April 1 to 10, 2003
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Today is foggy. We were going to get out and feed today, but we had a downpour last night and the ground is soggy everywhere, so we worked around the place doing things that need doing. Although we have commitments for all the hives, several buyers are still lining up the rest of their money and we have some responsibility for the hives in the meantime. We will also take until mid-June or longer to wind down. Cleaning up the yard will take longer yet.
Dennis changed the glow plugs in D5. Some time back, D5 had become impossible to start, and the glow plug controller had started to cycle in a way that suggested it was shot. We tested the glow plugs and four were bad, so we took a chance and changed them, but not the controller. The results are amazing; the controller was fine and truck starts in a jiffy now. It should -- the engine and the injector system is totally rebuilt and has only about 5 -10,000 kilometers on it.
This is the first month that most of the site traffic has come to this server, rather than Internode. I hope everyone has updated bookmarks. I notice capitalization of old URLs is still causing problems for some visitors, and search engines are still trying to figure out what I am doing.
(Canadian dollars, and double brood chamber hives with no supers)
|From the Mid-US
Rained here and the snow is also still soaking in.
Well, selling into a rising market can't hurt. My old stock broker used to say, "You never go broke taking a profit", and "Always leave something in it for the other guy". Good advice. I sold at reasonable prices for all concerned. Greed always comes back and bites.
Human nature being what it is, you know that a fair deal has been struck when both parties go away thinking, "I wonder if I could have done just a little bit better..".
|The CIA World Factbook|
Today : Morning fog otherwise mainly cloudy. 60 percent chance of afternoon showers. Risk of a thunderstorm. Wind east 20 km/h. High 6. Tonight : Showers changing to periods of snow this evening. Wind east 20. Low minus 8. Normals for the period : Low minus 5. High plus 8.
Weather does not look too promising for feeding today, or the rest of the week, for that matter. 10cm of snow tonight? That's four inches! Package bee weather for sure; it never fails. Meijers install tomorrow and Saturday.
Meijers came to borrow a syrup pump and stayed for lunch. I ran out to Elliott's Home and picked up the yard. Dennis went East to pick up a few hives and Paulo went West to gather deadouts. We're short of brood chambers to fill an order.
Today : Snow and patchy freezing drizzle. Wind east 20 km/h. High minus 5./ Tonight : Periods of snow. Total accumulation near 10 cm. Wind east 20. Low minus 12. / Normals for the period : Low minus 4. High plus 8.
Ellen & I went to Calgary to meet with an estate planner to get our affairs straightened out and did some shopping. The guys had the day off.
Today : Snow tapering off to flurries this morning. Wind east 20 km/h. High minus 7. / Tonight : Mainly cloudy. 60 percent chance of evening flurries. Wind east 20. Low minus 12./ Normals for the period : Low minus 4. High plus 8.
We have more snow on the ground again and the pond is frozen over. The guys went out again -- separately in two trucks -- to pick up drums and deadouts. The snow is making things difficult in some yards, still.
|From one of our buyers...
|From the Mid-US again...
|I called the Mid-US honey price hotline tonight.
(763-658-4193). It was updated April 1st.
Here's a summary:
I'd encourage readers to phone and to leave info on sales and prices. It helps us all to keep from selling too cheap. Non-US sellers particularly need to know the market. I keep hearing from places like the Ukraine and Brazil with unrealistically low prices. I think that some sellers don't know a kilo is 2.2 times bigger than a pound and that US prices are in pounds, not kilos. Kilos are the standard in much of the world.
Honey at $2.00 per pound should be $4.40 per kilo, folks!
The guys got back late and unloaded until dark. Not sure what they accomplished, but I think quite a bit. Tomorrow we would have worked, but the weather is predicted to be cloudy and Paulo needs to inspect brood comb. That job is much easier with the sun over your shoulder, although I have done thousands of supers standing in a honey house in winter, using a light bulb.
As it stands we have sold all our hives, plus some, and both the swingers when we are ready to let them go. 1,000 of the hives are still here, but the buyers assure me they have the cash lined up and are just signing papers. We sold a truck the other day and now have three diesels and two gas units to sell. I guess it is time to be more enthused about and say, "Yes", to offers.
|From a buyer in B.C...
|From another B.C. buyer...
Less than 1 mite per day on 10% of hives checked (random selection) in each yard. Tracheal was nil, except for some low levels in several yards.
See also www.honeylandcanada.com
Today : A mix of sun and cloud. 60 percent chance of flurries. Wind light. High minus 4. / Tonight : Cloudy. 30 percent chance of overnight flurries. Wind southeast 20 km/h. Low minus 10. / Normals for the period : Low minus 4. High plus 9.
Today : Cloudy with morning fog patches and freezing drizzle. A few flurries at times heavy this afternoon. Wind light. High minus 1. / Tonight : Cloudy with a 30 percent chance of flurries at times heavy this evening. Clearing overnight. Wind light. Low minus 8. / Normals for the period : Low minus 4. High plus 9.
