Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Day 15 – Post Congress Tour, Day 5- Fremantle to Denmark

Today we go south down the coastal road to Bunbury and then inland into the hills, stopping for a short time at Manjimup. Many places with the suffix “up” apparently indicate aboriginal language usage meaning near water. Manjimup is clearly a tourist place in what is called the Karri and Cultures Heartland., featuring abundant water and rich soils. The cultures are agriculture, viticulture, aquaculture, horticulture and silviculture. It is not only an area of large wild trees, but also tree fruits. The long Bibbulmun trail runs through here, beginning near Denmark and going 1000 km north to Perth and beyond.

Our destination in the region is the Valley of the Giants

in the Walpole-Nornalup National Park and its well known tree-top walk that is handicap accessible, at its highest 40 meters above the forest floor. It is built to swing, providing the sensation of being in a swinging tree, which takes some getting used to. The Red Tingle trees here are some of the largest trees in the world, approaching the sequoahs in California. Many are like the California trees are marked by fire and hollowed out, making nice photo opportunities.

We see the “kangaroo lady” here in a beat up Toyota Land Cruiser filled with baby roos and wallabies, victims of road-killed parents often. She sits placidly in the parking lot nursing them on roo formula. We learn the formula must be adjusted periodically to the developing “joeys.” When they get larger, she liberates them on her land.

After an enjoyable interlude at the Valley of the Giants, we head up the road to Bartholomew’s Meadery just outside of Denmark. This place is for sale at the moment. It features some of the best mead, both dry and sweet varieties We see yet another extracting facility and make a tour of the grounds. The place has a “new age” feel about it with manikens and references to spirits and gods.

Day 14 – Post Congress Tour, Day 4- Fremantle, West Coast Honey, The Pinnacles.

An early start driving out of Fremantle through Perth to the north up the Brand coastal road. We stop to visit West Coast Honey Co.a third generation operation (about 3,000 colonies) in Gingin, just south of Badginarra and Nambun National Parks, mostly based on red gum trees for nectar. Beginning in 1933, the place that has 12 beekeeping families and is also the olive capital of Western Australia. The West Coast Honey Company is the retail end of the Fewster family’s beekeeping enterprise; it is kept separate from the bulk honey extraction business. All are enchanted by two young kangaroos, Eastern grays that are foundlings. A nice garden of wild plants is at the front of the building. A specially big “black boy,” now called grass plant is in evidence. These are seen in the bush in great numbers and were used by the aboriginees to produce a glue mixed together with kangaroo scat; my host in Perth has written some high faluting stories, one concerning the great amount of “hopperite” found in the bush, which is collected by energetic tourists and others.

There is a honey tasting at the store, featuring the supreme honey of the area, Jarrah (high in fructose; not prone to crystallize; low glycemic index, flowering every two years) unique to this area, salmon gum, mallee and Gold Fields, from old gold mining sites.

Water in the area a problem like elsewhere in Australia; one desalination plant in operation; another on the boards. Meanwhile some ground water pumping going on. Again emphasized that bee yards are required to have a local water source (open tanks) for the bees.

One of the Fewsters gets aboard our bus as we make our way up the western coastal road to a place called Cervantes. We pass through an area of cultivate crop land (much canola) along the way, passing by a large wind farm. Stop and look at vegetation along the way including Banksia and areas of Cape Weed and canola. Here we finally are able to dip our feet in the Indian Ocean; a nice lunch is spread out under a veranda. The beach is white sand, but filled with decaying kelp. Lobster boats are anchored off shore; it takes a lot of money to get into this business according to Michael the bus driver, given the restrictions due to potential over fishing.

We are now in the boundaries of Nambung National park
according to a sign at the Cervantes site. I note that part of the official map is the Southern Beekeepers Nature Preserve. This appears to be a good way to preserve beekeeping sites, perhaps something others might use as a strategy for overzealous land managers; have your site declared a preserve inside a national park.

