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Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
-- Will Rogers --

"I read your diary all the time and find it very interesting. One thing I'm always looking for is current honey prices! I also sent you some pictures that I have taken recently. I love taking pictures so from time to time I can send pictures if you would like. I'm also the editor for the Red River Apiarist association and a 3rd year beekeeper. I love it!! I started with 6 hives and the next year jumped to 85! That was quite the challenge with the weather we had last year. Anyways here are some pictures of my hives!! -- Dan

"P.S. I used the #1872 for my Desk top as a wall paper! Looks great!

Thanks, Dan.  Pictures are always appreciated.  I'll try to do more on prices.  The picture above is lo-res for fast loading, but here are two of Dan's hi-res pix if anyone wants to use them for desktops.   One  Two

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Tuesday 1 February 2005
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I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me -- Noel Coward

Calendar of upcoming beekeeping eventsAm I going to Saskatoon?  I am beginning to doubt it. As much as it might be nice to be there, I don't look forward to the eight-hour drive there and eight hours back.  I guess that years of attending the US meetings has given me a new perspective.  What little of importance that happens here can be learned as easily in the US, along with much more.  I realise that some think we are much smarter, but actually, it looks to me as if we are just lucky.  Our climate gives us great crops and protects us from a lot of problems.

To tell the truth, I am really beginning to doubt the relevance of the CHC and many other Canadian beekeeping groups.  From an Alberta beekeeping perspective, any provinces east of Winnipeg just do not matter in any positive way.  Some are are closed to Alberta bees and hives, some tend to be very restrictive and anti-business in their outlook, and their only significance for us is the political force they exert against us.  There are a few national issues, but I think we would be better off without any national organisations.  What have often does us more harm than good.  What little we need from the national government (less is more!), we can negotiate ourselves, and our provincial government backs us all the way.  What national policies exist, most of them - IMO - are actually harmful to, or useless from the perspective of Alberta beekeepers.  We need some honey regulations to protect the word honey and our market, some rules to ensure product safety, and that is about it.

The simple fact is that most commercial beekeepers like to mind their own business, and have little interest in bothering others, especially other beekeepers more than a few miles away, and the beekeepers who thrust themselves forward into organisations tend too often to be do-gooders and busybodies who want power over others.  Don't get me wrong.  There are many who are not, and who have served selflessly to make this industry profitable, but too often, IMO this has been the case in the past. 

The Canadian Honey Producers Association is attempting to put that right, but, from what I can tell, nobody there is really interested in much more than getting the CHC off our backs, and getting a few wrongs righted.

Allen's Links of the Day:

* Bee Master Course is Full

* Diphenhydramine hydrochloride (Benadryl) is a safe and useful drug for beekeepers with allergies to bees, dust, pollen, etc.

Further, looking closer to home, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are cut off from us.  Saskatchewan is closed, and moreover has used its political energy to thwart Alberta's goals.  (And their own, IMO).  As a result, of Saskatchewan's isolationist policies, Manitoba is isolated - by Sask on the west, and miles and miles of bush on the east.   There are some smart, free-trading beekeepers in Manitoba, but they are cut off from us.

In fact, when I think about it, I realise that most of these provinces do nothing for us at all, but on the other hand, they often deliberately and actively interfere with our business. 

Imagine, for a moment, a Canada with no CHC.  Here in Alberta, we would be far better off, since we would be represented by an organisation which actually represents us - our own - and have no national organisation to set up obstacles for us. 

I will say a good word here for British Columbia, though.  B.C.  is, with the exception of the Island, progressive, tolerant, largely well-informed, and not restrictive to the legitimate business needs of beekeepers.

Anyhow, I must take the car in for an alignment shortly, so I'll write more later...

Winter is winding down, now, but I got a call asking about how I make winter wraps.  I dug up an article I did for Bee Culture magazine in 2002, and sent it off.  I don't see it  on the Bee Culture site anymore, so here it is.  Also remember to visit Selected Topics from time to time.

Ellen & I took the car to town for an alignment and have to take it back for some more parts and tires later.  We also ordered new tires for the van.

Meijers came for supper and we contemplated going to Saskatoon and Winnipeg.  Try as we might, we could not justify the time and the expense.  There are a couple of interesting topics.  One is the mention of an electron beam facility in Manitoba.

