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Jean-Marc is splitting to prevent swarming (near Mission, B.C.)

An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know.
It's being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don't.
-- Anatole France --

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Sunday 20 March 2005
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Irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned errors -- Thomas H. Huxley

We left Salt Spring by ferry for Victoria.  There, we found a hotel and then drove around a bit. 

I was amazed to find that whenever I stopped on a residential street, and opened my computer I was connected to the Internet.  There are zillions of open wireless links around town.

I had first discovered how easy it is to get a connection while driving in Vancouver, when I opened my computer to use the GPS and pulled over to read the display.  As I consulted the map,  I heard Outlook Express announce new email, and looked to find that I had a full connection.

We called Gill & Vince and were invited for supper.

Sunday: A mix of sun and cloud with 30 percent chance of flurries. Low minus 6. High plus 1.

Monday 21 March 2005
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Humanity is acquiring all the right technology for all the wrong reasons -- R. Buckminster Fuller

We slept in a bit and spent the day reading and wandering around  Victoria and enjoying the parks.

Monday: Cloudy. Low minus 5. High plus 6.

Tuesday 22 March 2005
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Many would be cowards if they had courage enough -- Thomas Fuller

In the morning, we called Vince and arranged to meet up with Jack and Barb, who had just arrived.  After a good visit, we drove to the ferry and returned to Vancouver, where we went to Ron's for the night.

Tuesday: Periods of snow. Low minus 7. High zero.

Wednesday 23 March 2005
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If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much -- Donald H. Rumsfeld

We left early for Pitt Meadows, and visited with Ron and Joanna Lin, then met up with Jean-Marc in one of his yards.

In the pictures, we see protein patties ready to put on the hives, many of which are already three boxes high and looking as if they may start swarming soon.  The patties are from Global and appear a bit soft compared to last year.  I asked about that and Jean-Marc explained that the boxes had been stacked, then strapped down hard, crushing the boxes.  Nonetheless, the patties are softer than I like.  More in tomorrow's notes.

After a visit, we drove east towards home.  It was about three by then.  We arrived in Armstrong after dark, visited with Kate, Dave, and family, then found a motel in Sicamous for the night.

Cloudy with sunny periods and 60 percent chance of flurries. High minus 2.\

Thursday 24 March 2005
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The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools -- Herbert Spencer

We arrived in Airdrie in the afternoon and Mike met us at the shop.  I asked Mike about the soft patties, and he explained that two beekeepers had requested softer patties, and that they had therefore softened all the patties he made a bit.  Although there were few complaints about that, and many compliments about the patties, generally, from all over Canada and the states, he decided that this was a mistake and will make them a bit stiffer in the future, unless a beekeeper specifically requests soft patties.

A mix of sun and cloud with 60 percent chance of flurries. Low minus 13. High minus 4.

Friday 25 March 2005
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The meek shall inherit the Earth, but not its mineral rights -- J. Paul Getty

We spent the day catching up on things, then Meijers came for supper.  We went out and looked at the bees, and paid particular attention to the hives that had demonstrated high levels of varroa last Fall.  All were alive, and some had not come up to the top yet.

You'll notice Apistan in several hives.  This is a research project, and the researcher was of the opinion that hives with the highest levels of mites would not survive the experiment unless treated.  Creating resistant mites -- the reason that leaving strips over winter is normally discouraged -- is not a concern, since resistance is everywhere these days anyhow, and since additional varroa control measures are being used. More details later...

Today: Sunny with cloudy periods. High 3. UV index 3 or moderate. Tonight: A few clouds. Low minus 8.

Saturday 26 March 2005
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As you journey through life take a minute every now and then to give a thought for the other fellow. He could be plotting something -- Hagar the Horrible


Saturday: Sunny with cloudy periods. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h in the morning. High plus 5.

Sunday 27 March 2005
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I believe that every human has a finite number of heart-beats. I don't intend to waste any of mine running around doing exercises -- Neil Armstrong

Jean & Chris came for a visit and to stay over

Sunday: Sunny. Low zero. High 10.

