768 or better


Wireless G


V.90 or V.92 Modem (preferably not integrated)


DVD/CDRW Drive (preferably with write capability for CDR&RW)


At least two USB ports


Fast processor & 512 MB RAM




Video out: RGB & SVideo


Small power supply size & weight, preferably low voltage.  Car capability


Firewire connection


Attractive design and good brand name


Separate video RAM (not integrated), possibly with multiple monitor support


Price around or under $2,000 CAD ($US1,500)


Small size & light weight




Monitor connector


Printer jack (full size)


Good warranty.  (My gold card should double the mfrs warranty up to one extra year.)

I always wanted to be somebody, but I should have been more specific.
Jane Wagner, (and Lily Tomlin)

Batteries are always a hassle and the failure of the battery in my old machine was a major cause of my discarding it.  The cost of a new one was a significant percentage of the price of the a whole new machine.  Here are some references to battery articles.

CNET's guide to laptop batteries Glossary: how a battery works | Ten tips for the power hungry | Power and performance

I borrowed this chart from The Daily Reckoning, just for those who think that the problems facing US beekeepers over the past decade, and causing a decline in numbers, were due to mites or other pests, and not directly related to the increasingly strong US dollar during that period, a period which coincided with the emergence of increasingly strong low-cost competition from Argentina and China.

It should not take a rocket surgeon to see that US beekeepers have been struggling to sell a commodity item into a market where their labour costs are high, but competing foreign imports became dirt cheap.

This all changed over a year ago, and a reversal is underway, although the greenback still has a way to go before the US beekeeper is competitive with the rest of the world.  Additionally, the two countries that are the strongest competitors have currencies which are fairly closely pegged to the US dollar, so the hope for US beekeepers is that stronger currencies in Europe, Japan, and Canada will draw some or most of that competing supply which was flooding the USA. 

The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next. Ursula K. LeGuin

During the period in question, the Canadian dollar took a dive and protected Canadian producers from the kind of foreign competition that destroyed US profits. Now that the Canadian dollar is strong, Canadian beekeepers are starting to take a beating in the home market.  Fortunately, the levies that the US placed against China and Argentina do not apply to Canadian honey and they seem glad to share the protected US market with Canadian producers.

The bees loaded on Meijers' truck under a net

The cage in which they were shipped.  Note the feeder. The can has holes around the top and a chicken wire ladder which the bees use to go down to the soft foam chips which float on the syrup.

This morning, in a moment of weakness, I agreed to buy packages for 20 hives.  In mid-afternoon, Joe and Oene came by to drop them off.  We had coffee, and they were on their way.  Now I have to find some brood chambers and set them out.  Tonight the forecast is for +1C, then tomorrow, +19.  Tonight at dusk would be the best time to install, but I'm still getting over the flu.  We'll see.  If not tonight, then tomorrow night, since I would not risk an early morning or daytime install in the warm weather predicted.  Been there, done that, and seen he massive drifting that results if the bees fly before they get well settled in.

Well, around six, I got out and made up twenty brood chambers, found lids and pillows and reducers, and by nine, I was done.  All the bees were in their hives.  I haven't done this job by myself for many years.  It went well.  I placed one four-pack by the south door where the toolbox hive used to be.  I figured I need some pets.

So far I have not done anything to any of my overwintered hives, not did I put patties or feed on the packages.  I have no protein patties -- maybe I can get some tomorrow from Frank on my way to an Easter breakfast in Calgary, but I figure there should be no hurry.  From what I've read, the bees that eat pollen are 8 days old, and I doubt that there are many in the packages.  From the amount of comb drawn in the packages, the bees have been in there for about a week.  Nonetheless, I should put some patties on and feed some syrup soon.

I do promise to discuss the abstracts (above).  Soon.

I started writing about investing, since my focus has changed, but I haven't kept it up very well.  Maybe I'll get back to it, but so many do it much better than I.  All I can do is collect links to such writers.  Here is a guy who is worth a look, and makes me think, "What's the use?".

of the Day

"Magitime is useful online monitoring tool that provides each and every statistic and information about Online Internet Connections".  If you connect by dialup and have limits, maybe this will help.  It should also show if a dialer (more) (more) sneaks into your computer and gets active on your system.  (BTW, if you are on a high speed connection and do not need to have your computer connected to a phone line, unplug the phone line).

