Wednesday January 9th, 2002
Tuesday January 8th, 2002
Monday January 7th, 2002
The temperature is plus five degrees C at 5:30 AM and the prediction is for plus ten and windy, and then warm all week. Today Joe and I head for California. Wouldn't you know I'd miss the heat wave in Alberta. Hope it is warm down south. I hear there is cold weather in Florida, but that is a long way from where we are going. If all goes well, we should be in Palm Desert tonight and in Phoenix tomorrow.
I should apologize. I have received several nice and useful emails from a number of people and have simply not gotten around to replying -- or sometimes even acknowledging them. I'm embarrassed. Thanks to John, Al, Ulf, and others... Someday I'll try to reply. Keep 'em coming... but keep in mind that the SPAM is getting so bad these days that I delete 2/3 of received of messages without opening them. If you write me, please make sure the subject line does not look like hype. Mentioning something about bees or this diary always gets my attention.
I haven't mentioned this yet, but in response to a PS that I added to a post on the BioBee list, Dee Lusby has invited Joe and me to visit her place and see what she is doing. This should be interesting, to say the least, and I'll try to get some snapshots. Any questions?
We flew from Calgary to Seattle and then on to Ontario California. We rented a Jeep and headed on to Palm Desert and spent the night with my brother Ron and family.
Sunday January 6th, 2002
I did a lot more organizing and tidying and El & I decided how to simply and easily increase the top insulation on about five hundred hives that have only one top pillow, since the hives are moving up and the coldest part of winter is yet to come. February is usually the worst month. The normals have not changed for weeks now and will likely increase now that the days are lengthening, but there is still cold weather coming.
Saturday January 5th, 2002
El went to town to get more stained glass, and I stayed home to tidy up.
Friday January 4th, 2002
We moved the final remaining drums of honey from the basement today.
El & I decided to take a look at some of our hives to see how they are doing, so we took a run down the road on the snowmobile to take a peek. We noticed that the bees have eaten their way up to the top bars in some hives, although they are not yet spread out. There is still plenty of feed, visible down through the top bars. Our hives have an outer lid, then two Kodel® pillows which are encased in black plastic. (references) 1. 2. ).
I have a radiant reading thermometer, mentioned previously, so I decided to see what the heat gradient is in the top insulation. Although we cannot measure how much heat is flowing up through the top insulation, we can see the comparative R factor of the pillows and the lid by the temperature gradient.
We know how much insulation is required for homes and what other beekeepers use (Barrie Termeer uses R12, I think and he is is very successful). Over the past thirty-odd years, we have used -- more or less randomly -- values from about R7 to R30 with no difference in results that we could prove. Nonetheless, I should mention that I stopped and looked at Barrie's bees last March and his bees were spread out more over the combs than ours, which I consider to be a good thing. He does some other things differently though, so I am not sure about a comparison.
Apparently our plywood lid has about zero insulation value, compared to the pillows. The two pillows on each hive each show about equal resistance to heat transfer, which is not surprising since they are more or less identical.
I then tried an experiment indoors, comparing our pillows to a chunk of Fibreglas® bat insulation rated at R12 using a light bulb in a box and making a stack of insulation (left). Since the R of the Fibreglas® chunk is known the others can be be deduced. The temperature gradients from the lid of the warm box to the cooler room temperature reveal the relative rates of heat resistance of the different chunks of insulation.
After allowing time for the temperatures to reach equilibrium, I measured the temperature gradient across each pillow and the bat by removing each pillow or bat quickly and recording the surface temperature at each interface. I measured 42º C at the lid, 38º C at the top of the first pillow, 33º C at the top of the second pillow, and then 15º C at the top of the bat. The gradient across the R12 bat is 33 -15=18º C. or 18º C / 12R=1.5º C per R. Thus the pillows at 42º - 38º = 4º C and 38º - 33º = 5º C respectively come in at R2.6 and R3.3 By calculating, I concluded that the each pillow is about R3 -- once again, assuming that the rating (R12) is about correct for the commercial home insulation bat.
One thing worth mentioning is that the bees are not very active yet since winter has only just begun -- I assume they have a only little patch of brood in there somewhere -- and thus they are not generating as much heat as they will later when they begin more brood rearing. Of course we are not pulling frames to look at this point. There is no possible benefit to justify such a disturbance. I did not record the ambient, but it was just after sunrise and the day was warming up. I think it was about minus five. Interestingly, the outside of the lid was colder than the air.
During these measurements, we tried to move quickly and quietly so that we did not cause much disturbance and consequent heat generation. All the readings are in degrees Celsius.
Wednesday January 2nd, 2002
Dennis and Paulo came back to work today and did odd jobs around the shop.
Bert called in late afternoon and invited us for supper.
Tuesday January 1st, 2002
I started the morning with a lock-up on the computer and had to reboot. I'm still running ME, since I've been afraid to install the XP I bought some long time ago now. I just do not trust any Windows product to install seamlessly any more after the trouble I have had with 3.0, 3.1. 3.11, 95, 98, and ME.
It's minus twenty-one again this morning. By nine, the sun came up with clear skies and the hoarfrost that has accumulated over the past several days is glowing. The forecast is for warmer weather later in the week.
My scale says 235.
On the matter of supplements, Adony wrote:
Jean and Chris and I played outside a bit in the afternoon. Chris towed me on the snowboard, and Jean on a toboggan around the pond behind the snowmobile.
Jean and Chris left for home around sunset. Robinsons, Johnny & Julia, and Ruth K came over for supper (turkey) and a visit into the evening.