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President's Luncheon -- ABA 2002

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Friday November 1st, 2002
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I hear on the radio today that Lake Louise and COP are planning to open tomorrow.  Apparently this is the earliest opening in history.  It seems to me, though, that back in 1997, I attended a ski instructors' clinic at COP on November 1st.  At any rate, we have early cold and the chances of doing much more feeding are getting slim.  Fortunately, the guys report that there are only a few light hives out there.

We weighed and moved drums around.  Dennis is still sick and also was completing his moving to Three Hills.

Today..Sunny. Wind light. High 4. 
Tonight..Clear. Wind light. Low minus 8. 
Normals for the period..Low minus 6. High 6.

Saturday November 2nd, 2002
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We continued with organizing the drums and sold the 30 frame Maxant we have had around.  We had bought it for a beginning beekeeper we were assisting, but he had gotten a bit strange on us.  We had other offers, but had held onto it until now. 

El and I went to town in the afternoon and in the evening, I signed up for a new web presence provider and registered and transferred a few domains.  One is for Ellen's art web site.  Two others are for the fellows who are setting up to manufacture patties for beekeepers again this year.

Frank sent me a price list and I set him up a website: www.globalpatties.com 

Today..Sunny. Wind light. High 5. 
Tonight..Clear. Wind light. Low minus 10. 
Normals for the period..Low minus 6. High 6.

Sunday November 3rd, 2002
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I left home at two in the afternoon and drove to Edmonton today, stopping at Ponoka to visit Jean and Chris along the way.  I picked Jean-Marc up at the airport on the way by.

Today..Mainly sunny. Wind light. High 6. 
Tonight..Mainly clear. Wind northwest 20 km/h. Low minus 7. 
Normals for the period..Low minus 7. High 6.

Monday November 4th, 2002
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I'm having dialup problems. Not only that, but I cannot receive any email from the BEE-L server or send email. I can surf the 'net, and receive SPAM, but that seems to be about it.

The day proved to be interesting. Richard Adee is our keynote speaker this year and gave a good presentation about a year in his operation in South Dakota which now is up to 55,000 colonies. The was the usual series of miscellaneous reports and talks, and a presentation by Medhat Nasr, who is now our provincial apiarist.

Later, we heard from Cor Dewit. He gave a fascinating slide show about his use of vaporized oxalic acid for varroa control. He has used both the German vaporizer and a cart equipped with batteries to heat electric vaporizers and a timer-controlled fan that blows the OA vapour into hives after they are are wrapped for winter. His presentation was excellent, and proved to be exactly what I have been itching to hear and see. I've been wanting to learn more about this technique and that one talk was worth the cost of the convention.

ABA_006.jpg (22812 bytes)Gertie asked me to take some pictures of the convention and in the process took this one of me.  Barrie was saying my picture at left does not look like me.  What do you think?



of the Day:

Today..Mainly sunny. Wind light. High 4. 
Tonight..Clear. Wind light. Low minus 4. 
Normals for the period..Low minus 7. High 5.

Tuesday November 5th, 2002
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Don Nelson gave a review of research at Beaverlodge.  Medhat Nasr spoke about IPM , then Jack Hamilton spoke about beekeeping in Nova Scotia.  He runs the bees on blueberry pollination for the Bragg Lumber Company -- about 10,000 hives, I believe.

Richard Adee then spoke about the AHPA and the anti-dumping efforts that resulted in the current high price for honey.  He mentioned that there is a new threat and that $120,000 will be needed to face the new Chinese effort to circumvent the trade action against them.  He mentioned that Canadian beekeepers had supported the previous efforts with cash and that this was not forgotten.

Len Fulton spoke about the possibility of forming a honey commission to collect a check-off for research and marketing, then Derek Parker spoke about his review of the US Bee importation issue.

In the evening, Jack, Richard, Herb and Naomi Isaac, and I drove across town for supper in a steak and seafood house in Strathcona.  We took a scenic tour on the way over, but drove straight back.

Today..Mainly sunny. Wind west 20 km/h. High 9. 
Tonight..Partly cloudy. Wind northwest 20. Low zero. 
Normals for the period..Low minus 7. High 5. 

Wednesday November 6th, 2002
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The day started off with a talk by Norm Greidanus, which I missed since I was having breakfast with Medhat.  Then the business meeting took place and it was fairly tranquil and very short.  We have a new board and a new president: Jerry Poelman.

I'm sitting in my room waiting for the AHPC meeting tomorrow.  It is a chance to catch up on a few things and rest.