Gimp 2 is now out.  Gimp is a full-featured open source freeware image editor.

Today : Sunny with cloudy periods. High 17. UV index 4 or moderate.  / Tonight : Clear. Low minus 1. / Normals for the period : Low minus 3. High 10.

Sunday 11 April 2004
I'm retired now, and days or weeks may pass between beekeeping articles  I recommend visiting pages from previous years.

One Year ago | Two years ago | Three Years ago | Four Years ago | Forum | Sale | Home | Write me

People who throw kisses are hopelessly lazy. Bob Hope

Today I was tired and, rather than cleaning up, slept most of the morning.  In the afternoon, we talked about going to see jean & Chris, but it turned out that Jean has the flu and was not up to it.

of the Day

Today : Sunny with cloudy periods. High 19. UV index 5 or moderate. / Tonight : Clear. Low 5. / Normals for the period : Low minus 3. High 10.

Monday 12 April 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

I'm feeling a bit better again, and thinking of looking at the bees before the weather turns cool again over the next few days.  We may also decide to go see Jean & Chris, depending on how they feel.  I left a mess (right) around the hives when I installed the bees and have not gotten around to picking up yet.

I'm still waiting to find out exactly when the queens can come North.  I'll report here when I do find out.

The question of RFID -- radio identification tags -- for beehives came up on BEE-L recently.  Here is Jerry's post. Be sure to go back and forth along the thread.  Although I have not been moderating BEE-L, or participating much, I do read what interests me there daily.

I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately.
George Carlin

I'm playing with the layout of these pages again and I also reworked the topics list that has always been in the left panel, but has needed clarifying.  Hopefully it will now be more useful and accessible.  I've covered a lot of ground that is not reflected in the topics list, and some are of continuing interest.  Anyone reading through the diary and finding a topic that should be there, could let me know the exact date and I may get around to adding it. Write me

From a regular correspondent:

Hello Allen:

Read with interest your comments on CAPA and CFIA regarding the border opening to mainland queens.

I was wondering about these honey recalls and thinking imported honey would be inspected, tested upon arrival at the imported packers plant.  These recalls look to me like the honey was tested later, after it was blended hence the recall off the store shelves.  One of the rumors I heard was BeeMaid was complaining a lot to CFIA about getting the imported stuff tested.  Knowing how the government works I wonder how much contaminated honey they missed.

Keep up the good work.

Opinion: CFIA's action was, IMO, a cynical one.  CFIA actually benefited by appearing to protect the consumer, when in fact, the problem was due to their negligence in the first place.  If there really is a danger from the small amounts of drugs in the blended product, CFIA put the consumer at risk  by not screening product at time of entry. 

The corker is that, while CFIA gets off looking good, the cost of their incompetence is being borne by others.  The packers are out the honey and costs, the honey industry has had the word 'honey' associated again with bad things in the media.  All thanks to CFIA.

CFIA really missed the boat on the import inspections and allowed the contaminated product in -- in spite of widespread knowledge that there could be problems, and strong pressure from the industry to be more vigilant.  Then the packers were hit with the cost of recalls after unknowingly blending the contaminated honey with good honey.  Granted, both the drugs -- Chinese and Argentine -- were off the usual suspect list, but we have to ask, whose responsibility is it to make sure that the food coming into our country is safe?  The buyer's?  or CFIA's?

I suppose there is some shared responsibility, but clearly the vastly largest portion has to be CFIA's.  If CFIA were demonstrably short handed and not obviously wasting time with restricting bee imports rather than toxic food imports and if they had managed to do a good job of getting our tracking system for cattle working in time to make the BSE episode as trivial as it should have been, and if they were focusing on real threats like food coming over the border from countries with unknown standards, instead of harassing those beekeepers and packers with registered honey establishments over picayune and immaterial details, I'd be a bit sympathetic.  However, given what I have seen of their work, I have little respect for the organisation.  Again, I have to say that there are some outstandingly competent and motivated people in CFIA.  While I have limited respect for CFIA, I do salute these individuals for their outstanding work to keep our food safe.

While contemplating the actions of CFIA, consider this.  What exactly is USDA saying?  They are afraid of false positives?  True positives?  What do they know that we don't?