We journey south of Cervantes to the Pinnacles Desert, an area with what are rock (limestone) pillar

This is a popular site for tourists from all over the world and region. There is an interpretative center being planned here (solar powered in part) and will soon be finished along with a ranger station. We trek about half way out the 4km track that runs around the site.

Back on the bus, we head out back to West Coast Honey
for the traditional thing we have become to expect, a barbecue. Again, a group of convivial beekeepers gathers to interact with the guests on the tour from other places in the world.

After dinner, it takes 2 hours to get back to the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle We arrive exhausted and dive into bed for tomorrow will be another early start.

Day 13 – Post Congress Tour, Day 3- Kingscote to Perth

An early rise to leave Kangroo Island for Perth via the Adelaide Airport.

Words about the Ligurian bees of Kangaroo Island: Before the 1880s, there were no honey bees on Kangaroo Island. Importations were made between 1881 and 1885 with the intention of breeding bees as a future source for the beekeeping industry. The bees came from the province of Ligura inItaly and are called “Ligurian bees.” In 1885, the South Australian government proclaimed Kangaroo Island as a Ligurian bee sanctuary. No more importations were made, and they are considered the last remaining pure strain of these bees left in the world. The island is out of flight range by bees to the mainland.

The Ligurian strain is gentle and productive, producing honey from many varieties of native eucalypt, bottle brush, tea trees, banksias as well as introduced plants. In recent years, canola, an introduced crop plant, has become increasingly important. Honey is harvested at three-week intervals and hives moved every 6-8 weeks.

The Sealink crossing is much different than the previous day with the breezes very much calmed and few clouds in the sky. The trip to Adelaide is uneventful as we again traverse the Fleurieul Peninsula but along the Western coast road directly to Adelaide. We learn some more about Adelaide, an “overgrown country town” laid out in a series of neat, easy-to-follow grids.

The flight to Perth is uneventful, but long (3.5 hours); good food and complimentary wine. We view the movie, “The Flying Scotsman,” about a bicyclist who developed some of the technology modern cyclists use today like dropped down handlebars. We fly directly across the “Great Australian Bight,” a nick as if someone had taken a real bite out of the continent, where eons ago Antarctica nestled as part of Gonwanda Land.

It’s relatively late when we see land flying between the old gold center Kalgoorlie Boulder and Albany, where the British flag was first planted. Landing in Perth, we board yet another bus for the Eslplanade Hotel in Fremantle, Perth’s port city. This is by far the best accommodation we have had on the tours; pretty high class as Internet service from the room is AU$9.90/ hour.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Day 12 – Post Congress Tour- Murray Bridge to Kingscotte, Kangaroo Island

Up early and leave the motel by 0600 to make the Sealink Ferry to Kangaroo Island We descend onto the Fleurieul Peninsula and make our way via Victor Harbor and Port Elliot

Prior to the crossing, all honey products are put into plastic bags to leave with the Sealink folks as there is a strict quarantine for honey products, which might introduce disease. This will also be true for folks going to Perth. No honey products can be brought to West Australia from South Australia as EFB does not exist in the west, but AFB does. It turns out that South Australian honey in fact is seen in Perth, the Espanade Hotel where we stay, but it must be heated to 60 degrees C to rid it of EFB risk.

The ferry crossing is a brisk 45 minutes. Today is extremely cold and windy. Lots of little pied cormorants on the jetties. We land in a driving rainstorm, but it is short lived, and on the bus we are met by Kangaroo Island hosts including Betty McAdam of Hog Bay Apiary

From the landing point at Penneshaw we travel to American River to Emu Ridge Distillery, where oil from the narrow leaf eucalyptus is distilled from the leaves; they are so high in oil that kohalas won’t eat them. Here we see a small orphan gray kangaroo and an emu family Next we travel to Clifford’s Honey Farm where we have a lunch, see the extracting outfit and taste the famous honey ice cream; recipe remains a secret. After that we check in at the historic Ozone Seafront Hotel, built 1906 and rebuilt after a disastrous fire around 1916

We journey to the Islands Seal Bay Conservation Park where we see a bunch of exhausted Australian sea lions sleeping off their latest exertion. We are told not to wake them up as they have just been out feeding at the edge of the continental shelf and are pretty tired when they return. We are told this population has not grown in several decades and therefore remains on the edge of extinction

We return for dinner at Island Beehive where a bevy of guests have been invited; the Kangaroo Island Beekeepers Assoc.

is out in full force and a good time is had by all. We return to the Ozone but on the way are treated to seeing a koala bear in the wild. They have a checkered history here it seems as they are introduced and have no predators the population has exploded and they are pests eating trees and other vegetation. One wag calls them klunking koalas, that’s what they sound like when they are shot and fall from their perch in a tree.