Today: A mix of sun and cloud. High 10. Tonight: A few clouds. Wind becoming south 20 km/h overnight. Low zero. Wednesday: Sunny with cloudy periods. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h in the morning. High 14. Thursday: A mix of sun and cloud. Low 3. High 12. Friday: Cloudy. 40 percent chance of flurries. Low minus 4. High plus 1. Saturday: Periods of snow. Low minus 14. High minus 11. Normals: High: -3°C Low: -14°C

Wednesday 2 February 2005
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Nothing is more conducive to peace of mind than not having any opinions at all -- Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

Allen's Links of the Day:

The Big Mac index

Acsion e-beam

I was saying, yesterday, that we would be better off without the CHC.  Maybe I'll try arguing the other side now.  After all, they are currently doing a few constructive things like the C-BISQT programme and getting the official OK for oxalic acid, and...  Hmmm. I'm out of good things to say for them...  Is there more?  Are these few things enough to make up for the damage they have done over the years?

Who knows? ...and what is past is past.  I hope the CHC, assuming it survives, continues to become more constructive, less obstructive and strongly interested in unselfish win/win solutions instead of the all or nothing, dog in the manger approaches that prevailed in the recent past.

I should also give the CHC high marks for their website.  It is full of good information, even though things are very hard to find there (I should talk, with my site!?).  I went looking for CHC oxalic and C-BISQT links to add here, and have spent ten minutes so far without finding either... yet.  I figured I'd beat the drum for their oxalic fund raising and pat them on the back for C-BISQT.  I assume I will eventually find the pages...

(Later)  Actually I did not find either, and I give up.

Ellen & I went to Calgary to pick up some frames for her paintings and did a little shopping.  I went looking at laptops, since I would like a smaller, lighter, quieter machine that lasts longer -- more than 3 hrs -- on a battery, and has a smaller power supply.  I like the Sony machines because they tend to have Windows XP pro, not XP Home, and also a much higher screen resolution, plus they have a dedicated video board, not integrated video.  In the process, I viewed this site on a number of wide screen machines, and became aware that the self-adjusting format I have developed can be extremely wide on a 2000 pixel wide screen, and on these machines, the type can appear tiny.  Well, I trust the owners of such machines can learn to change their type sizes.  If not, they will have trouble with most sites.

We had expected to pick up the car, this evening, but it is still not ready.

Today: A mix of sun and cloud. Wind southwest 30 km/h becoming light this morning. High 13. Tonight: A few clouds. Low zero. Thursday: Sunny with cloudy periods. Wind becoming north 20 km/h in the afternoon. High 14. Friday: Cloudy. 40 percent chance of showers. Low minus 4. High plus 2. Saturday: Cloudy. 60 percent chance of flurries. Low minus 7. High minus 5. Sunday: Cloudy. 60 percent chance of flurries. Low minus 18. High minus 13.

Thursday 3 February 2005
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Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory -- John Kenneth Galbraith

We ran the van to town for the new tires, and picked up the car.  It is better, but there is still a bit of noise that goes away when the brakes are applied.  We decided that the problem must be loose callipers, so that job is next. 

Allen's Links of the Day:

Oxalic results (Dutch) (home)

Bablefish translation

The van handles better with the the new tires.  It had 215s and I went to 205s with an all-season tread.  The steering is a lot lighter now.

Looks as if we may get high speed internet here.  Decent price, I think, but only 3 GB/month?  Bummer!

Today: A mix of sun and cloud. Wind becoming west 20 km/h this afternoon. High 11. Tonight: Cloudy. 70 percent chance of rain showers changing to flurries this evening. Low minus 7. Friday: Cloudy. 60 percent chance of flurries. High minus 5. Saturday: Cloudy. 60 percent chance of flurries. Low minus 10. High minus 7. Sunday: A mix of sun and cloud. 60 percent chance of flurries. Low minus 18. High minus 13. Monday: Sunny. Low minus 16. High minus 9. Normals
High: -3°C Low: -14°C

Friday 4 February 2005
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It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument -- William G. McAdoo

"Winter storm watch for Drumheller-Three Hills upgraded to heavy snowfall warning
The potential for severe winter weather exists over these regions. Heavy snow in the mountains and through central Alberta today will push southward tonight and continue into Saturday. A Major winter storm is developing in southern Alberta today. Mild pacific air streaming over the Rockies will bring snow to western And central Alberta today. 10 to 20 cm of snow is likely in the mountains today and tonight with up to 15 cm across central parts of Alberta. Visibilities will be reduced to less than one kilometre in snow at times today. Conditions will improve by Saturday morning.

Well, we got about fifteen centimetres. 

