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We opened some hives the other day.  Here is a typical cluster

I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible
by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.
-- Umberto Eco --

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Friday 1 April 2005
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Be the change you want to see in the world -- Mahatma Gandhi

I heard today that Australian package bees are worth $170.00 per package which is 4 lbs and 2 queens, arriving around April 10-15.  I have not decided whether to buy any or not.  At current honey prices and our typical yields, they would not pay the first year.  Moreover, the friend who has been doing the supering and honey pulling is moving away, so I have to decide how much work I want to do.  I still have some equipment that I'd like to fill with bees, but...

Jean & Chris are coming today. They bought a new laptop computer, so I imagine we'll be playing with it.  I'm also still having big trouble getting the wireless card in Ellen's computer recognized by the O/S. 

Today is a new month on our high-speed.  We are allowed 3 GB/month on our account, and we used 3000.01 MB according to the monitor.  Were were away for a week, and I also had to stop using the 'net last night when we reached the limit. I'm going to have to have a talk with the proprietor of the small outfit that provided the service.

Orams arrived, and they have picked up a very nice computer for a pretty good price.  It's a Compaq Presario R3440CA Notebook.

We decided to go geocaching, checked out the nearby caches on the web, and got out the old GPS.  It's a Garmin that has been around a long time, but works just fine.  At least we thought it did, but, although it got us close, we wound up circling about 200 feet east of where we eventually found the cache, and had to use the hints to find it.  Later, we did more reading and discovered that we probably were using the wrong datum, and decided to go to another nearby cache tomorrow.

We had not used the Microsoft Streets and maps GPS, because using it required carrying the laptop, and because we though the handheld would be sufficient.  After our experience today, we plan to calibrate the handheld against the computer tomorrow and use both.

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

Saturday 2 April 2005
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The man who lets himself be bored is even more contemptible than the bore. -- Samuel Butler

In the morning, we played with the GPSs, comparing the two.  Sure enough, the handheld was set to the wrong datum, and I changed that. 

After lunch, we drove west, following the GPS on the laptop computer. When we spotted Bill and Fen's car at Global Grounds in Linden, we stopped for a quick visit. Bert was there, too, as were Flo and Wendy.

We soon proceeded west and, using the computer, found the cache quite easily this time.  The computer led us to the exact spot.  The handheld continued to give us trouble, claiming the cache was over 6 km from where we knew it to be.

We returned via Linden, stopping for pie at Country Cousins, then returned home, and had supper before the kids left for home.

Today: Sunny with cloudy periods. High 15. UV index 3 or moderate. Tonight: Increasing cloudiness late this evening. Low minus 5. Sunday: Cloudy with sunny periods. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h in the morning. High 15. Monday: Cloudy. Low 3. High 19. Tuesday: Sunny. Low 1. High 14. Wednesday: Sunny. Low minus 1. High plus 15.

Sunday 3 April 2005
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There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are -- W. Somerset Maugham

Ellen sorted glass, I did desk things and a bit outside.  Meijers came for supper.

> So what is an overwintered colony worth, one that can be split -- $ 200 ?

Whatever a beekeeper will pay.


Today: Sunny with cloudy periods. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h this afternoon. High 13. UV index 3 or moderate. Tonight: Cloudy periods. 30 percent chance of showers overnight. Low minus 2.

Monday 4 April 2005
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In mathematics you don't understand things. You just get used to them -- Johann von Neumann

We went to Calgary for the day to do some shopping and looking around.

I missed the Saskatoon meeting, but here is Doug's report, sent out to his mailing list.

Out of Province Trip Report
For the CAPA-CHC Meetings
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Feb.1-4, 2005

By Doug McRory
Apiculture Specialist

Tuesday all day was a PMRA Stakeholder Meeting. This was excellent as it gave the beekeeping industry a higher profile with PMRA in Canada. All areas of concern were put on the table. The large group of over 40 participants was divided into four sections to discuss solutions to the area of major concern to the industry as related to disease and pest control. Present control methods and proposed new controls that need development were discussed. A report from this meeting will be produced by PMRA and it will be useful in giving direction to future development of disease and pest management.

CHC has submitted the Oxalic Acid Application as of January 10, 2005. PMRA has it on the fast track system which normally is 15 months but it is hoped to have it through sooner.

