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Varroa on the last drone brood in fall

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Brown text indicates personal ramblings that have little to do with bees and beekeeping.

Sunday October 10th 2010
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The forecast for later this week has improved so closing may be pleasant next weekend. Clip to Evernote

I slept about eleven hours last night and should have slept longer, but I'm not in the habit.  I got up, had breakfast and a coffee and went back to bed.  I dozed for an hour and then got up.

I'm feeling better.  Hopefully I'll beat this infection this time.   I plan to rest a lot and take it easy until I do.  My jaw feels better and my breathing is no longer sensitive.  My ears are still a bit blocked, though.  I'm taking cefuroxime this time.  It has a powerful chemical taste.

The leaves are still turning here in Northern Ontario and the woods are beautiful.

We had our Thanksgiving supper tonight with Linda and her family, here at Mom's.  She cooked a prime rib, since that is what we all like and it is much less work than turkey.

On BEE-L we became aware that our friend Dr. Jerry Bromenshenk, who had just published a very important paper on CCD was being smeared by of all places, Fortune Magazine.

At one time, I subscribed to Fortune and also sent a copy to my brother, and had great respect for the magazine, but that was a decade ago.  How they have fallen!  After looking up and reading the article, I had to respond.  amazingly, the only way to leave a comment was to join Facebook.

I have avoided Facebook since it began.  I may have joined early on -- can't recall -- but was put off by their cavalier attitude to security and privacy.  At any rate, joined Facebook to respond and have had some fun there since.  I had fun with Twitter for a few days, too, but I haven't been to Twitter for months

Anyhow, here is my comment and the reason I signed on to Facebook...

Allen Dick Allen Dick As a beekeeper who was one of the first to express concerns about neonicotinoids years ago long before the issue came to the fore, as one who has no love for pesticides, and as a good friend of Jerry's, I have to say that this article is among the lowest I've seen written on any topic that I know anything about.

His research has nothing to do with neonicotinoids (Imidacloprid included). None of us are suggesting neonicotinoid exposure is good for bees, but that is another subject.

What he and his group found is some pathogens which are relatively new to North America and how they appear, under some circumstances, to be the proximate cause of the unexplained bee deaths known as CCD. Simultaneous unpublished large scale practical work in Canada has established independently that controlling those two pathogens reduces bee losses to normal, while leaving them uncontrolled often leads to sudden and massive losses.

Not only was the Montana work carefully done and rigorously juried by a sometimes hostile group of competing scientists, who finally accepted it for inclusion in a prestigious scientific publication, but the work was done without any of the millions of dollars distributed to other CCD researchers -- and it was done without any money from Bayer as falsely suggested. (Where did that idea come from anyhow)?

I suggest that you contact Dr. Bromenshenk personally for the 'true' facts and prepare to write a retraction and apology, and maybe a new, fact-based article exploring the possibilities these discoveries offer.

See More
What a scientist didn't tell the NY Times on honeybee deaths - Oct. 8, 2010

Monday October 11th 2010
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I'm still recovering and feeling better day by day.  I wrote a bit on BEE-L and slept a lot.  I also took a hike around Minnow Lake.  Minnow Lake is a small lake near where I grew up and in my walk, I retraced my trails to and from school and to other childhood haunts.  That turned out to be 3.3 km and just what I needed.

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Tuesday October 12th 2010
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I've been watching the weather forecast for Port Carling and worrying.  Our pipes are exposed and if there is a hard freeze that could mean a lot of repairs to the plumbing.  Tonight was supposed to be below zero and I was feeling much better by noon and itching to do something, so I drove to Pine Hill, arriving here around four fifteen.  I spent the next two hours cleaning out the freezer.  My brother had turned off the power on the way out when he was here a month ago and we have had warm weather since.

The leaves are about half down now, so I have work to do: the boats, the leaves, the plumbing and the closing duties.  Mom stayed in Sudbury.  She has bridge club tomorrow and a hair appointment on Friday.  She may come down Thursday.