Today : Sunny with cloudy periods. High 22. UV index 5 or moderate. / Tonight : Cloudy periods. Wind northwest 20 km/h becoming light near midnight. Low 1. / Normals for the period : Low minus 2. High 11.

Tuesday 13 April 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

Another perspective:


The reason for the delay by CFIA in recalling the Argentine honey is that the CFIA did not have the methodology for testing for the nitrofurons until very recently, and I think that is why honey with NF's were shipped into Canada, because the exporters/ importers knew it wasn't being tested for.  Well, they got the surprise now; as it is being detected, most came from Capilano, who having had the NF problem in Australia, I would sure think they knew how to test for it.

Just my speculation.

Could be right -- I'm sure that CFIA has their reasons, or excuses -- but that makes me wonder, how proactive is CFIA?  Do they have intelligence services and cooperation from other similar foreign agencies?  Or do they just wait until something happens and someone else discovers a problem, then tag along when they get around to it?

Was this this nitrofuran matter really worth an announcement and an expensive recall, or was this just one of many minor, routine, non-threatening, almost vanishing low residue matters they planned to ignore but got forced into bringing forward.  Was this a weapon in a turf war and a non-tariff barrier attempt they got sucked into?  Either way it does not look good.

More coming...

I announced this a few days back, but for anyone who missed it, Medhat writes:

...An announcement regarding a change in the regulations regarding the importation of honeybee queens from the USA has been published in the Canada Gazette. More details can be found at the following website.

Comments with respect to the proposed Regulations can be submitted within 30 days after the date of publication of the notice. All such representations must cite the Canada Gazette, Part I, and the date of publication of this notice and be sent to:

Dr. Samira Belaissaoui, Animal Health and Production Division,
Canadian Food Inspection Agency,
59 Camelot Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0Y9
(tel.: (613) 225-2342, extension 4005; fax: (613) 228-6630).


...We need first positive comments to go to CFIA.   It is time for the beekeepers to respond.  (emphasis mine)

We will be working with all parties to get queens as soon as the comments period done and the final amendment is published in Gazette II.


This is not a done deal!

If you think imports from the US are important, and you or your neighbours need a good affordable supply in early spring, write, call, and /or fax the address above.  Feel free to copy and use any of my material (below) in your letter, but, for best effect, keep your messages short and to the point.  Also, please feel free to complain that packages are not included in the proposal, and what it is costing to be restricted to stock from off-continent, but don't get carried away.

But please be nice.

Now get out there and do it.  NOW! 

I'm writing mine right now.

Beekeeping Economics in Alberta Since Border Closure

My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I'm happy. I can't figure it out. What am I doing right?
Charles M. Schulz
I asked Honey Council what their guess was as to the earliest import date.

Hi Allen

We asked CFIA for an approximate date for the issuing of permits but their response was non committal. They replied that they will assess comments as they receive them. At the end of the 30 days the proposed amendment will go in the regulatory process again for final announcement in Gazette II. Our guess is mid-May at the earliest.

Here We Go Again Department


No matter how little science they have on their side, and how outgunned they are, ignorant fearmongers can and will get the press going.   See this story in the National Post.  I'm told it is on page two of today's paper.

"Ottawa wants to lift bee ban The federal government wants to lift a 17-year-old ban on importing live bees from the United States to help a struggling honey industry here, but critics fear the move could open the door to so-called killer bees and their frightening ways..."

No matter how much science says that the risk is between zero and none, and no matter how few problems there have been in the U.S. regions where the AHB has established itself, there are some people who will exploit public fear for a last ditch protectionist stand.  As I have said before, there are already bees with AHB genetics being maintained in Canada, and nobody seems to know or care.  Moreover, proposed importation protocols are designed to prevent any such introductions with queen imports.  Let's spell it out.


Are Africanized Bees
Really a Credible Threat to Canadians?

  1. Most of Canada is outside the natural range of unmanaged honey bees -- of any variety. 

  2. Knowledgeable and professional beekeepers often have difficulties maintaining even EHB (European Honey Bee) populations in most of Canada even after going to great bother and expense.

  3. Even using heroic measures, beekeepers often have trouble keeping EHB colony numbers up because a very considerable percentage die off naturally every year --  even when well managed, and periodically natural factors combine to present owners with catastrophic losses.

