The Same Hives with Supers
I spent most of the day writing an article about moving bees. The day was extremely hot, and I alternated writing with soaking in the River. Although there were fireworks displays and water ski shows advertised in several nearby marinas, we didn't feel like going, and stayed home, reading.
I awoke early, emailed off an article, had breakfast and a swim, then locked up the boathouse. At nine, I made my farewells with Mom and drove up the hill and was underway for YYZ, and ultimately home. Along the way, I noticed that some of the hay was just beginning to be cut.
I drove down through Bracebridge and on to Malton, arriving in good time. I returned the car and caught my plane. Temperatures were in the thirties and it was very hot. This was the first day of the GTA garbage strike.
I arrived at YYC around five and Ellen picked me up. We drove straight home. As we drove, I noticed that the hay was just beginning to be cut here too. Conditions driving from Calgary look spotty. There are some green areas, but between them are places where crops are short and stunted. The rain we have had thus far has been mostly from showers.
At four, I headed north to attend the Peace River Beekeepers meeting near Girouxville, west of Falher. It's a 450 mile drive to get up there and I planned to break it into two. I also had a stop along the way to buy some used lids, since many of ours are getting tattered and we are a bit short.
I stopped and checked a yard (left) along the way. It is supered now, but we left the wraps on the brood chambers. Bees are still flying heavily from the auger holes in preference to the wide-open bottom entrances, although most hives have some traffic down there. I noticed that the yard seems to have fewer supers than it should. I phoned Ellen to discuss that and the conclusion was that it must have been the last yard of the day and that maybe the crew ran a bit short. Nonetheless, I was concerned to see such a good yard short of supers.
I stopped to see the beekeeper around 9 and took an hour visiting and then drove as far as Whitecourt before stopping for the night. Whitecourt looks like an idea recreational area -- there are several large rivers around there, so I was surprised to find that motels are cheap there. I got a very nice room for $39, although the prices advertised started as low as $23. At 11 PM, it was still dusk in That region, since it is a long ways north, and also nearer the western edge of the Mountain time zone.
Today..A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of showers.
Wind becoming south 20 km/h. High 20.
I awoke at 8 or so and had breakfast at McDonalds, then drove on up 43 and 49 to Falher. I hadn't been to the Peace country since the early seventies when I was a Provincial bee inspector and drove up with two junior inspectors who worked under me, in my 1969 Chrysler convertible. At that time, we had attended the Beaverlodge Field Day and inspected quite a few outfits. I remembered the country as being less civilized and noticed along the way that I saw much less newly cleared bush, no fireweed and fewer weeds. This trip, I did not get right up to Peace River, though and maybe that part is still wild in spots.
I saw less hives than I remember, but where there were hives, there were often several yards of 48 -- 48 seems to be a popular number -- within sight of one another. Three such yards fairly close together was not unusual, and reminded me of the South where we were pollinating.
The meeting was scheduled for two PM, but everyone showed up around two-thirty. I had arrived at twelve, so had some time to kill, talking to the suppliers and buyers who also arrived early. The meeting went well and was about the problems experienced in getting access to US bees now that pretty well all the phytosanitay threats have been dealt with. An embargo on US bees was put in place in 1987 due to fear over tracheal mites and potentially varroa. As it turned out, tracheal was already in Canada, but the embargo did slow the spread of tracheal and also delay the introduction of varroa into Canada and slowed the spread throughout Canada. There are still pockets, here and there, where varroa has not yet been discovered. There are also a few where tracheal has not penetrated.
Thursday..Sunny. Wind west 20. High 21.
I drove back from Whitecourt, stopping in Red Deer to do some shopping, then arrived home at six. Fen, Lorilee, and Zeke came for supper and stayed until ten.
Along the drive the fields looked drier and the crops shorter than when I drove up.
Friday..Sunny. Low 7. High 22.
This is a quiet day at home, catching up on a few things at the desk.
Meijers came for supper and borrowed a trailer. They also picked up the Waldon forklift that we had lent to another beekeeper. We were building an adapter to hook up the lights and I happened to remember the set-up I built and used a few years back for carrying the Swingers. We found it and set it up, and found that it worked for the Waldon also.