Today, I decided to work on the furnace auger, something I had intended to do for some time, so drove to Linden to get some auger for an idea I've had.  I took the van, and the new tires are very nice.  I hadn't been enjoying driving the van lately, but it handles much better, and, even in the new snow, I had fabulous  traction.

I got the main auger extended and toyed with the new auger idea.  I ran out of time, but the pilot tests are promising.

Today: Periods of snow. Amount 5 to 10 cm. Temperature falling to minus 12 by evening. Tonight: Snow. Amount 5 to 10 cm. Low minus 15. Saturday: Flurries. High minus 12. Sunday: A mix of sun and cloud. 60 percent chance of flurries. Low minus 19. High minus 12. Monday: A mix of sun and cloud. Low minus 16. High minus 9. Tuesday: Sunny. Low minus 11. High minus 2. Normals High: -2°C Low: -14°C

Saturday 5 February 2005
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The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think -- Edwin Schlossberg

I was looking at the stats for this site and noticed incoming hits from a site in China.  I followed it back and came to the Yimin Beeproduct Co, Ltd website

Very interesting.  Here is an excerpt from a page on the site:

"China Wuhan Yimin beeproduct Co.,Ltd one of Wuhan professional bee enterprise is a private technological enterprise of authentication of Wuhan. The environment is graceful, well distributed and without pollution. The company processing workshop has been decorated according to the standards of "the hygiene regulations for export food factory and storehouse" being closed operation without any germs. The company has advanced processing equipment and auxiliary facility with great technical force. The company mainly processes and export bee venom, propolis, royal jelly, bee pollen, honey, bee wax and honeybee's serial products.

"The annual value of our company exceeds ten million, with the most advanced bee glue sublimate modern equipment in our country. Its products are made with industrial standard, craft and technology of the advanced countries and regions, together with the quality security system of the export product in decades. The products have conformed to the export standard of our country as we keep on quality monitoring from the raw materials purchasing processing, packing and shipment. Because the company pays attention to the high quality products, they are sold to the two major markets both at home and abroad

Obviously, going by the website, anyhow, this operation is very advanced, and large.  I'm guessing, but assume that operations like this could meet HACCP fairly easily.  With the low remnimbi exchange rate and cheap labour in China, companies like this one can be very competitive on the world market.

There has been a lot of talk about the questionable quality of products imported into North America from around the world, and it may be true in many cases, but -- and I'm guessing here -- I'd bet that this firm may well be better quality-controlled and more hygienic than many North American operations.

People like to lump all Chinese honey into one lot and remember the poorest products as being typical, however, I'd be very interested in visiting this facility and sampling its products.  I'll bet they are top-notch.


Read that you are always requiring photographs!

Here is one that makes the wait for spring a little easier and helps the days cleaning supers pass just a little faster

All the best,

Thanks.  Very nice!  I'll use this to head the next page

Hard Drive Crash!  A friend called in mid-afternoon, saying his computer would not start.  Got a message saying something about the boot.ini file.  I said I'd go over and look, so went for supper ands found his hard drive had crashed.  He had complained to me about slow starting a week or two ago, but I had not put two and two together.  His HD is the silent sort, and he is quite deaf to boot, so he did not hear it thrashing around; he just noticed slower performance.  I ran a recovery program on it, but it was not making much headway by the time I left.  I'd say the drive is dead and chances of recovering anything much are mighty slim.

The moral of the story?  Backups, backups. backups.  I have three or four copies of everything important, including one I carry off-premises.  For those who only have a few megs or just want to save pictures, there is Gmail and Yahoo!.  You can email yourself pictures and they will stay on Gmail as long as Gmail exists, or Yahoo! offers free picture and file storage.  You  can keep things private, or share some or all of them, as you see fit.

For an example, see my Yahoo! photo site.  Not much there, but they give me 30 megs if I want it. I've had it for years, but seldom use it, as you can see.  Write me if you can't get into the page.  I am not sure I have sharing turned on there.  Anyhow, I have a briefcase there, too, and I can upload files of any sort to Yahoo! from anywhere, for an off-premises backup, and, using my password, access them from anywhere in the world, and I can make them private or public.  They should be secure, but if I'm worried about hackers, I can encrypt before sending them up.