  4. The few (EHB) colonies that escape and manage to get established in the wild have very high annual attrition rates and usually die out within a few years.

  5. In most of Canada, where beekeeping is practiced, we rely on either extensive inputs, manipulation and/or imports to maintain our colony numbers.  In fact, the cost, in terms of both skilled labour and/or money, of obtaining and maintaining bee colonies limits Canadian honey production.

  6. These facts explain why we find it so hard to maintain and raise replacement bees here in Canada and why we need to import replacements annually!  Even the winter hardy EHB types are not native here, and do not self-propagate well here.

  7. Obviously, since Africanized Honey Bees (AHB) are much less adapted to our environment than EHB are, AHB -- given their habits of maintaining small clusters and scant stores -- demonstrate no credible risk of becoming established in Canada.

  8. Even a deliberate introduction of AHB would be certain to die out quite rapidly, and aggressive AHB would not stay established in Canada long-term, unless given extensive and continuing assistance from man.  That would not happen.  In fact, any bee colonies showing unusually aggressive characteristics -- and even occasional EHB colonies can show aggression -- are quickly eliminated by the beekeeper or by authorities.

Having said all that, I must confess to not having actually seen the paper .  I'm shooting from the hip and going from the excerpt above.  Am I wrong? 

Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit.
W. Somerset Maugham

I sold my remaining Swinger today and now have to get it ready to go.  It has a minor hydraulic leak (don't they all?) and must go to town to get some hydraulic fittings.  I'll pick up a Post when I'm there, and maybe soon I'll be eating crow.

Think so?

I've just come across your website and am enjoying it. I've just provided a link from my bee blog and wondered if you would like to reciprocate:

best wishes

Why not?  Looks good!

By the way, I have been critical of some of the Australian packages that I have received over the years, but the ones we got this year seem to be pretty good so far. 

I did not weigh the contents this time, but the clusters looked just fine.  When I installed them, the bees seemed very nice and calm, (and very yellow) and the bees seemed (subjectively) to me to be young.  The queens looked small, but they were active, and I hated the cages.  I had trouble ripping off the wire, but maybe I was supposed to pull a plug?  Dunno.  The feeders are good, and this design  drowned zero bees as far as I could see.

My pessimism extends to the point of even suspecting the sincerity of the pessimists.
Jean Rostand,

Joe Meijer reports that his guys say the ones they installed a while back are looking very good.

Still haven't gotten to town.  I got busy, soldering a wire on the trailer brakes, and filled the Swinger with fuel.  Then I checked my email, and found several comments.  One was from Barrie Termeer. Attached was an elegant letter dealing with the Post article, and I have to say it is so nicely written that I feel like a big-mouthed wrestler standing beside a polished statesman at a debating match.  He did not give explicit permission to reproduce, but I gather by its circulation list that it is an open letter.  Hope so, 'cause here it is:

Barrie & Julie Termeer
Honeybear Apiaries Ltd.
General Delivery,
Rollyview, Alberta. T0C 2K0

Dear OBA / Glen Ackroyd, CHC rep for Ontario:

I just read the recent article on page two of April 13th National Post, titled "Ottawa wants to lift bee ban". The sub headline read "Killer Bees Feared".

There are a number of quotes from Mr. Ackroyd that , while trying to uphold Ontario's bee industry position of maintaining the ban, are in effect, doing the industry both in Ontario and across the country a real disservice. Comments like "Canada should not even take that chance." and "I'm not sure I'd want to stay in beekeeping, if they ever got into this province." and describing the video of AHB by a visiting Costa Rican beekeeper shown at the OBA convention as : "What he called a very calm colony was ferocious." are inflammatory, far from truthful and mislead an uninformed public.

As we all know, there is a solid protocol in place, agreed upon by all participating parties during the Kelowna meetings last fall, that is scientifically supported by CAPA, and designed to meet even remote risks, low risks, as identified in the federal risk assessment. It is the duty of elected representatives of our industry to convey to the public that our industry has safe management practices, works with the research community, and has good communications with CFIA to help our industry grow while meeting the needs of growers, pollinators, honey buyers and the general public.

The sub heading about killer bees was no doubt created in part by Mr. Ackroyd's reaction and does no one any good. Thankfully the reporter did a good job to get more than one view, including quotes from CAPA, Mr. Bob Ballard, ABA president, and federal government sources.