Wednesday October 13th 2010
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Well, it seems the weather guessers just can't guess it right.  The temperature was minus three last night according to reports and they were calling for plus one.  No matter, it seems.  The water lines under the cottage did not freeze.  The outside thermometer read plus three or so when I got up, so maybe the freeze was spotty. (The weather shown above is always for Swalwell).

Today I have to get to work on the boats, now that I have the freezer mess cleaned up.  I can still smell it, but that will go away with time. I washed the dishes twice.

I can see I'll soon tire of Facebook unless I figure out how to filter.  Although some of the entries are interesting, much of what I see is uninteresting to me.  I already unfriended someone.  I am not sure why I said OK in the first place.  It was someone I don't really know.  I may just cut down to close friends and family or quit Facebook altogether.  I figured, though, it could be a good way to stay in touch with family.  Maybe not, or maybe I need to figure out how to better use it.

I decided to split some logs for the fire and pulled out the log splitter, plugged it in and found that it blew the GFI.  OK.  I tried again, then recalled my brother had found it submerged in a puddle under the cottage several years back and pulled it out.  It had appeared to be totally enclosed and so I thought nothing of it at the time.  After that, we had use of an industrial unit the neighbours had rented.  So, I pulled off the cover and water ran out.  I then tried to turn the shaft.  Seized.  Looks like a job for Harri.

That done, I went to the boathouse and opened the hatch on Cloud 9.  When I step on, usually the bilge pump runs.  It didn't and I notice that the boat is sitting a bit low.  Not really low, but down a bit.  Sarah had said it was running flatter than before and that here friends got wet so I took it for a ride. 

The engine was reluctant to start, but did, then the boat would not shift into reverse.  I checked for a paddle, then pushed Cloud 9 out of the slip and idled it out of the River before I gunned it.  At all speeds, it seemed OK to me, but maybe it was a little bow-down. 

I returned to Pine Hill and checked reverse before docking.  Reverse was just fine now, so I entered the slip.  As I got out, I noticed a mother mouse had decided she did not like her new home any more and was planning on leaving with most of her brood attached (one was left behind).  Her gangplank, the painter (rope), was not where she expected it however.  I don't know if she jumped into the water or what she did.  I turned around a second and they had all disappeared.

I bought a new camera the other day, a Fuji XP with 5x zoom and an anti-shake feature.  I can see from the picture above that maybe I should turn that feature on.  The old Fuji still works fine, but the screen and lens are a little scuffed from being in my pocket constantly for 1-1/2 years.

Thursday October 14th 2010
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Today is dull, but warm.   My job for the day is to get Cloud 9 finished and put away and start on Carpe Diem.

I continue to be a bit tired and my jaw still hurts a bit, but I am better day by day.   My blood pressure was high the other day and this morning, but seems to be returning to normal. 128/76 was the last reading, just now, but I was seeing 160/90 earlier.

2 PM. Putting up the boat has turned out to be a little more technical that one might think.   Where are the support points?  It turns out that the boatworks used the transom and the forward end of the keel, where it meets the stem as support points.  I did the same.  Good thing I took pictures last spring.

11 PM. The last eight hours have been an adventure.  No sooner did I get Cloud 9 up on blocks and decide to dry out the bilge when  I discovered that the bilge had a considerable amount of gasoline in it.  A quick examination showed that the gas tank is leaking. 

I had noticed some gas smell when  I took the boat for a spin, but figured it was from sitting and from carb evaporation.  Now, there was a slow stream oozing from the bottom of the tank and running into the bilge.  I guess the tank had a pinhole and the ride had shaken it up enough to leak more seriously.  The boat is about 40 years old and the tank is steel.  I guess this was to be expected.

This why real sailors like diesel and are leery of gas.  Diesel stinks and seeps out at any joint, but a bilge full of diesel will not explode or even burn enthusiastically.  On the other hand, even a little gasoline can explode or catch flame if a spark or open flame happens nearby.  Fire on a boat is a bad thing.   Nowhere to run.