Tuesday evening was a meeting with CFIA Honey Inspection group, CAPA and CHC. There was a great deal of discussion about the current marketing problems being caused by ultra-filtered Chinese honey which is flooding the world market a prices below the cost of production in Canada and United States. CFIA was ask what they can do on two levels - testing and labeling to assist correct this problem that will destroy commercial beekeeping if it is not resolved quickly. CFIA did not come to a planned session on Wednesday evening but did present proposals for major changes to the Federal Honey Grading Regulations on Thursday. CFIA proposes to take the term "Canada" out of the grade name and have the country of origin right on the front panel of the label the same size, font and color as the grade. CFIA proposes to change the grade names and color classifications to No.1 White (0-34 mm), Extra Light Amber (35-50 mm), Amber 51-85 mm and Dark >85mm. These colors fit more with the terminology and color ranges used internationally. There was discussion about changing the term "Golden" to "Light Amber". If the honey were the product of one country i.e. Canada - it would be stated on the next line on the front label. If the honey is a blend it would say blend of (list countries by % to nearest 25%) right on the front label. All of these statements would be the same size, font and color as the grade and be on the front panel. CFIA also proposes to get rid of the term pasteurized and not allow opposite indicators. CFIA will adopt the Codex standard for honey. There is work being done internationally to develop the Codex standard to rule out ultrafiltered honey. There are suspicions that the ultrafiltered honey is also being adulterated. CFIA is working like all other importing countries to develop methods of detection for this product. Ultrafiltered honey is diluted then put through a filtering system that removes everything (including Chloramphenical) and leaves the simple sugars from the honey. 20% clean honey is added back to this product and that makes it very hard to analysis. US importers have also found a way around the quotas and duties going into United States and have totally flooded that market with this product. The US market is the largest importer in the world market. It has the most influence on the world price of honey. The current honey price was reported to be about $.85 per pound Canadian dollars. Canadian Beekeepers need at least $1.00 to break even.

The other problem that brought much heated discussion was that of "Honey Flavored Spreads" that are on the Canadian market but do not contain any honey. Carla Berry of the CFIA Forensic Lab is working on how to prevent the use of the name honey on products that do not contain any honey such as these honey-flavored spreads. This was another very hot issue as these products are also taking market share away from real honey.

CFIA will regulate honey with added ingredients under the Honey Grading Regulations.

CFIA proposes to allow raw, unprocessed honey with no declared grade.

CFIA proposes to retain the standard sizes for honey containers.

CFIA proposes to keep export certificates optional - regulatory requirements must still be met and only registered establishments will be permitted to export.

CFIA propose to maintain the exemption for bulk honey movement across provincial boundaries if shipped to a registered establishment.

This process will take time and Pre-publication in Part 1 of Canada Gazette can not happen before 2006.

There were two interesting presentations on the world and Canadian honey production situations. There has actually been an increase in colonies in China. There are a number of new countries on the world scene with major amounts of honey. India, Turkey, and Brazil are examples. There are some indications that Chinese honey is being moved to other countries where it is declared as product of that country to gain access to United States. There is also the build up of Chinese honey due to the embargo over Chloramphenicol from several countries in the world. Apparently Chine has negotiated with the EU to open up to honey trade again but apparently not much has happened yet as the labs in Europe and China are not on the same page yet as far as testing is concerned.

The Canadian production is down about 10% from last year. Production in Canada per colony was down from 135 to 124 pounds per colony. The number of beekeepers was down about 400 to 7990. The number of colonies in Canada was up by 20,000 to 582,000. Canada produced about 33,000 tonnes of honey. Canada exported about 12,000 tonnes mainly to United States (about10, 000 tonnes). Canada imported about 8,000 tonnes of honey. Of this amount, 2/3 was from China (which has doubled) and Argentina was about 1/3.

United States has produced about 80,000 tonnes and imported about 85,000 tonnes. About 10 tonnes of the imports have been from Canada. The US Imports are about 1/3 from China and 1/3 from other countries (some of which it is believed originated in China). Argentina has been reduced considerably in the US market.

The most interesting scientific talk was by Dr. Marla Spivak were she was able the show that the SMR trait is really an enhanced form of hygienic behavior. This was real interesting to hear, as it has been very difficult to find much of the SMR trait in Ontario bees.

The discussions on the border protocols with Dr. Clarice Lulia lead to no action being taken for one year. Ontario had suggested adding morphometrics to the import protocol to give better assurance that the queens do not carry any Africanized genes and Alberta ask that battery boxes be allowed instead of hand picked queens and attendants. The Canadian Honey Producers group also met with Dr. Lulia and requested that the border be opened for package bees. Ontario will allow queens in from mainland United States this season under Federal Permit but continues to press for a safer protocol to protect against the introduction of Africanized genes into Ontario.