The key point is that we do have a national agreement to move forward on queen imports . We do have an effective protocol that clearly addresses AHB genetics. We are working with a very professional queen rearing industry in California and elsewhere in the U.S. that has excellent breeding programs. We also have a modern commercial industry in Canada that is capable of sourcing good queens and genetics without threatening their very livelihood by alienating farmers and rural residents.

Mr. Ackroyd, and therefore the OBA does in fact hurt all beekeepers by creating unfounded fear in the communities we all work in. Take a note from the damage done to the beef industry from a politicized reaction to BSE.

Promote our industry, be progressive and be informed.

Barrie Termeer, (former ABA/CHC president)
Honeybear Apiaries Ltd. (4000 colonies)
Alberta, Canada.

I received also this short, but perceptive comment from another luminary in the Canadian beekeeping universe

Re article:

I read it in the National Post this morning.

Bob Ballard balanced Glen Ackroyd's comments very well.

The ON guys will try to use the AHB fear factor but the risk assessment has been done and they can't win on that one.

Let the games begin.

Apparently they already have.

Well, It is mid-afternoon, and the traffic on this site has already exceeded the entire total for some recent days.  Things are hopping.

Well, I did go to town and got groceries, had the hose repaired, had a passport photo done, dropped by the accountant's, and helped Ellen pick up some window frames.  While there, I searched for a Post, and almost gave up, but found one at the last place I tried.  (That makes sense.  Why would I keep trying after finding one?... but it was the only remaining place in town).

A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.

Although the web summary (quoted above and on which I based my guess as to content) suggests otherwise, the Post article turned out to be well-written and well balanced.  The writer did interview some knowledgeable people to counterbalance the ignorant, but the article did say that the border was originally closed because of varroa, not tracheal, and it did give the lunatic fringe more print than they deserve.

Overall, the writer did a very good job for an outsider, and a much better job than many media I've encountered, but, apparently, the editor who wrote the headline could not resist using the sensational 'killer bee" scare in large type.  Oh, well.  "If it bleeds, it leads."  That's newspapers.  Could be worse.

Probably will be worse tomorrow.  The media are a pack of jackals, and when one gets a topic, the rest immediately push in and tear into it.  Beekeepers are bound to get some calls in the next while.  Let's hope the beekeepers called know more about bee biology and the industry -- in both Canada and the USA -- than the source of the "killer bee" mention apparently does.  If you get a call, remember, the one thing that the interviewer will likely want use is the one unguarded stupid thing that slips out when you are not thinking.

Today : Cloudy with sunny periods. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h this afternoon. High 14. UV index 4 or moderate. / Tonight : Periods of rain changing to snow overnight. Rainfall amount 10 mm. Snowfall amount 2 cm. Wind southeast 20 km/h becoming light near midnight. Low minus 2. / Saturday : Cloudy. Low minus 3. High 6.
Normals for the period : Low minus 2. High 11.

Wednesday 14 April 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

Last night I stayed up late playing poker with Tarot cards. I got a full house and four people died.
Steven Wright

I awoke to quite a change in the weather.  We have an inch of snow and more is coming.

I see there are major Windows security updates available from Microsoft today.

North American Pollinator Protection Campaign

Today : Snow at times heavy. Amount 10 cm. High plus 4.
Tonight : Cloudy. 30 percent chance of flurries. Low minus 5.
Normals for the period : Low minus 2. High 11.

The truth is more important than the facts.
Frank Lloyd Wright

Thursday 15 April 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

This morning, Ron decided to get the buckets and arms with the Swinger he is buying to replace the one that was ruined in his accident.  It is my last remaining Swinger, and I am retiring, so I have no use for the parts.  He decided that he wants me to install the parts for him, since he does not have the facilities.  I said, "I'll look into it."

I dropped by my neighbour and it turned out he had some free time, and shop space, so we drove the forklift in and started cutting and grinding and rearranging the hydraulics.  Ron was also in a hurry, so i called the trucker and the only one I could get was determined to leave Swalwell around 4 PM.  That gave us a deadline, and this type of work always hits snags.  Ron was willing to pay the cost, so I decided to go ahead and do the job.

