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The last time somebody said, 'I find I can write much better with a word processor.',
I replied, 'They used to say the same thing about drugs.'
-- Roy Blount Jr. --

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Saturday 20 November 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

Talk low, talk slow, and don't talk too much -- John Wayne

Allen's Link of the Day:

Diazinon To Be Gone in USA By New Year

I got to puttering and set up a page with pictures of the trip Joe and I made to to Lusbys' in 2002.  That was three years ago, now.  Lusbys have continued on with their 4.9 work, and attracted quite a bit of interest.  I'm not sure that I accept all the theory, or think that their methods would work for a commercial beekeeper in Alberta, but their bees looked good to us, and their emphasis on operating without chemical treatments is turning out to be quite current.

At noon, El and I drove to YYC and by 11 PM, we were at BOS, where Jon and Katrina picked us up and whisked us back to providence.  We're here for 10 days, for Thanksgiving and a visit.

Today : Cloudy. 30 percent chance of flurries early this morning then clearing. High 3. / Tonight : A few clouds. Low minus 7. / Normals for the period : Low minus 10. High plus 1.

Sunday 21 November 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

A stupid man's report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand -- Bertrand Russell

I got a call today from a commercial beekeeper in Florida, asking about Oxamite strips.  He was saying the mites are eating them alive, and that some beekeepers are using 20x the recommended dose of fluvalinate, twice what I had reported previously!  The effects on queens and drones is pretty sad.  He also says he just got 57c for his honey, a mix of cabbage and some other sources.  I have been getting lots of questions about oxalic, so am going to see if I can add bit more here to what is already under Selected Topics.  Here are a few recent links.

BeeSource Diseases and Pests Forum

I expect to be catching things up in the next few days.  I have some emails to answer, and I think I'll do that here.

Sunday : Sunny with cloudy periods. High 7.

Monday 22 November 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don't need it -- Bob Hope

We slept in an visited in the morning.  Later, we went to Sarah's gym and then had a later lunch nearby.  Jon & I tried to figure out the problem with one of the treadmills, but ended up loading it into the pickup truck.

Monday : Cloudy. 60 percent chance of flurries. Low minus 4. High minus 2.

Tuesday 23 November 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level -- Quentin Crisp

Jon and I got to talking about computers.  He has a machine running FreeBSD and I haven't used any *nixes for quite a while.  I had played with several Linux distros, but never had much luck with the install.  I am not looking for an OS that is hard to install.  Anyhow, I had looked at Knoppix some time back, but the download was huge for my phone connection and I didn't follow up.  Anyhow, we decided to download Knoppix over his high speed connection, and within an hour, we had burned a boot CD.  I put it in to the drive and rebooted, and pesto!, I was running Linux with a KDE desktop and full suite of software!  I also could switch to several other desktops, including Ice and Debian with a few clicks.

Knoppix runs entirely off the CD and does not touch the hard drive on the computer unless asked to.  I'm using the NTFS file system, so decided not to try writing, but Knoppix read all the files just fine and I could read my files from Knoppix .  Knoppix also detected all my settings and peripherals without a hitch, although I did decide to specify the native resolution of my display during subsequent boots, since I wanted to use the whole screen.

From http://www.knopper.net/knoppix/index-en.html : KNOPPIX is a bootable CD with a collection of GNU/Linux software, automatic hardware detection, and support for many graphics cards, sound cards, SCSI and USB devices and other peripherals. KNOPPIX can be used as a Linux demo, educational CD, rescue system, or adapted and used as a platform for commercial software product demos. It is not necessary to install anything on a hard disk. Due to on-the-fly decompression, the CD can have up to 2 GB of executable software installed on it.

I found Knoppix to be faster than Windows and very complete.  The tabbed Internet browsing was excellent and Konquerer is much nicer than MSIE, but at times, I did miss Maxthon, my favourite browse and being able to use my bookmarks.

Tuesday : Sunny. Low minus 12. High minus 3.

Wednesday 24 November 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think -- Horace Walpole

Wednesday : A mix of sun and cloud. Low minus 8. High plus 1.

Thursday 25 November 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

I feel like a fugitive from the law of averages -- William H. Mauldin

Thanksgiving Day.  We went over to Margot's for an afternoon meal and ate well.  Billy and Bill were there, and Catherine came over with her kids for desert.

Friday 26 November 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something -- Robert Heinlein

P-O sent me a picture from Thailand.  If you haven't been to his beekeeping site, it is one of the best on the web

Jon and I took the treadmill to a shop for repair.