Today: A mix of sun and cloud. 70 percent chance of flurries this morning. Wind becoming north 20 km/h this morning. High minus 14. Tonight: Cloudy periods. Clearing near midnight. Low minus 27. Sunday: Sunny with cloudy periods. High minus 12. Monday: Sunny. Low minus 17. High minus 9. Tuesday: Sunny. Low minus 10. High minus 1. Wednesday: Sunny. Low minus 9. High plus 3. Normals: High: -2°C Low: -14°C

Sunday 6 February 2005
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Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect -- Steven Wright

I hear that the berry growers can now make wines and sell them at the farm gate in Alberta. See Cottage wine industry about to blossom.  I wonder if beekeepers can make mead under this provision -- or could with a little lobbying?  B.C. has some small beekeeper-run meaderies starting up, and a number of businesses that are built on value added to bee products. 

Note: Okay!  I am giving up, on tuning up the numbers in this paragraph (left) -- for today -- because I have things to do, and I am finding the numbers inconsistent and hard to pin down.  I started off quite innocently, but actually -- even as convinced as I have been that border closure is indefensible -- I am amazed by what I am seeing.  Quebec has been harder hit than the Prairies! 

Read this! --  Québec Has Lost Seventy Five Percent of its Honey Producers   I cannot believe that ANYONE can keep claiming that border closure has not more than decimated the Canadian bee industry, and that those who continue to claim that the past and present costs of  a closed border are acceptable are not deluded, disingenuous -- or worse. 

Please carry on and come back later...

Value-added is the latest buzz, now that honey prices are in the sewer.  Ed Nowek from Planet Bee was featured at the last ABA convention, discussing ways of boosting revenue for bee products, and now the ABA is running a tour to Quebec to show Albertans how things are done there.  Quebec had about 237 beekeepers with 30,576 hives producing 1,219,000 kg (using 2001 numbers) and a human population of 7,503,502 compared to Alberta with 3,164,400 people, -- plus a fair number of bee businesses that are built on the value-added approach, (to be continued...)

Filtered MeadI recommended mead-making to AHPC almost a decade ago, my thinking being that if we can't get Canadians to eat much honey, then maybe we could get them to drink it.  At the time, I was making mead and many people were raving about it.  I was no master vintner, I just put honey and some nutrients into a drum with some yeast, and got a very nice mead a few months later.

As with any ideas I presented to AHPC, they delayed a long time, then suggested that I pursue it -- on their behalf, I assume.  For no pay, I assume, also.  Well, I was not too eager to pursue the project for my own benefit -- I figured that I did not need another job -- so I did not pursue it for them, and the idea went nowhere.  I figured that they could have sold an awful lot of honey, converted to mead.  Considering that the average Canadian consumes about a pound of honey a year, and that one pound of honey would make only about two litres of dry mead, and much less of a sweet mead or liqueur, or a few bottles of honey beer...

On average, an adult Canadian drinks about 8 litres of spirits, 12 litres of wine, and more than 100 litres of beer every year. -- The Canadian Encyclopedia

I could -- and still can -- see a chance to increase honey consumption by a significant percentage, in  honey liqueurs, honey wines, and honey beers.  It takes money up-front to ramp up production and sales, though, and I figured the co-ops had the muscle, and the mandate to make it work.  It's their mandate (I thought) to find new uses and to create new markets, not just to camp on the Canadian packaged honey market.  I suggested that they could work with an existing winery and bottling facility, the way that many small producers of wines do.  It could be a fairly simple project to get underway.  Anyhow...

At the time, I was thinking only about mead, since I was already making mead, and people were applauding and demanding it.  I stumbled on the idea, but, once that idea came up, I immediately realized that the markets for soda-pop and athletic drinks is even more immense, and uses even larger volumes of sweeteners.  Why not honey?

On the honey end of things, nothing is happening there -- as far as I can see.  Moreover, a superior pancake syrup can be made with just pure honey and water, and nobody is doing that ...Opportunities for value-added that are just begging for some smart beekeeper/entrepreneur to pursue them?

The co-ops were created to solve a problem, but, IMO, they have gotten fat and lazy, been dominated by people of limited vision ("Hey! It's dark in here!"), punished and denigrated entrepreneurs among their membership, and only exacerbated the marketing problem. I also offered them my mail-order business, but the board at the time had no clue.  They could not even figure out what I was offering them, they were so focussed on putting honey into jars and bears and squeeze containers and selling it to retailers for less than cost, then showing up at the annual meeting with a detailed overhead presentation on why it was the beekeepers' fault that management and staff could never make a return on equity!  Mail order is a stable, growing, high margin, low-cost, easy-entry, take-'em-by-stealth, business that is not under the thumb of the big grocery boys.  Duh!