By mid-afternoon, we were pretty well done, but the last minute fiddling always takes time.  It turned out that the driver was in no huge rush, and that was fortunate.  As it worked out, we were done around five and I drove the Swinger over to the truck to start loading.  On the second lift, I sheared off a pipe nipple on the side-shift. a quick examination showed that the carriage on the mast had hit the line going into the cylinder.  We had had a 45 el on each outlet, but, at the last minute decided to go with a straight run.  If we had left the 45 on, we would have been fine, but, as it happened, the cylinder rolls around a bit and it rolled back enough that the carriage hit the fitting.

I looked at it and figured there would be no way I'd get the threads out of the hole in the time I had, so I disconnected the lines and finished loading.  When done, the trucker said that he would wait if I wanted to take a stab at getting it fixed and I got to work.  I lucked out and got the piece out on the first try and quickly reassembled the lines, this time with a 45.

Everything ran okay and I ran the machine onto the trailer.  Fifteen minutes later, my last Swinger (at one time, I had four) was gone on its way to B.C. By then, it was 8 PM.   I had worked 12 hours straight.

Thursday : Cloudy. Wind becoming north 30 km/h in the afternoon. High zero.

There is no kind of dishonesty into which otherwise good people more easily and frequently fall than that of defrauding the government.
Benjamin Franklin

Friday 16 April 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

We're having another dull day.  I'll be spending it at the desk, getting caught up.  I guess I'd better finish that comment letter on the queen importation.  Maybe I'll post a form letter here that people can print out, add their comments, and fax in.


From the mid-West USA...

High's in the upper 80's & winds out of the south at 15 to 25 MPH.  More than likely we will break a record.  Went to the farm Wednesday & was afraid to lite a smoker. One spark & I don't even think the water in the river would stop it from jumping the bank to the other side.

Looked in a dozen or so hives yesterday & was real surprised as to the findings. Lots of bees & drones in the good ones.  2 had small clusters.  Queens looked good & had a nice pattern. So I don't know what the problem might be.  I need to get some queens shipped next week to make splits, but then I look a the calendar & it's way to early. 

Allen, I have to chuckle a bit when I read the fears people are projecting about the possible importation of few not so nice bees. We caught a huge swarm in our back yard last spring.  The swarm moved into some equipment that was full of AFB. The cement crew that was framing our driveway to be poured stood & watched for a half hour or better in total amazement. 

About 4 or 5 days passed & when the dog or I walked near the hive I thought, "Man! For a new swarm, you kids are sure pissy!"  It got to the point were as the dog would not even go near that part of the yard.  2 weeks passed & we all had enough.  I loaded the hive up one cool morning & took it back to the yard that the AFB equipment came from in the 1st place.  They were so damn mean last fall I left a deep of honey on them just to see if they would winter. 

Checked them Wednesday they are as mean as ever, but man what great house cleaners.  About a month after catching the 1st swarm, a mile away we catch another nasty group children.   #2 son was not a bit to thrilled to go into this yard the rest of the summer as this was his bee yard.  This hive did not make it thru the winter.

Wherever the mean bees are coming from here in in the city is anyone's guess. The long & short of this whole deal, Allen is we have had problems on & off in the last 10 years with the bees we get every spring from Texas.  Ya find a crabby one & ya gas it off.  Why mess with it?????????

So, Allen, the metro area has somewhere around the half million mark for population & the swarm season is just around the corner.   I am willing to bet you a beer Allen (bottle of mead for you ) that this mean bee thing is not over by a long shot. Like always we will deal with it. Remember if this line of work was always easy & fun every one would be in the bee business.

Mean bees have always shown up from time to time.  Bees (EHB) have occasionally killed people and livestock as far back as people have kept records.


Canada: Senate Report Recommends Special NAFTA Panel Deal with Future Cases of BSE  This is interesting because, if they are serious, could such a panel also deal with things like the Canadian intransigence in regard to importation of US package bees, etc.?

Bill came by in the afternoon and loaded the rest of his supers.  He missed using the Swinger by one day, and the job took over two hours.

El & I went to the mill for supper and stopped at Global Grounds on the way home.

Today : A few flurries. Patchy freezing drizzle this morning. Wind becoming east 20 km/h this afternoon. High zero. UV index 4 or moderate. / Tonight : A few flurries. Wind east 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low minus 2. / Normals for the period : Low minus 2. High 11.

