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That is my all-band inverted vee in the upper right of this photo.

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Wednesday January 9th, 2002
Last year on this date

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Sunny. Low minus 6. High plus 2.
Clear. Wind light. Low minus 6.
Sunny. Wind becoming west 20 km/h. High plus 5.
A mix of sun and cloud. Low minus 2. High plus 1.
A mix of sun and cloud. Low minus 8. High plus 3.
A mix of sun and cloud. Low minus 7. High zero.
Normals for the period: Low minus 16. High minus 4.

Tuesday January 8th, 2002
Last year on this date


Monday January 7th, 2002
Last year on this date

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.

PDesert.jpg (78396 bytes)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.

A mix of sun and cloud. Wind increasing to southwest 40 gusting 60 km/h. High 10.
Clear. Wind diminishing to southwest 30 with gusts to 60. Low plus 1.
Sunny. Wind west 30. High 7.
Sunny. Low minus 6. High plus 3.
A mix of sun and cloud. Low minus 10. High minus 2.
Normals for the period:  Low minus 16. High minus 4.

Sunday January 6th, 2002
Last year on this date

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.

A mix of sun and cloud. Wind becoming west 40 gusting 60 km/h this afternoon. High plus 8.
Partly cloudy. Wind west 40 gusting 60. Low plus 2.
Normals for the period: Low minus 16. High minus 4.

Saturday January 5th, 2002
Last year on this date

El went to town to get more stained glass, and I stayed home to tidy up.

Mainly sunny. Wind light. High plus 1.
Clear. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h. Low minus 4.

Friday January 4th, 2002
Last year on this date

We moved the final remaining drums of honey from the basement today. 

Mainly sunny. Wind west 30 gusting to 50 km/h. High plus 4.
Clear. Wind west 20. Low minus 10.

Thursday January 3rd, 2002
Last year on this date

Hives wrapped for winter

Temperature on outer surface of lid... minus 9 degrees C
Temperature on outer surface
 of lid... Minus 9 degrees C

Temperature on top of outer pillow... -9
Temperature on top of
 upper (1st) pillow (and inside
 surface of plywood cover)
... Minus 9º C

Temperature on top of  lower (2nd) pillow... Minus 5º C
Temperature on top of
 lower (2nd) pillow... Minus 5º C

Temperature on bottom of inner pillow... 0 degrees
Temperature on bottom of lower
 (2nd) pillow... 0º C.

Temperature on the top bars outside the cluster area... -1
Temperature on the top bars outside
 the cluster area... Plus 1º C.

Temperature on cluster... +5
Temperature of cluster area
... Plus 5º C.

The thermometer I used measures the average temperature in a one inch diameter circle at 8 inches distance, 2" D circle at 16", etc.

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.

Comparing insulation

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

Sunny. Wind west 40 km/h gusting to 60. High plus 7.
Clear. Wind west 30 km/h. Low plus 2.
Normals for the period: Low minus 16. High minus 4.

Wednesday January 2nd, 2002
Last year on this date

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.

A mix of sun and cloud. Wind southwest 20 km/h. High plus 2.
Partly cloudy. Clear overnight. Wind west 20. Low minus 6.

Tuesday January 1st, 2002
Last year on this date

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: 

If I remember correctly, the amino acid requirements of bees was established by a German researcher in the 1960s by feeding a full amino acid mixture to caged bees and by deleting one amino acid at a time and watching the effect on the nursing glands.

Seems to me that most of these natural protein substitutes, like brewer's yeast, soy flour, fish meal, have all the essential amino acids in excess.  What seems to make one better at brooding up a colony than another is: 1) how palatable the substitute is and 2) how much fat is left during extraction.  The amount of ash and trace minerals may also be important.  The evidence I have seen suggests if a protein substitute has the right fat content, it does not matter what it is, the biggest increase in brooding will follow with how much pollen is added to increase palatability.


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.

Sunny. Wind becoming south 20 km/h. High minus 6.
Mainly clear. Wind light. Low minus 11.
Normals for the period: Low minus 16. High minus 4.

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