What to do?  Normally, I would take the boat out and anchor away from the boathouse and work on it in open air, but I had just put it up and taking it down would be a hassle and involve running chain hoists.  Probably not a good idea.  I should disconnect the battery, but the battery is right there where the gas fumes are worst.  There should be no spark if I disconnected it since there is nothing drawing current, but, really, who can be sure?

One thing that I should mention is that the engine compartment and access to the bilge is very restricted and that the gas spill was under the engine.  Accessing it was a matter of lying on the rear deck and reaching down past the engine past wires and tubing into areas which are not quite visible.  (The pictures are taken after I dried out he bilge).

Looking back to my childhood experiments with gasoline and fire, I decided that if I was careful -- and lucky -- that I should be OK.  In hot weather, gasoline is very volatile, but in colder weather, less so.  Today is quite cool.  In a humid place like a boathouse, static sparks are not too likely, so the main concern was not to short out the boat electricals, and I had reasonable confidence I could avoid that, or have a spark from the boathouse light switches, cords or the pump.  I turned off the cottage pressure water system so the pump would not start.

I contemplated siphoning the gas tank, but had no siphon hose, so I put a towel against the tank  to soak up the gas oozing out and several towels in the bilge and went to Bracebridge for supplies.  I bought a siphon at Canadian Tire, but it proved to be worse than useless.  Fortunately I also bought 10 feet of 3/8" vinyl tubing and I ran wire from a coat hanger up one end for a stiffener and that worked.  I siphoned out seven imperial gallons.  Those seven gallons would have all been in the bilge within a day or two if I had not done something. 

When I wrung out the towels, I got at least a litre more.   That is enough to drive almost to Bracebridge, or, I hate to think...   All the time I had hands in the bilge I was imagining what might happen if things went wrong and I felt a bit like like what a bomb disposal guy might feel like, but a whole lot less technical.   They say one gallon of gasoline equals thirty-five sticks of dynamite.  I used to play with dynamite when I was a kid, too, but that is another story.

Anyhow I'm still here, the boat is up and it's dry, and the boathouse is still standing.  I'm actually feeling better than I have in days.  Maybe it's the gas fumes.  We'll see tomorrow.  I hear gasoline gives quite a hangover.  BP is 130/79.  Not too bad for an old guy.  I guess this antibiotic is working.

Friday October 15th 2010
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 I was up until a half-hour after midnight and it's 6 AM and I'm awake.  I must be better or still hyped up on gasoline fumes. 

I can see I have a lot to do.  The gas tank incident was not in my plans and it took the equivalent of an entire day from my schedule, and I'm not done yet.  Once I finish here, I still have to get Carpe Diem ready for trailering north for winter in  Sudbury.

3 PM.  I think Cloud 9 is done, except for tarps.  I drained the cooling system and drained the gear oil.  I should have replaced it, but I'll do that in spring.  I should also have changed the engine oil, but I need a new filter and oil and don't have that handy.  As for fogging the cylinders, etc.  I have had many vehicles which sat for months and never bothered with that.  I suppose it could be a good idea, but on the other hand, a little etching in  the cylinders can be a good thing.  Besides, the boat will be back in the water in six months.

6:30 PM. I started on Carpe Diem at about 3:15.  I removed the sails and lowered the mast and by the time that was done, I found I was exhausted, not from exertion, but just really tired.  I drove to town and bought some eggs and milk, checked the lock hours for my passage through tomorrow on the way to the boat ramp, and returned.  When  I got back, I found I was still so tired I went to bed and slept deeply for an hour.   I guess I was running on gas since last night.

Saturday October 16th 2010
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2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

I slept right through to 8 AM and awoke ready to get to work. After doing a few last minute things to my boat, I took it down through the locks and loaded it onto the trailer and returned to Pine Hill.

I had driven the van and trailer down to the boat ramp earlier in the morning.  Along the way, at a stop sign, I heard a dragging sound.  I got out and looked under the van.  Branches from the bush road sometimes get lodged under there.  Nothing to be seen.  I looked back at the trailer and everything looked fine, but then I noticed one of the guide posts was missing.  On closer examination, I saw the pipe dragging behind, attached by the wiring for the tail light mounted on it.  I figured I must have hit a tree on the way up the driveway, but closer examination showed that the pipe had fatigued half through (I could tell by the rust in the break) and the bumpy road had finished the job.  I sleeved it temporarily and obtained some pipe nipples and bolts to finish the job later.  I'll get it welded sometime when a welder is handy.