Everyone has a purpose in life. Perhaps yours is watching television.
David Letterman

Saturday 17 April 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002 
2001  2000

I spent the day working on the Force 10 Boardsailing site.  I plan to get out and do some sailing this year, and get more involved with the club.  I also got to cleaning out files and cleaning up my desk.  I have about a week of steady work to get that all done.  I'm hoping to get to B.C. and also Ontario in the next while, too, so I need to get the paperwork done.  I spend anywhere from 4 to 10 hours a day reading, writing and studying, so maybe I'll have to cut down on that.

Keho Lake home of the Force Ten Boardsailing Club.  Located on Keho Lake, near Nobleford in Southern Alberta, Canada, Force 10 members participate in windsurfing, kite sailing, wake boarding, water skiing, skiing, snowboarding and other active outdoor spots.  Other nearby sailing locations are St. Mary's reservoir and the Oldman Dam,Matt came by and got Spot, the pickup that he plans to plunder for parts to get the Beemer going, and I sent my oxyacetylene torches along.  There are lots of tools that I doubt I will need much, and he can put them to good use, so they might as well be at his place.

Our homemade forklift has engine problems, so we decided to drop in a 350 with an automatic transmission and get it working right.  I'm without a machine and, yesterday, Bill had to load 392 supers by hand, and there are more to go for other people, so we'll need the Beemer soon.  I have to count again, but I may have as many as 1,000 left to sell.

In the afternoon, the weather cleared and the sun came out.  It became very difficult to stay inside. 

Ron emailed to say that he got the forklift alright, and says it works fine, BUT, I forgot to send the barrel lifting attachment.  In the last-minute rush, it was left behind in our yard.  Oh, well, hopefully it will fit on my roof racks, and I'll drive it out to him someday soon.  I'll have to drive, not fly, I guess.

Today : A few flurries and freezing drizzle ending near noon then cloudy. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h this afternoon. High 3. UV index 3 or moderate. / Tonight : Cloudy periods. Low minus 4. / Normals for the period : Low minus 1. High 12.

The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.
Bertrand Russell

Sunday 18 April 2004
Selected Topics | HoneyBeeWorld Forum | For Sale | Write me
Today's events in 2003  2002 
2001  2000

This morning, I cleaned up the sale site, then went to the zoo for the afternoon.  Ellen & Ruth went too, but to go to the Glenbow to attend a workshop making shoes modeled on those found on the Bog People.  Didn't much interest me, but Bill and Fen, and Hetty and some friends all went, so we all there for coffee before they went to the session and I went to the Zoo.  Afterwards, we all went to look at the house that Fen had bought for Maddy to live in while attending university next year.

Today : A mix of sun and cloud. Fog patches early this morning. High 12. UV index 6 or high. / Tonight : A few clouds. Low minus 1. / Normals for the period : Low minus 1. High 12.

A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.
Sir Winston Churchill

Monday 19 April 2004
Selected Topics | HoneyBeeWorld Forum | For Sale | Write me
Today's events in 2003  2002 
2001  2000

 Well, I said I'd write to CFIA about the border, and I started the other day, but now I'm done.  I know many of you have already written and faxed to CFIA, but for those of you who have not, here is my letter, and also a form letter in your choice of pdf (better for printing) or html which you can use if you are not inspired or confident in your writing skills. 

Whatever you do, do not delay.  Do it NOW.  Write a letter and send it to:

Dr. Samira Belaissaoui, Animal Health and Production Division,
Canadian Food Inspection Agency,
59 Camelot Drive,
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0Y9
tel.: (613) 225-2342, extension 4005;
fax: (613) 228-6630).

Or phone and comment.  Please.

Here's my letter:

Ibex Ventures Inc.
The Old School House
Rural Route One, Swalwell, Alberta,
Canada T0M 1Y0
Telephone & Fax:


Dr. Samira Belaissaoui, Animal Health and Production Division,
Canadian Food Inspection Agency,
59 Camelot Drive, Ottawa,
Ontario K1A 0Y9

Dear Dr. Belaissaoui,

I am writing in support of the proposal to open the US border to importation of queen honey bees. Ref: Canada Gazette, Part I, Vol. 138, No. 15 April 10, 2004.