The system consists of a steel cage about a foot high that fits the forklift and is held down onto the trailer by four 1/2" bolts that go down into long nuts embedded into the deck surface and which are welded to cross-members below. The front of the cage is low enough to restrain the forklift, but permits it to overhang the cage. The rear is open except for the sill piece, so the forklift can drive in. The rear of the side rails have a restraining chain that drops into, and sits in, deep narrow slits. In the top side rails of the cage are garage door springs that pull on cables connecting to the ramps to make ramp-lifting easy.
There are also chains attached on each side of the top of the cage. They go to the ramps and drop into slits to hold the ramps up in transit. In the picture, I have tarp straps to hold the various chains in their slots, and there is a load strap over the Waldon. We never used these additional items in the past.
This system was what I used to move my Swinger until I built the quick-load trailers. It has the advantage over smaller trailers of allowing several pallets of bees to travel on the front, since the cage can be mounted in several positions -- there are several sets of nuts in the deck. The trailer is rated at 12,000 pounds and the forklift weighs 5. The trailer weighs about 2,000, so there is a 5,000 pound surplus capacity.
After supper, we went out and looked at the trees we bought on the spur of the moment when I went to Tisdale with the Meijers. They are doing well -- several even have apples forming -- but after a hot day they were all were looking dry. We hauled a load of water and gave them a soaking.
Meijers have been saying that they have had almost no rain and are moving bees, but having problems finding places to move too, since everywhere is dry. Ellen says she heard that our area is declared a disaster area, for lack of rain. Last year was dry, so this is the second year. That is not good, since the year after a dry year is often a poor nectar year.
Today..Mainly sunny. Wind becoming southeast 20
km/h. High 28.
I've mentioned my weight from time to time here and should note that I am now right around 230 in the morning when I step on the scale. I am also wearing clothes I bought a year ago and found too tight to wear then. The pants actually fall down if I don't use a belt. I still think I'm fat, but have dropped at least 25 pounds over the past year.
I'm not dieting, but rather have been following the Zone precepts somewhat loosely for a bit over a year now. Mostly, I am limiting sugar, starches and grains as much as is convenient and making sure I have protein at every meal or snack if possible.
I also entirely quit drinking some time back. It is not a firm commitment; I just decided it was a costly nuisance, and stopped.
Since I made that decision, I haven't missed the booze at all, but when I was at the Peace River Beekeepers meeting, I had a bit of a problem. My main difficulty was that the choice of beverages was regular Coke, wine or beer, and I don't drink any of them. I stay away from so-called fruit juices too, since they are mostly all sugar, and don't have the benefits of real fruit. I like water, and it is my favourite beverage, but had exhausted the supply I carry with me and I guess it did not occur to me to use the tap water there. That's unusual, since I normally drink city tap water. I guess I'm just a bit more careful in the country. The meeting was at a registered honey house, so I'm sure -- looking back -- that the water was potable.
I was glad I stayed away from the booze, since I had to drive away from the get-together and wanted to make some miles towards home.
Today I worked until night at deskwork. It took me five hours or so just to figure out and organize the notes from while I was away.
We had a thundershower at around eleven at night, but it gave very little rain.
Today..Increasing afternoon cloud. 30 percent
chance of afternoon showers. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h. High 28.
We had a pretty good rain today. I don't know how much we got, but it was a general rain that covered the whole district.
I spent the day at the desk, sorting and filing papers, then went to Three Hills on errands late in the day. The guys are getting the shop ready for extracting.
Today..Cloudy. Afternoon showers or
thunderstorms. Wind increasing to southeast 30 gusting 50 km/h. High 22.
When I awoke at 6, it was still raining, but cleared by mid-morning.
We continued to clean up and get ready for extracting. Dennis checked fluid levels, etc in all the trucks and forklifts. It's a big job.
Jean came for supper and to stay over,
Today..A mix of sun and cloud. Wind northwest 30
gusting 50 km/h. High 21.