  1. I really am intending to cut back to just a few hives.  We have up to 2,400 double hives and supers for sale immediately, and are planning to advertise them starting now.  
The price is $200 each in two (heavy) brood chambers, supers extra, with some room for negotiation for large numbers and/or if pallets and lids and wraps, etc are not needed.  

25% down now will hold them until spring.  Some financing is possible.  Enquire.  Buy now, leave them on the present sites for winter, or pick up anytime.  They are fed and medicated and wrapped for winter.  Buy one, or buy them all. Call

or contact me

 Prices in spring will by all reports be higher, since the chances of getting Australian packages -- which were getting dim before due to Auzzie bkprs gearing up for honey over queens and packages due to honey prices -- are now receding fast due to the recent small hive beetle finds.

Lately, I've gotten more interested in I doing web pages for people and also set up to be able to resell web space.  Anyone who wants a website -- custom or do-it-yourself -- should talk to me.  My prices are very reasonable.

Here are a couple of examples: www.ellendick.com www.rossrounds.com , www.globalpatties.com and, of course, this site.  This diary and bee site is my own fun project, and I make no apologies for the fact that there are unfinished and out-of-date pages and broken links on it.  Pages that I make for others are more professional.

The first site listed above is an old site I made years ago for my wife and it remains unchanged.  Scanners and web design have improved a lot since then.  The second site was also made years ago and would be a bit different if I did it today.  It actually needs some work, but the owner seems happy with it the way it is.  The third is a quick-and-dirty site I made up in a hotel room the other day in an hour from a price list and some shots I had on hand.  It costs the customer about $100 up front and $35 a year, plus the cost of any changes.  That's Canadian dollars. $1 CAD = 64c US.  Supplied with web-ready content, I can do even better.  Each site can come with lots of extras like custom email addresses, and authoring tools, if the owner wishes. There are no ads splashed on the sites, and anyone can usually get his or her own name as a URL. Contact me

Later, I went for supper and wound up partying with the ABA bunch in Esmeralda's.  We there until well after one.  I should have left sooner.  I'm not much good the next day if I stay up after midnight.

Today..A mix of sun and cloud. Wind southwest 30 gusting 50 km/h. High 14. 
Tonight..Clear. Wind southwest 30 gusting 50 diminishing. Low zero. 
Normals for the period..Low minus 7. High 5.

Thursday November 7th, 2002
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Today is the AHPC meeting.  Same old. Same old.  The co-op is promising $2.00 in a $2.50 market and a lot of beekeepers are falling for it.  In the meeting, they say they are, anyhow.  Nonetheless, intake is away down; it seems evident that members are silently voting with their trucks.  Tony Lalonde now has an intake almost as high (3.1 million pounds (est.)) as AHPC (4.9 (est.) currently) and is selling into the US market at a price higher than most US beekeepers are reportedly getting, effectively dragging the market up, not down the way many imports do.  Good for him.  Now, that is good business.

I've been asked to run for the board of directors of the organization, I did run a time or two in the past, and if I had been elected, i could have saved the organization millions of dollars they wasted when they went into the wax business without consulting the membership.  I'd have never stood for that.  But, I was defeated when I ran.  Probably now, I would indeed be elected, but I am smarter now than back then.  It's a volunteer job and the mentality of the membership is to scrimp on management expense.  Work for free running a $20 million dollar business?  Am I nuts?

I took a lot of pictures at the convention and Beemaid meeting.  They are temporarily located here for newsletters to pick up and use.



of the Day:

USDA Honey Report

Something many people know, but I should probably mention is that I am available to speak and show slides on a wide range of topics at conventions and meetings.  I can also sometimes suggest other interesting and informative speakers.

Today..Mainly cloudy. Wind southwest 20 km/h. High 12. 
Tonight..Mainly clear at first. Increasing cloud overnight then 60 percent chance of showers towards morning. Wind light. Low plus 2. 
Normals for the period..Low minus 8. High 4.

Friday November 8th, 2002
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Date: Fri, 8 Nov 2002 15:09:47 -0700 
From: allen 
Subject: Re: [BEE-L] Honey Prices 

> I know of no U.S. honey bringing $1.75 nor have any been reported on the Midwestern honey line. 

That's curious. I've been watching and not seen any either, although I heard of Argentine light amber at $1.71 a while back. I've heard people say that the packers are angry with US beekeepers for going ahead with the anti-dumping and paying more for imports than US honey. If so, they should be angry with Canadian beekeepers too, since Canada supplied some of the cost of production figures that were used and Canadian beekeepers also kicked in a fair bit of money in support of the cause. 