At this point the honey bee prohibition serves no useful purpose, but rather the ban impedes growth in our industry, and brings Canadian honesty into question in matters of trade with the USA at a time when we need to show that we mean what we say about open borders. We are not playing fair, and they know it. Please consider this public statement by Bill Wilson USDA (retired).

"The conclusions that are reached in the risk assessment communicate a message to knowledgeable beekeepers that the Canadian border closure is little more than a disguised trade barrier. Based on the evidence provided, there is no known reason for limiting any trade in queens, and very little information why packages should be restricted from trade. If America were to apply similar trade barriers to Canadian honey under equally obscure rationale, the Canadian industry would collapse."

As a cattle producer, as well as a beekeeper, I am particularly embarrassed by the slow progress being made in eliminating the outdated and indefensible exclusion of U.S. bees. As a former commercial beekeeper with over four thousand hives at one time, and student of the bee industry, and one who has worked with bees in both the USA and Canada in recent years, I can attest to the economic importance of restoring our supply of mainland U.S. queens and the urgency for an immediate repeal of the embargo.

As it appears at this moment -- even if the proposed changes go as proposed -- I estimate the industry will needlessly lose an additional $8,000,000 this season due to the late date at which this proposal was published, unless the approval process is accelerated and permits issued soon.

At present, it seems that the embargo cannot or will not be lifted in time for queens to be raised and shipped to Canada for the critical May market this Spring. This is not to say that there will not be huge benefits in the future, but the critical queen shortage occurs annually in mid-May, and -- especially since the closure of the U.S. border -- there have never been enough queens to meet demand.

Although the prohibition may have served a useful purpose at one time, and undoubtedly benefited a vocal segment of our industry, the total damage it has caused to the Canadian honey industry now appears to outweigh any good the ban has accomplished.

At this point, the prohibition serves no useful purpose, but rather the trade disruption greatly inconveniences those in the industry who would provide growth.

I urge you to treat the removal of this prohibition with the utmost urgency.



Allen Dick, president,
Ibex Ventures Inc.

The above letter in full page view


A while back, I mentioned North American Pollinator Protection Campaign.  Jerry wrote to say that his wife is involved in the photography for the show and that there are some astounding shots.

The Botanical Garden has undergone a major renovation. The Grand Re-Opening will kick off with the display that you referenced. I wasn't involved with the process, but the selection committee approached us. They screened over 400 photos for the picture display of insect pollinators on flowers. Gail's (my wife's picture) is an extremely rare picture, taken on very fine grain film with a 5:1 macro lens. The bee in question is in profile. It has a large, glistening pollen basket. The pollen is packed into a near perfect elliptical shape and is a translucent, grey-green color. Dead center to all of this is a two-lobed, intact, anther. She's skipping the old scrape and comb mode, taking the entire floral part home. The anther is perfect in shape, orientation, and position. Looks like an embedded object in a glass paper weight.

That has to be a rare photo of a live bee. Question, is the anther an inadvertent artifact, or did she intentionally collect it?

In addition, we hope to see a poster on the work presented in the JMU MAIC article on bees and landmines.

All of this is contingent on a final selection after the full-size pictures, etc. are produced. The Botanical folks reserve the right to change their mind if the full-scale product falls short of their criteria.


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of the Day

Canadian Honey Council News Page 
Lots of news about drug-tainted honey labeled "Product of Canada".
No news on the oxalic acid approval project

I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation.
George Bernard Shaw

I got a lot done today.  I cleaned up quite a few files and also got started on a an area of the house that has collected some clutter.  Then I went out, and my intention was to feed and medicate my bees, but I spent most of the time getting ready and doings a little cleanup that I encountered along the way.  I realized that i am missing many of my tools.  No forklift, no flat deck truck,  no feeder tank, etc.  I have another feed system, but Frank has borrowed the tank for it and I need to find if he plans to keep it.  with forty hives, it seems to me to be worthwhile to set up to do the job with power, although i could just take a bucket and fill feeders.  40 hives x 1 gallon per feeder is 45 gallons, and amount worth pumping, especially since I'll be doing it again in a week or two.

Today : Sunny with cloudy periods. 30 percent chance of showers this afternoon. Wind becoming west 20 km/h this morning. High 11. UV index 5 or moderate. / Tonight : A few clouds. Low minus 1. / Normals for the period : Low minus 1. High 12.