Monday 28 March 2005
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The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Chris, Jean, Mckenzie, Ellen, and I walked out to Elliotts' for coffee and a visit.  On the way back, we passed the Australian package hives from last year. There are about ten.  I didn't want to make honey, so last June, I split several that looked really strong and let the queenless halves make their own replacements.  I used to do that quite a bit, years ago.  I call them "walk-away splits".  Maybe this method not ideal from a commercial or perfectionist perspective, but in my experience the technique, if done during a good flow always had superior results.  Also, when queens are $18 and honey is 85 (plus the cost of pulling an extracting and shipping it)  -- if you can find a buyer -- and our production is usually around 120 pounds, a store-bought queen costs about 25 to 30 lbs of honey.  And that is assuming she is accepted by the bees.  Low prices call for conservative management.
All hives were flying freely and had a big bunch of bees at the flight hole.  Looking good.

Monday: A mix of sun and cloud. Low minus 6. High plus 10. Tuesday: A mix of sun and cloud. Low minus 5. High plus 10.

Tuesday 29 March 2005
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The sad truth is that excellence makes people nervous -- Shana Alexander

Allen, the date line at the top of your page is stuck at 030105 to 030905 ( 1/3/05 - 9/3/05 to us in the UK )

I'm Chairman of a Beekeeping group in Liskeard, Cornwall in England UK. We have had resistant mites for about 3 years now but Apiguard is knocking them down quite well.

We made up a nucleus with a second year queen last season, to stop her swarming, with just two frames it built up well to a full 14x12 National box by the end of the summer, however when we put in the Apiguard and a catch tray under the frames we counted about 7-10000 mite drop UNBELIEVABLE However they are flying well again this spring so we will see if they are OK soon as it is still too cold to inspect yet.

Keep Up the good work I enjoy your page.

I do that all the time.  I either forget to change the date or the link or something.  Thanks.

Apiguard and similar treatments are quite promising.  They require a little more awareness and care in application than Apistan and Checkmite+, however.

See this page for some info on tests that Adony did some time ago.

Also, I can't mention too often the need for North Americans to check for tracheal.  I gather that it is not a problem in Europe, but it certainly is here.  Check this page out.

Allen when I sent you the e-mail yesterday I intended to attach the photo of the mites in the tray which was the total drop in two weeks but only in the centre of the 14x12 brood box so here it is ( I tried to send it once but it was too big, so I have reduced it )


Today: A mix of sun and cloud. High 12. UV index 3 or moderate. Tonight: Cloudy periods. Low minus 5.

Wednesday 30 March 2005
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We do not know what we want and yet we are responsible for what we are - that is the fact -- Jean-Paul Sartre

I heard last night that Billy Bee is down to offering 75/lb.  BB is known for making low offers, and usually people figure that whatever BB offers, the price is 10  more.  Nonetheless, there is a lot of honey out there looking for a home, and another crop on the way.

It looks to me as if we will see lower prices until the surplus is cleared.  Time to cut costs to the bone, and change management into survival mode SAP.  I'll try to write an article about that soon.

I also heard from Medhat today.  He has been without his helper for the past month and struggling to keep up with all the tasks he has taken on.  Sam is due back on April 1st, though, so that will help a lot.  We need to keep pushing to get Medhat more assistance, and to help him any way we can with the important work he is doing.

He will be doing nutrition tests again this spring, comparing various protein diets. There are several new artificial diets coming onto the market that should be included in the tests, and Medhat also has been mentioning lately that he has been working on a new artificial diet, and has high hopes for it.  Results this spring should be interesting.

In that regard, I am finding that excellent pollen is available from China for prices as low as $2.50 irradiated and delivered in Canada.  With that fact in mind, we are hoping to compare the artificial diets we are all using with patties made of real pollen (plus only a little sugar and binders like soy flour to hold them together) to see what provides the best nutrition per dollar.

I'm still catching up on old data and pix.  Why not visit HoneyBeeWorld Forum and post a comment or query?

Today: A mix of sun and cloud. 30 percent chance of flurries early this morning. Wind becoming north 30 km/h late this morning. High 9. UV index 3 or moderate. Tonight: Clearing this evening. Low minus 5. Thursday: Sunny. High 13. Friday: Sunny. Windy. Low 1. High 16. Saturday: Sunny. Low minus 1. High plus 10. Sunday: A mix of sun and cloud. Low minus 1. High plus 14.

