Archive for January, 2011

Warm Day in Winter Good for De-Cross-combing


2011
01.29

Visited the outyard today to drop off new hive stands and check in on the girls.  70 degrees.   Bees flying strong.

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Opened up 3 Langs and a TBH to check on them. Good reserves. None had sealed brood, so it the queens have stopped laying for that short period in Texas winters.  The donated hive had some bad combs, and plastic foundation. Ugg. I tore out 2 mangled frames, cut out lots of burr comb where he had left out frames, and left the honeycomb out to be robbed out by the bees.

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Overall, winter is the time when hives have the fewest bees. Which makes it a great time to fix cross-comb problems, rotate out bad frames, and other manipulations that are invasive. Just be quite careful to not crush a queen. They can’t raise another until the drones fly.

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Tazmanian beekeeping Videos


2011
01.25

While the first  is an interesting video (ok, a slideshow with audio track), it underlines a very interesting ecosystem of beekeeper, Leatherwoods and pollination.
The almond industry really needs the US to have a Leatherwood forest somewhere.

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What plant could work in the south? Flowering trees, in general, are more stable a honey flow due to taproots are not as dependent on weather.

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http://www.timbonham.com/slideshows/LWBKeep/

.and another fun video on Taz honey

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Doing Cutouts


2011
01.22

Cutouts are simply removing unwanted hives from places humans deem unacceptable. Normally the wall of a house, or the eve of a barn or such. They can be a traumatic experience for both bee and beekeeper alike. In this podcast, I cover some of the legal, political and technical issues of cutouts.

Role of Modern Beekeeping


2011
01.19

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Beekeeping isn’t what it use to be.
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Preparing Swarm Traps for Spring


2011
01.18

I ran 10 traps last year and caught 6 swarms. This year I’ve got 30 traps, and will be starting a grand experiment to find optimum locations, as well as making a DVD on swarm trapping.Swarm traps for the spring

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Winter is the most under used season of beekeeping, it is a time for maintenance, ordering equipment, planning marketing, and preparing for the coming year.

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Winter losses do some good.


2011
01.18

If you are in Texas, the end of Winter is nigh. I saw the first Dandelion bloom yesterday.  A quick check of the outyard showed lots of activity, but old man winter did cast his shadow, and a nuc had died out. Winter losses are part of beekeeping, and part of the selection cycle to kill off weaker strains.  In the big picture, it is how bees get stronger.

Chinese Honey not Dumped per se


2011
01.15

Quick Summary – Chinese honey was found to be not dumped, but was causing ‘material injury to an industry in the United States’.

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I’ve heard it dozens of times “Dumped Chinese Honey” and went to the root of the report.  I’ve pulled the US International Trade Commission report of 2007 & 2009 that reviews the existing tariff on Chinese and Argentine Honey.  I just want US Beekeepers to understand the political landscape this caused, and the artificial honey prices they are enjoying.

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What the US ITC is:
“The mission of the Commission is to (1) administer U.S. trade remedy laws within its mandate in a fair and objective manner; (2) provide the President, USTR, and Congress with independent analysis, information, and support on matters of tariffs, international trade, and U.S. competitiveness; and (3) maintain the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS).”

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I interpret this Commission to be a non-independent, fact finding commission that is subject to political influences from Congress.

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The 2007 report itself is 92 pages and remarkably easy to read considering. Found at:
http://www.usitc.gov/publications/701_731/pub3929.pdf

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And the 2009 report is http://www.usitc.gov/publications/701_731/pub3369.pdf
Chinese Dirty Dealings.
The American Honey Producers Assc. and the Sioux Honey Assc. filed the original complaint in 2000. On the initial investigation half the board found China was dumping, half found they weren’t. (See footnote 3)

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‘Anti-dumping duty order’ is what is needed to impose a tariff, if I understand the process. It does not mean the item was dumped.

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‘Dumping’ is a nebulous word. I believe the public thinks ‘dumping’ means selling for less then you make it for, which of course make little economic sense. In this case, there was a 1995 US-Chinese agreement of selling above a pre-determined reference price point. Specifically:

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“It also provided that these imports had to be sold at a reference price, which was 92
percent of the average of the honey unit import values for all other countries during a specified six-month
period.”

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If I interpret all this in context, the US honey packers could not compete with its two largest competitors and successfully lobbied for a tariff.  They only targeted the two largest competitors to the US.  If I extrapolate, if that tariff ever comes down, they have done little to make themselves competitive again.

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As a good economist, I interpret that the current honey price is artificial, thus not reflective of the true free market price in an open world economy.

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No other country has leveled a protectionist tariff on Chinese honey. The EU did temporarily ban it on a quality issue. The US tariff is $2.63/kg on Chinese honey.

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And to head off the other side of the coin, Chinese honey quality is not at issue here. That is a different item.

Preparing Queen Rearing videos


2011
01.14

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I’ve been lucky enough to tap into some real experts. Both Michael Bush and a New Zealand beekeeper both have done Queen Rearing Presentations and both have given me permission to use their materials for a video.

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I’ve been processing the sound of Michael Bush’s video and will have it ready soon. This weekend, I will also hit the editor to knock out the Kiwi’s presentation and make it a video.

Honey again proven useful in wound management


2011
01.05

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Honey has been used in wound management since the ancient Greeks. So no surprise yet another study confirms it.

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However, what is great about this article is the very simplistic explanation as to why it works, even laymen can understand the gunk around their bathtub drain.

http://www.innovations-report.de/html/berichte/medizin_gesundheit/bericht-33220.html

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How this affects us, as beekeepers, is providing us a new market to sell honey too. It will be hard to get mainstream medical folks to buy our honey, but I think with an advertising push, cattle ranchers might buy a 5 gallon bucket to treat wounded cattle. Especially, for those ranchers who have gone organic.

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Just an idea.

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Tell me what Videos You want to see!


2011
01.03

So far I’ve drifted through different topics making videos. A new year is here and I want to make a master plan.
At some point this spring, I’ll put out a Swarm Trapping DVD, and some videos on how to light a smoker, cover basic equipment, and one on how to get into beekeeping.
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But…
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Now that I have something of a following, I want to hear from YOU what you’d like to see videos on.