Now that I am pretty well finished the boats, it is time for the uninteresting part, putting away linens, blankets, curtains and pillows, covering beds and cleaning out the fridge and freezer.  The water system must be drained.

We used to have the plumber and the Boatworks do the water and the boats, but the Boatworks was costing almost $800 a year for raising and launching Cloud 9 (That did not include my boat) and the plumber's bill for just draining the water system last year was $168.  That is an hour's work at most.  Turning on the water would be the same in spring, I'm guessing.  HST adds to that  cost, too.  There is no tax on work I do myself and I enjoy it.  I hate to think what the wrinkle that the gas tank leak would have cost if the Boatworks had to deal with it.  As it is, it cost me a day and the new tank will be $300, delivered.

Acaricide residues in honey and wax after treatment
of honey bee colonies with Apivar or Asuntol

50* Anne-Claire Martel, Sarah Zeggane, Clément Aurieres, Patrick Drajnudel, Jean-Paul Faucon, Michel Aubert Agence Française de Sécurité Sanitaire des Aliments (AFSSA), Site de Sophia Antipolis, Laboratoire d’Études et de Recherches sur les Petits Ruminants et les Abeilles (LERPRA), Unité de Pathologie de l’Abeille, 105 route des Chappes, 06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France Received 16 March 2007 – Revised 23 August 2007 – Accepted 24 August 2007

Abstract – Acaricide residues were assessed in French commercial beeswax using newly developed liquid and gas chromatography methods. Most of the commercial wax samples and all samples taken during the industrial recycling process contained coumaphos and fluvalinate. Amitraz and coumaphos residue levels were also followed in several hives experimentally treated with Asuntol 50 or Apivar , two products used in France to control varroa infestation. After the Asuntol 50 treatment, coumaphos residues increased in honey and wax combs, persisted more than 30 days in honey and one year or more in comb wax. The half-life of coumaphos was 69 and 115–346 days in honey and comb wax respectively. Following Apivar treatment, amitraz was not detected in honey nor in wax. These results are consistent with and complete other studies: the use of coumaphos entails wax contamination which persists through commercial recycling. As this may be a threat for bee health, the use of Asuntol 50 should be avoided.

Sunday October 17th 2010
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Weather continues sunny and warm in Alberta, but the nights are freezing, now.

I'm in Muskoka.  When I came down on Tuesday, I figured I'd be here two or three days.  I've been here five.  I've found lots to do and the weather has been quite tolerable at worst and pleasant at best.  If I had the time, yesterday would have been a good day for sailing.  It was warm and the breeze was perfect.

Today I take the last of the antibiotic.  The timing seems right; I feel that I am pretty well recovered.

I slept until 8:30 this morning.  I can recall when I was young, the goal was to sleep as little as possible.  Now it is to sleep as much as possible.  It is a feat to sleep 8 hours without waking up at least once. 

I'm starting to think that maybe coffee is affecting my sleep, since I drank a lot yesterday (ten cups?) and I was up an hour after midnight before going back to bed and sleeping soundly. The day before I did not drink more than four cups and slept right through. Coffee never used to keepe up, but one changes with time.

I looked up caffeine and how long the effect lasts and apparently caffeine has a half-life of anywhere from  a few hours to 12 hours and that depends on the person and other factors. Here is one article: How Long Does Caffeine Stay in Your Body? and Metabolism and half-life  So, drinking eight or ten cups during the day could  have the same effect for some people as drinking four or five cups at bedtime.

Today I have to finish up and I'll head back tonight or tomorrow morning.  I still have to wrap the boat for winter when I get to Sudbury.  That takes a while, and I fly out Tuesday to return to Alberta, then drive to Cranbrook for the BCHPA meeting.