Ellen & I drove south to look at a motorhome we had heard about and planned to spend the night in Lethbridge. Along the way, we saw a beautiful machine for sale beside the road, and stopped to take a look. It was a 6 year old class A with only 17,000 km on it, and a good layout. The price on it was half the new price, but still pretty rich for us. I suppose we can afford it, but, since we are retiring, we are more careful with money. We were on our way to look at an older machine with a much smaller price tag, so we reserved judgment.
When we arrived in Nobleford and saw the unit we had planned to buy, it turned out to be pretty used up, and burning oil. We passed on it, and drove on to Lethbridge, where we looked around at motorhome dealers to see what is available, and for what price. There are some nice new ones for $100,000 or so (+ tax), but, golly, that would buy an awful lot of first class travel, and, in some ways, traveling by motorhome -- no matter how fancy -- is tougher and rougher than traveling by plane and/or car.
In the first year, the value of a motorhome drops by 25% from the sticker price, and each year thereafter by another 10%. I wonder how two people could manage to get $25,000 worth of value out of such a machine in one year.
Buying secondhand makes sense, since the depreciation is much less, but there is still license and insurance, and that can add another $1,000 minimum. Then there is fuel, amounting to $0.30/mile, at current prices and counting on 12 MPG, which could be optimistic for a 29 foot machine. Traveling locally, this would add $900 for 3,000 miles (ten trips to Keho) or assuming a major trip to the east coast and a trip into Mexico, $3,600 for 12,000 miles. Adding contingencies, and camping fees, the cost could easily be well over $30,000 for the first year in a new unit. To me that is ridiculous. Going with a 6-year old unit, the cost is still close to $10,000.
We went for supper at Cotes' and stayed the night. They have cut down to 50 hives from the hundreds they once had and are now very much into tree moving as a business.
In the morning, we had a late breakfast and went to see Rick's parents after lunch. It turned out that his dad has a very nice machine that might just suit us. We were in love until we drove it and then I remembered how unlike a car these machines are, They sway quite a bit and this one was a bit noisy in the cab. I think I've become too soft and fussy. I compare driving vehicles to the ease of driving a car. At any rate here were a few problems needing work and we drove it over to Rick's to get them looked after, since Rick is a mechanic. We've reserved final judgment, but I think we're going to buy it.
On the way home we stopped again and looked at the unit that first caught our eye and managed to lock our keys in the car. AMA came and saved us, but I think I've used up my rescues for the year.
|From a B.C. beekeeper...
...We raised the prices on our grocery store contracts again yesterday but they still seem to buy as much, if not more, than they did when honey was at $1.50 lb bulk (CAD price is currently $2.50 bulk -- ad). Never ceases to amaze me...
Sunday : Sunny. Wind light. High plus 4. / Tonight : 30 percent chance of evening flurries otherwise mainly clear. Wind light. Low minus 7. / Normals for the period : Low minus 4. High plus 9.
Today is nice and Dennis is getting the feed system ready to go. Paulo is going through brood chambers. It's a job he hates. I don't know why, but many people seem to. I suspect that someone, sometime back, said it was a crappy job and since then everyone has thought so. I think it is pleasant enough, but they drag their feet on that job it and, so they prove to themselves that they can't do it...
I got a call from one of our buyers and he still is not ready to roll. I had to tell him that, by the time he gets his act together, he will be looking at reduced numbers, if he does not show up with a cheque. He is losing his place in line. I warned him last week, and he still does not get it. Anyone who shows up with cash goes to the head of the line from now on. The bees need a new owner and they can't wait.
Right after that, I got a call from a buyer in B.C. who heard good things about the hives we sent out previously and I think that they might take as many as 100. I took back 40 from a friend who is having unexpected personal problems, so this should work.
Beekeeping is very unforgiving towards those who are even one day late for some operations, and I have no patience for a customer who wants to get cute and drag things out. There are plenty of good beekeepers who are happy to take these bees.
Dennis finished all his various jobs and went feeding. He did two yards: Apistan®, protein and extender, plus syrup. This was a shake-out trip and it went well.
Paulo did 36 brood chambers all day, if we counted right. Ellen went out and did 12 in 45 minutes while she was demonstrating. Of course she did not do any clean-up or set-up, or have a coffee break, or have to work all day, but, I think you get the idea. Would 72 a day have been too much to ask?
Today : Sunny. Wind increasing to southwest 30 gusting 50 km/h. High 9. / Tonight : Partly cloudy. Wind diminishing to light. Low zero. / Normals for the period : Low minus 3. High plus 9.