Allen's Links of the Day:
* World Honey Market

* Québec Has Lost Seventy Five Percent of its Honey Producers

Golden Acres bought our mail order business from us; they bought our list, but did not take advantage of our extensive marketing and copy-writing expertise.

That was a few years back, now, so, since I mentioned the subject just now, I decided to visit the Golden Acres site.  Why not come along?

OK.  we're here.  Hmmmm.  The front page sucks.  It's poorly organised, and my browser wanted me to do some kind of software install.  No way!  I don't do that. Ugh!

And what's this? The page prominently mentions antibiotics and honey.  Oh, oh!  Not a good idea.  Better to mention purity, traceability, organic, etc. and then lead off the front page to a more detailed discussion -- if necessary.   Accentuate the positive.

On an earlier visit, it had little java bees running around the page.  I hate! that.  Okay, I found their online store, and that part is not bad (assuming anyone finds it from the opening page).  Seems to work, too.  Bonus!

I don't know how far Golden Acres has grown the mail order enterprise, if at all, but, IMO, mail order can be a dynamite business.  We just about made a living from it, by mail, back before internet shopping got jumping.  I remember going down to Toronto to a CDMA  mail order seminar (with all the big names in mail order teaching their secrets) to see what I could learn.  Three days and several hundred dollars later, I left for home, having found out that we were doing much better than most.  In fact, no one believed me, when I said what we were doing and what our response rates were; I was told by experts that what we were doing was impossible.  For them, maybe.  I didn't say much after that.

Mail order, combined with a store brand (which we did not have), combined with the Internet, can be a very powerful channel, especially in the hands of a good marketer.  So far, no one has come anywhere near tapping the potential -- as far as I know.  (How would I know.  Mail order success is almost invisible).

Maybe someone will hire me to tell them how?  I doubt it.

I spent the afternoon and evening working downstairs, cleaning up the workshop.  It has been a mess since we wound down the business, and there is lots to do.  It is a nice relief from desk work.

Ruth came for the afternoon to work with Ellen in the studio, and stayed for supper.

Today: A mix of sun and cloud. High minus 15. Tonight: A few clouds. Low minus 27. Monday: Sunny. High minus 12. Tuesday: Sunny. Low minus 16. High minus 4. Wednesday: Sunny. Low minus 12. High plus 1. Thursday: Sunny. Low minus 8. High plus 4. Normals High: -2°C Low: -14°C

Monday 7 February 2005
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I'm all in favour of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with typewriters -- Solomon Short

It's been a cold few days, but now we are getting warmer weather again.  I have quite a few things to do today, including more cleanup, returning the excess auger flighting, and more filing and desk work.

Chris emailed me this morning with a news article saying that BC Place worker may go on strike, and sink the boat show.  I've been running short of time, and reconsidering the trip.  Maybe this will make up my mind for me.

Ellen & Shirley went to Calgary for the day.  She is enjoying her 'retirement' and works every day on here stained glass and painting.

Eight million Iraqis dared to vote, in the face of fatwas and terrorist threats -- a higher voter turn-out than in Canada -- Ezra Levant -- Calgary Sun

I took the extra auger back to Linden, then, since I was already a ways down the road, went to Airdrie to get a few things I need.

Peter wrote:

Allen, You have a dead link on Varroa selected topics section - or more correctly one that points to a page that no longer exists. Look under Varroa and Formic Acid.  Then on the section referring to a new, more sensitive non destructive technique... the first link (click here) - linking up to www.frugalbee.com

Yeah, thanks. I guess they renamed it. They changed some lower case to upper in the URL. Linux rebels.
It's fixed now.

BTW, the sugar shake is notoriously inaccurate and is only a very rough guide.  Don't trust it for anything other than a headsup.  BTW, I heard that it is something like this that AUS uses for early warning. Reminds me of "the whites of their eyes".  Too damn close for me.

I need to update the Formic and oxalic page, but am not inspired. New links and revisions are welcome.

Today: Sunny. High minus 10. Tonight: Clear. Low minus 20. Tuesday: Sunny. High minus 5. Wednesday: Sunny. Low minus 14. High zero. Thursday: Sunny. Low minus 12. High plus 2. Friday: Sunny. Low minus 7. High 6.

Tuesday 8 February 2005
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The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution -- Hannah Arendt

It looks as if the Boat Show is cancelled, so I guess I'll not be going to B.C. this week.  No matter, I have lots to do.