6 PM. I actually didn't get much done today.  I went to Bracebridge and bought a few storage boxes and a new blower.  The old one is hard to start.  The new one is just as bad.  I decided that I should try fresh gas and that got the old one running better.  The new one is going back.  It is just hard to start and I think it is defective.  I still have to finish putting things away in the cottage and drain the water.

I had worried that water might have gotten into the starter on Cloud 9 when the bilge pump was not working or when the bilge was being flushed out, so I loosened the rear end plate on the starter and pulled it back a bit (right).  No water came out, but I put a light bulb under it anyhow just to make sure it is dry.  I also noticed the starter is a little loose.  In spring, the new starter had been very hard to install and I had wondered if I got the bolts tight.  Guess not.  I'll use Locktite next time or a lock washer, I suppose.  When I install a new gas tank and re-route the gas line and filter, access should be a bit better, too, and maybe I'll have more room to swing a wrench.

8 PM. It'll be at least noon before I leave tomorrow at the rate I'm going.  We'll see.  I have more energy and am still putting things away for winter.

10 PM.  I'm still working putting things away and tidying.  I think I have my energy back.

Monday October 18th 2010
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I was up early, had breakfast, caught up on my email, and worked from 9 to 3 getting ready to leave. 

At 3, I was ready and started up the hill, towing the boat.  I had blown the leaves off previously, but some had fallen since.  The old blower had been hard to start, and I had bought a new blower, but had problems with it and given up on blowing, particularly since there weren't many leaves and I was out of time.  It turned out that there were enough on the pavement to make my drive wheels spin and I wound up stopped dead on the steepest part, near the top of the narrow drive.  The fact that I had moved weight forward in the boat (the motor and the keel) and had a heavy log splitter in the back of the van along with various other heavy items did not help.  Both those things shifted weight off the front wheels of the van on the steep slope, and with the reduced traction on the leaves, the wheels spun whenever I hit one.

Backing down with a long, heavy trailer is never fun, but with the front wheels being light, the braking was marginal and the front of the van would move sideways if I made sudden moves, steering the trailer towards one edge or the other.  Going off either side would be disastrous, and jack-knifing looked like a distinct possibility.  Stopping, setting brakes and getting out was questionable since I was not sure that the parking pawl and parking brake could hold the combination reliably on that grade.  The trailer brakes are surge brakes and do nothing when there is no compression on the tongue.  At any rate, I was able to inch down backwards and stay on the road.  When I was safe, I thought of blowing the leaves, but figured my mistake had been not starting with enough speed.  I backed right up and took a run.  This time, I made it with some momentum to spare.

I arrived in Sudbury for supper at six.  After supper, I returned some items to stores and dropped the log splitter off at Harri's.  Tomorrow, I wrap the boat for winter and head home.

Tuesday October 19th 2010
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2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999

Today is Linda's birthday, so Mom had a little party for her.  Two of her old friends came over and we all had cake and ice cream.

After lunch I got to work wrapping my boat for winter and sorting out my stuff.  I was done in time to catch the shuttle to YSB and here I am sitting in the lounge, waiting.  Apparently my plane is twenty minutes late, so I am here almost two hours early in an airport where clearing security takes five minutes, max.

Well, security took more than five minutes.  Since I carry a lot of electronics, my life vest with C02 cartridge and some boat parts and cell antennas -- and I had decided not to check bags  -- they decided to go through everything.  They were very pleasant about it and I had nothing but time, so all went well.  The life vest was a sticker, since they are infrequent items in carry-on and the screeners are not aware that they are the sole exception to the no-C02  cartridges rule.  The boss screener wandered off and looked it up and came back, agreeing that it is OK.  They were relaxed and respectful and It was a pleasant few minutes.

The flight from Sudbury to Toronto is always a lot of fun.  People know one another and when everyone is jammed into that small Dash-8, there is s festive atmosphere.  Everyone talks to everyone and it is a jolly 55 minutes.  These flights are at relatively low altitude and the route follows the 69 highway south along the margin of Georgian Bay, so the views can be fantastic if the conditions are right.

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