Packers also can tell a good story, and work hard to convince sellers to sell cheap. That's how they make money. There is very little profit in the actual packing and selling of honey. We have a lot of bottom feeders here in Canada, too. They work on fear, ignorance and tolerance to convince beekeepers to sell for less than the market price, and succeed in talking the seller out of a few thousand dollars, as often as not. Of course every beekeeper who sells cheap drives the price down. Thus we are all very grateful, not envious -- when we hear that someone sold high. People who sell high keep the price up for all. 

> I think the price will drop by January as new crop Argentine honey should be in the U.S. by then. 

I think January is a bit early for the Argentine crop to be assured unless it is huge. In the past, I've had to wait another month or two to be sure of the size of the crop. It seems to me that it is usually late March or April, before we know for sure. For example, even now, the size of the Canadian crop is still not known for sure, since it came in late. November in Canada is equivalent to May in the southern hemisphere. As for the Argentine price, they seem to have smartened up and are charging as much or more than US beekeepers for delivery to the US when duties, taxes and transport are figured in. Good for them. 


Paulo and Dave continued to wrap, Dennis tidied around the place.  I was going to take some granulation to Meijers', but when I phoned, Doreen said they had gone to Drum to buy a new truck.

I spent the day getting caught up and trying to figure out how to get the Windows Me machine to start.  It gets stuck at the end of the boot-up and I posted to alt.windows-me and microsft-public.windowsme.general, but so far the one response I got was a bit lame.  I'm still hoping I can find how to edit the queue in DOS since the machine freezes entirely and kills the one copy of Explorer that is running and nothing else will run.

In the evening I overhauled the www.ellendick.com site.  That web has been published about four different places since I had it on cuug.ab.ca.  I quit the Calgary Unix Users Group four years back or so, and the code for the current www.ellendick.com site, which was originally larger and written by hand on a UNIX text editor, has gotten broken a bit along the way since then.  Having it on geocities was the worst (a copy is still there).  Yahoo/geocities adds code for ads into the HTML, and it took me quite a while to take it out.  While at it, I fixed quite few links and tuned up some of the pictures a bit  

The new servers I'm using now are great. I get a control panel for each site and can see who has been visiting -- more or less -- from where, with what, and any broken links they encountered.  This site is still hosted elsewhere for now and so I'll in the dark about it.  It is a bit of work to move it, and I have been putting the job off.

My mother came in by Westjet to Edmonton at 3:53, and Jean picked here up there.  I phoned Ponoka at 8:30 to see how it went, and they were all in bed already.  It was a long day for Mom, and Jean is just recovering from stomach flu.

I got a hint in Scot's Newsletter that netbeui is not installed on XP systems, but that it can be installed from the XP disk.  Maybe that is the hint I need to network or use DCC to connect the Me machine (if I can ever get it started) to the XP machine.  Right now, I'm using the notebook (600 Mhz PIII) hooked up to the monitor, keyboard and mouse of the XP machine which sits unplugged and idle, since it won't talk to any of the others and they have all the interesting stuff on them.  It's amazing how much nicer the notebook is to use with the full-size I/O devices.



of the Day:

Today..Cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers or flurries. Wind light. High 5. 
Tonight..Cloudy with 30 percent chance of showers or flurries this evening. Wind light. Low minus 6. 
Saturday..Cloudy. Wind light. High plus 3. 
Sunday..Mainly cloudy. Low minus 5. High plus 3. 
Monday..Sunny. Low minus 2. High plus 5. 
Tuesday..A mix of sun and cloud. Low minus 4. High plus 4. 
Normals for the period..Low minus 8. High 4.

Saturday November 9th, 2002
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From: "allen" 
To: "Informed Discussion of Beekeeping Issues and Bee Biology" BEE-L@COMMUNITY.LSOFT.COM 
Subject: Oxalic Acid Evaporation
Date: Sat, 9 Nov 2002 10:51:41 -0700

> I did try to use a bee blower to inject powdered sugar into the entrance and treat the whole hive without moving any frames. ... I am sure someone could come up with a portable, effective method to quickly treat a hive without tearing the hive apart....

IMO, the Next Big Thing will be oxalic acid evaporation. It has a good report. It does not seem to hurt bees, leave a residue in honey, or endanger the operator if used with care. It can be applied at a time of year when the bees and beekeeper are not occupied with important tasks, and costs 2c per colony per treatment. Several treatments a year should do the trick and to paraphrase, 'resistance is futile. All mites will be killed' on contact.

P-O kindly showed how he does it at http://beeman.se/research/oxalic/oxalic-1-nf.htm . (Those are lovely pictures. I wonder how he gets them so clear).