From BEE-L today

Allen's Link of the Day:

Peak Oil:

Hubbert Peak of Oil Production

> What should I be thinking about and looking for as I begin shopping
> for trailers?
> I do not anticipate expanding hive numbers much beyond this level.
> After blueberries the hives will need to go somewhere else
> (raspberries?) for the summer, and then back to my winter yard.
> There will be some off road/open field travel.

Lloyd gives some good suggestions. Let me add a few.

Consider renting a truck and/or trailer, or, better still, finding someone who will assist you by lending the truck or even picking up the hives at your yards. The growers often have flat-deck trucks perfect for carrying the few hives you are discussing.

If you rent or borrow, you will have first-hand experience on what to buy later without being locked in to something you discover you don't like.

IMO, a small flat-deck truck is ideal for that number of hives -- I'd choose a trailer only if I had a good tow vehicle already or could not manage owning an extra vehicle -- but, if you choose to use a trailer, U-Haul has closed trailers that are ideal. You can also rent a truck, for that matter, and they have nice like cube vans that are nice to use. You'll need a good ramp and a handcart.   A solid-core door flat exterior would work nicely.

With a closed van or trailer, you can load in the early morning dusk, drive to the destination, if it is only an hour or two and the weather is cool, then unload in full daylight without problems.

I don't know whether you plan to haul singles or doubles and how you are set up, and as Lloyd says, watch the weight. Don't guess, or you'll have a flat -- or maybe several at once!

And, since bees are perishable and a potential nuisance, carry a jack, and a spare, a wrench (that fits) for both the trailer and the towing vehicle. Make sure, in advance, that you know how to use them, and that the wheel nuts are not seized. Rehearse the procedure, if you are smart.

And more, from BEE-L...

Scott Plante wrote:
> If a desperate beekeeper in the southern states discovered he had
> heavy varroa loads in his hives. Would it not be wise, for him, to
> bring the hives up north to stop the brood rearing. At that point
> treat with oxalic while the hives are broodless??

That would depend on a lot of things.

Moving hives from one climatic region to another is not without its costs, risks, and effects on the bees. It can a logistical nightmare if there are many hives involved, the distance is great, and the destination unfamiliar. Moreover, stressed hives with large amounts of brood would be adversely affected and losses are certain. In severe cases, the losses could be almost total.

On the other hand, there are methods that can be used on-site, anywhere. They may not be as easy as opening a lid and inserting a strip, and they will require consultation, education, experimentation, observation, and a little expense, but they are likely cheaper and less risky than moving north in Winter.

Again, the best solution is not to get into this state in the first place. I've heard often of beekeepers who suddenly discovered they have massive infestations, but NEVER of a beekeeper who was monitoring steadily, conscientiously, and effectively who was unable to head off a critical mite problem.

Monitor, monitor, monitor.


And Backup, backup, backup.

A friend called me over the other day. His Hard drive had been slowly dying, but he did not recognise the signs, and he had no backups either. AFAIK, everything on his drive was lost. With the current price of large external USB drives, external hard drives, networked computers, DVD burners, and Internet storage (like Yahoo! and Gmail), there in no reason to lose important documents.

> Allen ,
> As a change to honeybees , what are your thoughts on issues such as "Peak Oil "
> Here is an interesting article on such .
> http://www.kunstler.com/mags_ure.htm

> Bill

I've been following Peak Oil for quite a while, now. As I recall, back in 1968, they predicted that we would run right out of oil by 1990, and I believed them.

Maybe they are right this time, but, being older and wiser now, I suspect that we will find that, as soon as the competitive threat of an oil glut goes away, inventors will trot out a lot of new and cost-effective energy sources.  Maybe the new sources will not be as cheap, at first, but they will be affordable.  Of course there will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth on the part of the Chicken Littles, the professional prophets of doom, and the perpetual naysayers in the process, but the transition will be fairly smooth, if you don't count a few price squeezes, and few days of fuel shortages as a big deal.  People just don't adjust and make necessary changes without a little pain, in the wallet, at least, so I predict that there will be some pain, but that pain will be bearable for most of us.

Nuclear energy has not gone away, by the way.  It is still the lowest impact source of clean energy, but has been maligned by those who don't understand it.  I guarantee, though, that as soon as the "Greens" and other Luddites cannot get the cheap and plentiful energy they depend on to keep them comfortable while they sit back and throw sand into the gears, they will have an epiphany and decide that nuclear is actually green.