Dr. Ernesto did receive one of the grants from Canadian bee Research Fund.

On Farm Food Safety for Canadian honey continues to be worked on by CHC.

Fred Butterworth of CFIA Calgary Lab reported on the reported on the residue testing that was done this past year. CFIA is looking for Nitrofuran, Penicillin, Tylosin, Chloramphenical, Oxy-tetracycline, sulfathiazole, Phenol and Benzaldehyde. No major problems occurred but several beekeepers did receive notices of being out of compliance. Beekeepers need to be aware that CFIA is doing these tests and they can go to parts per billion.

CHC also is looking at finding a way to raise more money and increase membership. The directors could not agree and an equitable way to make CHC work better.

This was a very educational and useful trip.

Doug McRory
Provincial Apiarist
Crop Technology Branch
Ministry of Agriculture and Food
1 Stone Road West
3rd Floor SW
Guelph, Ontario
N1G 4Y2

Tel: 519 826 3595
Fax: 519 826 3567
E-mail: doug.mcrory@omaf.gov.on.ca

Today: A mix of sun and cloud. High 15. UV index 3 or moderate. Tonight: Cloudy periods. Low 2.

Tuesday 5 April 2005
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There are more pleasant things to do than beat up people -- Muhammad Ali

From BEE-L

> Starvation! Easy to see!...

Bob is right. Starvation is a major cause of bee and colony death, but what many, if not most, beekeepers do not seem to understand is that a starvation episode does not have to take place at time of death to be a major contributor to the eventual demise of a colony.

Colony starvation weeks or months previous to actual colony death is a major cause of undiagnosed or misdiagnosed winter loss. Often whole yards die mysteriously with reasonable populations and decent stores in the hives, and, although some other excuse may be found and pinpointed, the real primary cause was robbing too close, feeding too late, shortage of pollen, or lack of a balanced pollen diet at a critical time.

Lack of proper nutrition can start a chain of events that results in population declines, poorly developed, stunted, young bees, and reduced colony resistance to pests and disease, and greater sensitivity to dampness and cold.

If a brief starvation is followed by good conditions, starved or malnourished bees can usually recover over a generation or two. Given good weather and good honey and pollen flows, they will restore their nest and raise strong bees.

However, starvation often occurs in late summer or fall and, even if the bees manage to get their stores built up, the bees themselves may simply lack the body reserves necessary to make it through winter or build up in spring.


Today: Cloudy with sunny periods and 30 percent chance of showers early this morning. Clearing this morning. High 15. UV index 4 or moderate. Tonight: Clear. Low minus 4. Wednesday: Sunny. High 21. Thursday: Sunny. Low 4. High 21. Friday: Sunny. Low minus 1. High plus 13. Saturday: Cloudy. Low 1. High 14.

Wednesday 6 April 2005
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An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory -- Friedrich Engels

Another day at home, with supper at the mill.  Emil is back from the US for a while.

Today: A mix of sun and cloud. Wind southwest 20 km/h. High 22. UV index 4 or moderate. Tonight: A few clouds. Wind southwest 20 km/h becoming light this evening. Low 4.

Thursday 7 April 2005
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Never express yourself more clearly than you are able to think -- Niels Bohr

Ellen went to Red Deer. I went to Calgary.  While there, I signed up for a SCUBA certification course to take place next (not this) weekend.  Along the way, I stopped in Airdrie and picked up some pollen patties.  I did not put any on last year -- I did not get around to it -- but plan to do things right this year.

Today: Sunny with cloudy periods. Wind becoming southeast 20 km/h near noon. High 26. UV index 4 or moderate. Tonight: A few clouds. Low 5. Friday: Sunny with cloudy periods. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h late in the morning. High 18. Saturday: Cloudy. Low 2. High 11. Sunday: Sunny. Low minus 2. High plus 13. Monday: Sunny. Low minus 1. High plus 16.

Friday 8 April 2005
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A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people -- Thomas Mann

We went to Meijers for Oene's birthday party

Today: Cloudy with sunny periods. 30 percent chance of showers this afternoon. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h near noon. High 20. UV index 3 or moderate. Tonight: Cloudy with 30 percent chance of showers this evening. Clearing overnight. Wind northwest 20 km/h becoming light near midnight. Low 2.

Saturday 9 April 2005
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The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true -- James Branch Cabell

Saturday: Sunny with cloudy periods. High 14.

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