I have been wanting to see in person how this works, and I happened to stumble onto just what I am looking for, at the recent ABA convention. Cor Dewit made a slide presentation to the ABA convention showing how he converted the European evaporator to work with a mobile low pressure blower so he can blow the vapour into entrances of hives -- even after they are wrapped -- and avoid all the problems associated with pushing a hot (300 degrees) evaporator into a hive entrance. Hive entrances may have low clearance or be obstructed with flammable wax and dead bees.

He has consented to my putting his pictures on the 'Net and as soon as I get the slides converted to digital, I'll post a URL. I gotta say, though, when I first saw the contraption, I thought to myself, "This is the dumbest looking thing I have ever seen".

Stay tuned.




of the Day:

Are you still using a clunky web browser like Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape?  I'm cheap and almost never buy software, but I did buy Opera.  Try it for free. Likewise, I did buy Mailwasher .  It's the only way I can handle all the SPAM.

Well, I finally fixed the Me machine, and am surprised that I am finding the relief anti-climactic.  When I lose access to a main machine, a mild panic sets in, and it becomes a very top priority to get it going ASAP.  Soon another machine is pressed into service and soon that device becomes familiar and comfortable and, after a few days, most essential functions can again be accomplished using the substitute.  Wallpaper is changed and menus and directories arranged until it is like an old shoe.  Files accumulate, and before long, all the recent work is on it.  Interest in the previous main machine tapers off, but there are still functions and files that need to be reached.

In my case, I had been using the notebook, a PIII 600 for a week already while on the road, and the main hassle is the small keyboard, the Glidepoint (okay for a while, but certainly not as good as a mouse), and the small monitor at 600 X 800.  When the Me machine cratered, I set up the peripherals from the XP machine (still not set up with my favourite apps and files) onto the Toshiba.  I use the notebook as a backup device  using DCC, so most of my favourite software and files are on it as well as the desktop machine. 

Once the resolution and mouse speed was right, I could hardly tell that I was not on my main machine.  The lesson?  If you have a notebook computer, set it up with good peripherals and save the cost of an additional computer.  I'm thinking seriously of getting a KVM box.  At $100 or so, that allows using the same monitor, mouse, and keyboard on multiple computers.  That would be handy.

From: "allen" 
Newsgroups: microsoft.public.windowsme.general, alt.windows-me
Subject: Re: Error in SHDOCVW.DLL freezes Me at startup
Date: Sat, 9 Nov 2002 23:12:23 -0700

Well I solved it myself. I dug around in the MS KB -- which is terribly organized as far as I can tell, with links not pointing to what they are supposed to -- but that is another matter.

At any rate I found that I could simply edit the system.ini, located in the (windows folder) using DOS, and substitute winfile.exe for explorer.exe in the "shell=" line. I guess I knew that, but had forgotten. Doing so brings up the old file manager from Windows 3.x instead of explorer.  The FM is very versatile for those who are familiar with it. Searches can be made and windows aps can run under the file manager.

I soon found control.exe, and with the control panel running, just went to 'add/remove' software. Selecting MSIE 6, I ran 'repair' and that fixed it.  I guess I could have followed the laborious procedures in the KB with DOS prompts and command line procedures, etc., but this is the easy way. It's nice to have that machine up again.

Just so people know...


I was disappointed in the results on the two newsgroups.  Usually there are experts there.  I got a few nice replies, but nobody really knew the answer.  I blame it on the long weekend.

Today..Snow tapering to a few flurries. Additional amounts less than 2 cm. Wind light. High minus 5. 
Tonight..Mainly cloudy. Wind light. Low minus 10. 
Normals for the period..Low minus 8. High 4.

Sunday November 10th, 2002
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I booted the office Me machine and the problem is back.  It seems to be time-related.  I'm considering removing MSIE6. 

I read your diary with interest and checked out the link to the oxalic acid evaporation system. I have been quite interested in trying it myself but when I requested info from the producer of the equipment in B.C. during the summer he informed me that it was not approved for use in Canada so he couldn't sell me an evaporator. Has there been any change in the Canadian stance on oxalic acid or is there any movement in that direction ? 

I'm not sure what the actual situation is here in Canada.  It does, indeed, seem that we are free to do, and to discuss, anything we care to.  Our authorities seem to have enough respect for well-informed beekeepers that they allow quite a lot of  latitude. After all, the beekeeper is the guy who loses it all if he/she contaminates honey, and honey testing is becoming very widespread and getting very, very sensitive.  We saw the results of contamination when loads from Saskatchewan were dumped years ago due to sulfathiazole residues around 1ppm. 