Most of us still think of nuclear (did someone say nucular?) in terms of antiquated plants built back before man walked on the moon.  Some of them gave trouble, but surprisingly few.  Chernobyl and Three Mile Island are the only two that come to mind.  Chernobyl was bad, Three Mile Island not so much.  Management of nuclear waste is a problem, but it will be solved.  After all, the source stock is radioactive and it came from somewhere.  Moreover, our competitors are building nuclear power plants.  To remain competitive, we'll follow, sooner or later, especially if energy gets a bit less cheap.  According to this source, thirty-one new plants are underway worldwide at present -- that we know about.  Curious? Ask Google.

And don't forget coal.  We have enough coal to supply all our needs for a millennium.  Coal is considered to be dirty, but that does not have to be the case.  There are ways to make clean fuels from coal or use coal without undue pollution, but they are a bit more expensive than their current competitors.  The problem is that natural gas is clean as it arrives from the pipe, and very cheap, so it is displacing coal for the present, but it will not in the long term.

As for the alternate technologies for mobile applications, like synthetic hydrocarbon jet and tractor fuels made, using nuclear energy, from agricultural products, IMO, we will have to use up the cheap sources of hydrocarbons first, then the alternatives will be economical.  As long as cheap -- almost free -- oil can flood the market at a moment's notice, no one can take the risk of investing heavily in rolling out the new fuels.  I should mention, though, that current gasoline and diesel technology is evolving in a direction where the transition to new fuels, if necessary, will be easier than many suspect.

In the long run, I predict that energy will continue to get cheaper and cheaper, in real terms, in the future just as in the past, and that, while efficiency will improve greatly, total consumption will also continue to continue to expand.  The problem for the present is to use up all the cheap oil without leaving pockets here and there, especially in politically unstable areas.  Thus the effort to get the cheap oil out from under the Arabs, preferably with their assistance and to their benefit. That oil costs virtually nothing to pump, and until it is used up, no other alternatives can be safely developed.

Once the easy oil is gone, everyone will be on a level playing field, and the risk of sudden disruptions and a the ever-present danger of a world war over oil will be gone. But, for now, our civilization depends on playing our cards in the oil game well, right down to the last card.

Then a whole new game begins.


By the way, this site -- honeybeeworld.com -- is going to drive you nuts -- it throws up so many new windows -- if you are not using a tabbed browser like Maxthon (my favourite), Opera or AvantBrowser Firefox will do too, but, I played with Firefox -- several times -- and frankly IMO it needs 'way too much work to get it set up to rival the others.  I think Firefox is overrated.

Get with the program.  If you don't have a tabbed browser, try one today.  They are free, and you'll never go back.

I decided, today, to spend more time in the HoneyBeeWorld Forum, especially when answering questions that arrive by email.  I'll post them in the forum so that the answers are shared.  I'll also try to check the forum daily.  Remind me, if I don't.  We had good momentum some time back, then the forum crashed and I could not get it up for a while and it died back a bit.

Hmmm.  I see that I need to enter each forum section and see what is there.  I'd missed some messages.  I also see that, when posting there is a check box for email notification.  Handy!

Seeing as I am recommending AvantBrowser (just from what I have heard about it, since I am a dyed-in-the-wool Maxthon user), I downloaded AvantBrowser.)  I'll report later on what I think.  BTW, although I do like Opera, and use it sometimes.  I found some site compatibility problems and drifted more and more to Maxthon.  In my limited test, though, AvantBrowser is fast, possibly faster than Maxthon.  I find also, though, that I immediately missed the the many features of Maxthon and doubt I will use AvantBrowser much.

I have been working in the basement lately, cleaning up.  I'd been working on this off and on for weeks, and today, I did some painting down there, something I've been meaning to do for some time.

Today: Sunny with cloudy periods. High minus 4. Tonight: Clear. Low minus 17. Wednesday: Sunny. High minus 2. Thursday: Sunny. Low minus 14. High plus 3. Friday: Sunny. Low minus 11. High plus 3. Saturday: Sunny. Low minus 9. High 6. Normals: High: -2°C Low: -13°C

Wednesday 9 February 2005
Selected Topics | HoneyBeeWorld Forum | For Sale | Write me
Go back to 2004  2003  2002  2001  2000  1999

The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution -- Hannah Arendt

I see there are new Windows® Updates today.  I drove the car up to Three Hills again this morning and had the callipers re-bushed.  Can't really say if it makes a difference or not -- I'll have to drive a while before I decide -- but I like my cars to be quiet and smooth riding.

In the afternoon, I did more cleanup.