Paulo was inspecting and sorting brood chambers this morning, when I realized that I had not received the cheque for the brood chambers and we had promised to ship by the weekend. I had phoned previously and received no answer, but tried again and got the buyers' mother who told me that he had been about to send the cheque when she had dissuaded him by telling him that he did not know me. She was fairly certain that he had not sent it. Moreover, he was away working on his bees somewhere for the week. I pointed out that we had set aside other pressing work just to meet his schedule, and that if he was backing out, we'd like to know. Later I got this email:
|In regards to our phone conversation at noon today I wanted to let
you know as soon as possible that I managed to get a hold of (name) in
the town where they do beekeeping and as he does not have access to E
Mail there I am sending this for him. I'm sorry to tell you that he has
changed his mind about buying from you only as of yesterday when he came
across some chambers here in (place) that he can get for a less expensive
Very sorry for the inconvenience it has caused you. I am sure you will have no trouble getting rid of them though
Can you believe that? Really! I can get rid of them, sometime, somewhere, so it's okay that we wasted time making special trips through snow and mud for nothing? We spent several days and waded through knee-deep snow, just to get the boxes he told me he was desperate to get before his packages arrived, and we worked through the boxes, only to find out -- after chasing him -- that he was not only not buying, but also he was not letting us know. We could have worked another day or two for nothing if I had not realized that something was wrong. If not for him, we would have just routinely picked up the few dead in each yard when we were there feeding, with no extra cost to us. As it was, I think we spent $5 per box just on this special effort.
People wonder why when they call to buy bees and equipment that I tell them I expect cash before I believe a word they say. Here I made an exception. The guy sounded honest and I tried to help him out. Should I bill this jerk for time wasted? Write me and tell me what you think.
El & I spent the afternoon on invoices and other projects, then went to Meijers' for supper. It is Oene's 50th birthday and after supper, their brother and family, and some neighbours came by for a visit as well.
Apistan® instructions vary from one country to another. Our packaging specifies use " in the spring before the first honey flow and in the fall after the last honey flow". Also, "For best chemical distribution, use APISTAN STRIPS when daytime high temperatures are at least 10 degrees C." We understand that by "flow', the package means flows that are large enough to require supers. Otherwise, we would never be able to put strips in, because, around here, there is always a risk of a light flow during any 42 day period during seasons when it is not too cold to use them.
We are having a very slow, cold, spring. We are still barely able to get to some hives. Daytime temperatures were in the minus teens last week. We would have liked to put on apistan several weeks ago, but the weather has been against us. For us, the dandelion flow is 5 weeks away. Silver willow 7. Nonetheless, we never make enough to store in supers or extract until mid-June or July, at the earliest . Spring flows in our area are used for build-up and splitting only.
I, frankly, have little use for such methods when a small Apistan treatment works so well.
Apistan works well for us. Our fall mite drops (natural - 24 hour) were all less than one varroa per day, and our only treatment had been one strip in spring. We did have an extremely dry spring and summer, though and that may have the effect of reducing varroa. Nonetheless, I learned this spring 1-strip technique from a beekeeper with 12,000 hives who claims to never get over 300 mites with his fall 24 hour Apistan-assisted drop samples.
As always, YMMV. Each region and each beekeeper is unique, and what works for one, may not work for another. Whatever method is chosen, the prudent beekeeper will follow up with careful observation, and tests to verify success. A smart beekeeper listens to everything, but reserves judgment until he or she has proven it in his or her own bee yard(s).
Today : A mix of sun and cloud. Wind southwest 20 km/h. High 12. / Tonight : Partly cloudy. Wind south 20. Low 3. / Normals for the period : Low minus 3. High plus 10.
There is still a little snow on the ground here and there, but most is gone. The snow was slow in melting and it soaked in well, so I think our ground moisture should be pretty good for a good start to spring. Once again this year, our weather has been cooler than normal and we are running late.
Dennis and Paulo were keen to get out and get feeding, and they were ready and gone fifteen minutes after 8.
| Dialogue from
sci.agriculture.beekeeping regarding oxalic acid...
>> I have 19 hives and lost not even
one, they all in best condition. How did I make it? Go to the following
website and forget about Apistan, the Varroa is resistant.
>> I inspected the sticky paper after 4 days and counted the mites. I began treating my hives with oxalic acid vapour early last Fall (end of Sept) as I was worried about the high infection rate. The treatments were given 7 days apart over a 6 week period and I was encouraged when fewer and fewer mites appeared on the paper. It's not possible to reach the mites in closed cells during the breeding season , that's why I vaporised so often .Otherwise I'm sure I would have lost them all.
>> It's extremely important to monitor the sticky paper and do your best to control the mites during the year. During the brood-free time I believe 2 treatments should be enough to get them under control. Success of course, depends on knowing when this will be. In some areas , the bees breed throughout the year and you have to treat for at least one or better, 2 brood cycles.
>>Oxalic acid treatment does not hard the bees or queen, therefore you can treat as often as necessary.
That last comment perhaps explains why spring apistan treatments work so much better than fall treatment. In the fall, the bees are on the floor of the hive and the mites that are weakened can climb back on. In the spring, the bees are in the top box and any mites that fall off are gone forever.
Today : A mix of sun and cloud. Wind west 30 km/h. High 12. / Tonight : Clear. Wind light. Low minus 2. / Normals for the period : Low minus 3. High plus 10.
"If I make a
living off it, that's great -- but I come from a culture where you're valued
not so much by what you acquire but by what you give away,"
-- Larry Wall (the inventor of Perl)
|Please report any problems or errors to Allen Dick
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