Thursday 31 March 2005
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Sometimes I think we're alone. Sometimes I think we're not. In either case, the thought is staggering -- R. Buckminster Fuller

Here's an interesting note:


In your March 30 posting you mention Chinese pollen. I trust that you are not advocating the use of this pollen by Global or other Canadian patty producers. Do we really need to support Chinese exporters of bee products when Canadian beekeepers are struggling due to market conditions created by those same exporters??

I was very glad to see the creation of Global which allowed me the option to purchase a Canadian product. I became a customer this year. But I will not be a customer if Chinese pollen is used in future products. I am one who is willing to pay a bit extra for a Canadian product and support a Canadian industry.

Hope you can clarify your remarks.

Well, this is a complex topic, and I'm not sure I have the hours I need to examine this question fully, but I'll sketch out a few points, and maybe elaborate later.  Also, lets' take the discussion to HoneyBeeWorld Forum.  It's easier for me, and others can put in their 2 worth.

  • We do not know how the current diets stack up against pure pollen, and it is a top priority to run tests this spring in Alberta to find out.  Who knows?  Maybe our current patties are better than pollen.  We'll see. Beekeepers will not pay more than they are now for bee feed, but with cheap pollen available, the efficacy of substitutes vs. real pollen should be examined.
  • Although producing pollen for human consumption is feasible in Canada, trapping pollen for bee feed does not appear to be feasible on a large scale.  Comparatively few beekeepers can trap pollen without setting back their bees so much that they need to make it up somehow, and the cost of production is therefore high.  Moreover, some years give excess pollen, but many do not.  Thus, the supply of Canadian pollen is not only unreliable and limited, but prices and supply are not at all stable.  Patty makers need a 100% reliable supply
  • The purpose of feeding bees protein is to increase bee health and production.  At current honey prices, beekeepers are very short of cash, and must cut expenses as much as possible, while maintaining reasonable levels of colony survival and production.  Even at high prices, Canadian pollen is hard to find and the simple fact is that the high prices currently demanded by Canadian pollen producers are the main reason that most current pollen patties contain only small percentages of pollen, now that it is possible to eliminate the disease hazard by irradiation.
  • To increase the pollen content of patties to a high level, Global would need as much as 100,000 pounds annually, and probably more in future years. That is far more than all the Canadian producers combined can conceivably provide, even if there were no other customers, at least in the short run.  If pollen feeding proved much better than supplement feeding, and became widespread, there could never be enough Canadian production to meet needs -- at any price.  IMO, anyhow.
  • As for "support(ing) Chinese exporters of bee products when Canadian beekeepers are struggling due to market conditions created by those same exporters...", I think we need to distinguish between the Chinese beekeepers and the state exporters.  Chinese beekeepers are no different from us, and I personally feel a closer association with Chinese beekeepers than with, say, the CHC, or some Ontario beekeepers and some Saskatchewan beekeepers who have worked so hard against the legitimate needs and desires of our Western bee industry.

    Also, consider that, by buying the Chinese pollen -- assuming it is more effective that the current and pending supplements and substitutes (which is by no means proven, yet) -- we improve of competitiveness, by reducing need for buying packages from overseas, for buying few corporate mite treatments, and by producing more honey more cheaply, we find the Chinese actually help us compete in the honey market.  Also, if they are trapping pollen from their hives, they are probably producing less honey.
  • To top it all off, in recent years, in several cases, in spite of demands by Global for Canadian pollen, and for pedigree info, what was being represented as Canadian pollen by some Canadian beekeepers, turned out, to be Spanish, U.S., or Chinese pollen. Global so far, has specified Canadian pollen when buying, but has no way to be sure.  Unlike the producers of soy and yeasts who have to publish and meet stringent specifications, beekeepers do not do so for pollen.  That's one reason that many of us used patties with a zero pollen content until irradiation became a practical and common practice.  Don't worry about disease in Global patties; all pollen used by Global is irradiated by trustworthy parties as a precaution against just such an eventuality.

I spent the day at my desk and tidying around the house.  In the evening, I went for a bike ride.

Today: Sunny. High 14. UV index 3 or moderate. Tonight: Clear. Wind southwest 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low minus 2.

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