On BEE-L, discussing Scott's question (see yesterday's diary)

> I would stay, and use the trickle method...
> The oxalic will overlap a important part of the closed brood, so it
> will still kill most of the emerging varroa.
> The affect will not be as high as with broodless, but will prevent the
> colony from collapse.

I guess the question is what to do next, after that, since the season is still ahead in the case we are discussing (in the South), and the varroa are only cut back a little. As an example, let's take a look at what happened in my own operation after oxalic was trickled into my hives at the end of September:

Take a look at the red cells in the table at http://www.honeybeeworld.com/diary/2004/diary110104.htm, and compare them to the cells immediately to the left.

We see that, on October 22nd, in a matter of about a month after the treatment, with brood in the hive, the *phoretic* varroa numbers have either stayed the same or increased by up to ten times!

The *total load* of the hives remains unknown, however, since we assume there was still lots of brood in some of the hives when the oxalic was applied and we can also assume there was much less brood a month later.

Therefore, maybe the load has not increased over the month -- or actually diminished, but, if the mite load has diminished, it has not gone down by as much as we might hope -- or, perhaps, by as much as a southern beekeeper would need, IMO.

This is one specific case I happen to have measurements for. The case we are discussing might be different, in a number of ways. For one thing, I can safely assume, from previous observations, that we had no drone brood in Fall.

The problem with trickling, is that -- I am told -- we can only use oxalic *once* on a generation of bees, and must wait until the bees have replaced themselves -- about six weeks in summer -- to treat again with trickling. Is this true? I had heard that in respect to elevated wintering loss in cases where the trickling was done more than once in Fall. Maybe it is not a concern in Spring and Summer?

Anyhow, I have read that repeated treatments with oxalic *vapour* do not increase losses, and so have tended to favour evaporation over trickling. Some of these things may not be proven, but just speculation.

Anyone know the facts?


While writing this, I went back over my diary and found I have been mistaken about several things:  For one, I had somehow thought hat Medhat treated my hives in mid-October.  Well, he did the original measurements on September 22nd, but I am not certain exactly when he applied the oxalic.  Obviously it was some time after the original visit on September 22nd, I suspect in the first few days of October.  As a result of this uncertainty, some of my impressions may be a bit off.  I had thought that he treated later than he did.

From: Donald
Subject: Re: [BEE-L] Vs: Re: [BEE-L] Formic and Oxalic acids

The physical properties of oxalic acid may be of interest in this connection. The stuff one buys is usually oxalic acid dihydrate, which is a crystal which has two water molecules attached to each oxalic acid molecule. The CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics gives the following properties for oxalic acid dihydrate:

On heating:

1) The water of hydration leaves at 101.5° C (214.7° F) The water boils off leaving anhydrous oxalic acid crystals.
2) At 157° C (314.6° F) the oxalic acid starts to sublime (goes directly from solid to gas)
3) At 189° C (372.2° F) the oxalic acid which has not yet sublimed decomposes to formic acid and carbon monoxide.

Best regards,

Allen's Links of the Day:


What is Podcasting
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Wondering what usually happens the US` stock market after the Fed raises rates 6 times?  (From Chart of the Day)

It seems the Boat Show is on again.  Ho Hum.


Here's something interesting: PHARMACODYNAMICS OF OXALIC ACID IN THE HONEY BEE COLONYHere's an excerpt:

 "A sugar syrup containing 14C marked OA was trickled into a colony according to the dose and the technique commonly used in the apicultural practice. In the first four days, the contamination of the adult bees reached 118 microg/g, but it decreased to less than 1/10 and 1/60 respectively one and two weeks after the treatment. During the following months a further decrease occurred. Considerably lower levels were measured in 8-9 day old brood which, similarly, resulted only temporarily contaminated. Autoradiographies put into evidence the presence of OA in the internal abdominal organs of the adult bees. In freshly yielded honey the OA increase was as high as 0,6 mg/kg or less. This represents only a small fraction of the natural OA content of honey. The radioactive marker was found also in wax collected from recently built combs, but it is not clear if it was due to direct contamination involving chemical reactions between free OA and wax or to the presence of metabolites elaborated by the bees from the absorbed OA...

Today: Sunny. High minus 2. Tonight: Clear. Wind northwest 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low minus 17. Thursday: Sunny. High minus 1. Friday: Sunny. Low minus 9. High plus 5. Saturday: Sunny. Low minus 14. High plus 5. Sunday: Sunny. Low minus 7. High plus 5.

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