Saturday 27 November 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

What is the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on -- Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, we drove up to Round Lake and moved some hives with Aaron and Betsy.  He has an S!0 Chevy truck, and I was driving my son's Dodge Ram.  He carried the hives, and we took the bricks and stands. Pictures are below.

On the left is a jar of comb Aaron drew, along with 13 others,  over a crowded single brood above a plywood cover with 14 holes drilled in it.  I presume he covered the jars with a super and lid to keep them in the dark.  After the jars were full of comb, he took off the jars, waited until the bees left, then filled the empty area with honey.  He gave us one, and the honey tastes as good as it looks.

Aaron's house in Round LakeAaron, Betsy and me taping up the hives in preparation for movingAaron adjusting a top hive into place
Betsy (left) & EllenThe destination yardDarkness fell before we left

We stayed the night and watched, "Elf" on the DVD player.

Sunday 28 November 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

A lot of people mistake a short memory for a clear conscience -- Doug Larson

We stayed until noon., then drove back to Rhode Island.  The traffic got pretty heavy on the Massachusetts Turnpike, so we drove the back roads and, in spite of heavy rain, got back in good time.

Monday 29 November 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot -- Steven Wright

Jon took Katrina to school, and we stayed home.  I enjoyed the high speed Internet and Ellen read.  In the afternoon, we went shopping at Seekonk.

Sarah brought home a Christmas tree and they set it up, but did not decorate it.  That will happen tomorrow.

Saw your diary entry on Cor Dewit. When do you do OA treatments? Do you treat with OA just prior to wrapping? My bees here are hunkered down for winter with snow on the ground. These were all new packages this past spring and I didnít do any monitoring. Bees here in Anchorage in the past have generally made it through the first winter with no treatment. Itís the following summer when I begin readily seeing mites and shrivelled wings. To be honest I donít feel comfortable pestering the bees this late in the season. Do you think a spring treatment might be ok?

Answer coming soon...

Tuesday 30 November 2004
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Today's events in 2003  2002  2001  2000

Sanity is a madness put to good use -- George Santayana

 Pretty much a repeat of yesterday

> I used to keep hives and am considering going to a larger scale
> operation in the Camrose area.

The Camrose area has several large commercial beekeepers at present, so I'm not sure how much room there is around there.  Nonetheless, moist of Alberta is very much understocked with bees, so I imagine there must be some room.  In my opinion, Alberta could carry twice as many hives and still not be crowded.  In the seventies, the industry was expanding at a good rate, but border closure put and end to that.  Recently, pollination has financed expansion again, but not for honey production.

> I have one question for you that may
> or may not determine on how far I go but it would help. You mentioned
> that the future of honey seems to show that the price will drop.
> Do you think it will go below the $1.00 lbs and if so is it still
> viable in the commercial end of it?

Word is that Billy Bee has been offering 95c in the past week.  In the past, though, BB has always been known for low ball.  They phone around to see who is in need of cash and try to pick up bargains.  I really do not know what the price is or where it will all end up.  It seems that the South Americans are anxious to unload their honey, so I guess we'll know more in January.  Many beekeepers traditionally start selling. then, for tax reasons.

As for viability of honey production at prices under a dollar, that all depends on management.  The cost of the capital items, plus the cost of labour and other expenses, weighed against the amount produced per hive and the price determines whether there will be profit.  I know some beekeepers who can make money at 65c, but they won't make money every year at that price.

> I have just thought of some other questions. Roughly how many hives
> would you need to make it a viable commercial operation and at what
> cost would that take.

That is a very difficult question to answer, since that comes down to the area and the crops, the operating style and the ingenuity and capabilities of the operator.  Those who have maintenance skills and who are able to improvise typically do well in times when prices are down.

Buying in at current equipment prices, with low returns on the horizon could be a bad decision.  For those buying in, the cost of beehives and bees will likely go down as some give up, but that decline in price typically takes a few years.

> If you have any hives left I would be interested in purchasing some.
> You mentioned brood and that is fine as I would need the starter
> chambers anyhow. Also is there another alternative to getting
> package bees. Other than from Bee maid in Spruce Grove.

That is probably the best supplier, but F.W. Jones, Norm Bartel and others handle New Zealand packages.

> Will we be able to purchase any packages from the U.S. now that that
> border has opened to bees?

Not at present.  Beekeepers in several other provinces continue to lobby to maintain the border closure to package bees from the USA, even though it has nothing whatsoever to do with them, and even though their bee industries are small and not particularly significant to Canadian production, and although they are free to keep their own provincial borders closed to whatever they care to.

> I know some of the problems that you have mentioned and would be
> concerned about having more problems here in Canada.

Our biggest problem is that our regulators seem to be more concerned about minor diseases and hypothetical pests than they are about the health of our industry.

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