There are quite a few products and practices that are being promoted publicly which do not have official sanction, but which are displayed in public at conventions, in the presence of provincial apiarists and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) people.  I am sure that the officials think deeply about each of these products and practices.  If they see potential hazards, they speak up, but otherwise, they just watch. 

The USA is a an exception in the Western world inasmuch as social pressure and government agencies place tight limits on free speech and action.  Even speaking about an illegal or unapproved treatment in the USA can result in prosecution (See Caldera's experience with the USDA a few years back).   In contrast to the US, I sometimes read the Belgian list, (archives -- in French) and am shocked with the pesticide and chemical use that is openly discussed and practiced in Europe.  Things in Canada seem to follow the trends in the USA, and I see lately that injury lawyers -- something we never saw here before -- are suddenly breeding like fleas.  From that, I can only guess that within a few years, people will become as fearful, and our freedoms will be as restricted as they are in the US.  My guess is that the Canadian equipment producer is more afraid of a civil suit than of legal action by regulators.  He'd feel safer if his method were endorsed by authorities.

So, as far as using oxalic in Canada is concerned, a word with local authorities like a provincial apiculturalist beforehand is wise, for perspective.  CFIA is the wildcard in the whole thing, since they seem to be a rudderless ship, bashing into things here and there, but with no firm course plotted, and no one clearly at the helm.  So far, they have acted with restraint, mainly warning about the use of unapproved drugs in hives and recalling the Chinese honey when chloramphenicol was found (not by them BTW, but by a packer who was monitoring the competition), and working towards a HACCP system industry-wide.

If there are no residues, and if our customers in Europe and the USA do not object -- as some currently do about benzaldehyde (a food ingredient) and butyric acid (another food ingredient) (See correction by Jim Fischer, below)   it seems to me that we will be able to use these organic acid varroa control methods.  There has been no complaint whatsoever -- so far -- about formic acid (another natural ingredient in honey and food), and for what it is worth, oxalic acid apparently decomposes into formic acid, CO and water.  Oxalic is also found naturally in foods in far greater amounts than would likely to be a result of even careless fumigation.  Moreover, in the European studies, oxalic levels in the honey in the brood nest were actually lower after fumigation than before treatment.

Here's a comment from Jim Fischer

...While "butyric acid" is found in rancid butter and a few rotted fruits (but never fresh fruits). Rancid butter and rotted fruits are not "food" per se.

But no beekeeper uses butyric acid. They use butyric ANHYDRIDE. It is true that some percentage of butyric anhydride hydrolyzes to butyric acid when exposed to air, but not all.

Butyric acid is C3H7CO2H Butyric anhydride is C8H14O3

Clearly, they are not the same chemical.

There is no approved "food use" of butyric anhydride in the USA. There was an EPA "exemption from the requirement for a tolerance" for butyric anhydride in honey, but this was revoked back in 1998 (which is the major reason why I started the project that resulted in development of Bee-Quick).

Butyric anhydride is still allowed as a pesticide additive in animal feed, but it is not permitted at any level in any human food in the USA.

So, why does the EPA allow the sale of butyric to beekeepers? Is use of butyric anhydride "legal" in the USA? Good question....

But I don't need to be a pain about regulations. There are some who prefer to use Butyric, and it is not my place to make their lives difficult. Bee-Quick is doing so well that we are clearly kicking butyric's butt on "ease of use" and "worker-safety" alone.

Thanks Jim, for setting us straight on this.

I removed MSIE6 and played around with selective boot and the boot problem seemed to be solved.  I restarted the machine several times and was satisfied that the problem was licked.

I then installed Netbui on the XP machine and it suddenly noticed the Me machine which had been connected all  along by Ethernet, but invisible.  The notebook, connected by parallel cable also came into view -- more or less. I did the updates to XP from the web and left that download in progress while El and I went to the Mill for supper.  On the way, we saw that Wendy was at the Global Grounds Internet Cafe she is opening in Linden, and we stopped in to show them the website I gave her as an opening present.  The picture is from a Halloween party, and I think she will change it soon.

When I got home, I started to copy the drives from the Me machine to the XP unit to create a backup and to start my migration.  It is a long process, and I went to bed with it running.  I awoke at one-0-five AM to hear the printer reset, and realized that we had a power bump.  I hoped that this would not damage anything.  It shut down the machines in mid-transfer, but things seemed okay.

Today..Morning fog patches otherwise cloudy with 30 percent chance of flurries. Wind light. High minus 3. 
Tonight..Partly cloudy. Wind west 20 km/h. Low minus 5. 
Normals for the period..Low minus 9. High 3.

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