Day 11 – Post Tour: Day one – Melbourne – Adelaide- Murray Bridge

A very early start this morning; 4:20 a.m. The bus takes much longer than expected to get the full quota of passengers; we visit 5 hotels and cross the Yarra River at least 4 times: Finally we are off to the Melbourne airport, and we push off the gate on time at 0:800 destination Adelaide, named after the queen of King James and designed in the European style with a center square framed by four others; we journey through the town and back on the main road to Melbourne, having a coffee break just east of the town of Murray Bridge (called King’s Crossing as well). Two bridges are here; the motorcar and railway, both built before the turn of the century. There is a hilly winding road out of Adelaide, which then dips down to the Murray River.

Harry, our bus driver, gives us a discussion of camels Abandoned by their Middle Eastern handlers when railways and trucks took over distribution of goods and commodities throughout the great deserts of Australia, a wild population now flourishes at times even to pest levels in some areas. These also have become a resource, however, as many are shipped back to the Middle East (Saudi Arabia) to add genetic diversity to herds, which often have disease problems. The breeding program in Australia has also attempted to produce a jet black camel, for which there would be huge demand, but although individuals have become darker (chocolate) the true black camel so far has yet to be produced. The females are the basis for much of this and the males not as important. The often are harvested for meat and camel burgers are considered a delicacy in some places as the meat is high in protein and low in fat and carbohydrate.

There is a large enclosed pipe along the road here, which delivers Murray River water to the region There is also an aquifer in the region that is being pumped to the detriment of the water resource, similar to the Ogalala aquifer in the U.S. Most roofs have guttering systems delivering water to cisterns. Every hotel in the country provides information on the effect of the current drought and need for tourists and others to conserve water.

Areas along the roadway show that on occasion, fairly rich farmland gives way in low areas to almost barren, swampy sites. This is where salt has risen to ground level. Close to these areas are usually patches of salt bush, which is a crop One result is sheep fed on salt bush creates a lamb that is a delicacy in some regions, so-called “saltbush lamb.”

An interesting and well written article by Shelley Gare, The Sting, The Weekend Australian Magazine, September 15-16, 2007,25197,22417482-5012694,00.html
reveals the depth of press coverage Colony Collapse Disorder is receiving in Australia and around the world. The Melbourne Congress is mentioned as is the research by Dr. Denis Anderson, billed as “The world’s only general bee pathologist. Bearded, unassuming and smiley…” There’s a general history of Varroa, especially introduction to New Zeand’s north island (2000) and the south by 2004, leading to a loss of 2000 beekeepers and 30,000 hives “that’s about 2,000,000,000 bees.”

There follows an explanation of the bees’ pollination value and how it has been understated and taken for granted with a research budget of only $AU 40,000. According to the article, there are just under 10,000 registered beekeepers in Australia with about 1.5 million hives, but only 2000 commercial operators (250 owning more than 500 hives), producing 20,000 to 30,000 tons of honey a year mostly for export, and “everyone knows everyone else.” There are also bee brokers for pollination and the author came in contact with one “bee smuggler, a man who once tried to sneak in eight queen bees from Liguria, Italy, inside 8 ballpoint pens”

There are just three package bee producers in the country, the largest is “Warren Taylor from Blayney in NSW…with an annual turnover of $AU 2.5 million.” There follows the history of almond pollination in California and Dr. Anderson’s belief that the press has over sold the issue and its based on anecdotes rather than data. He says scientists see things through their own specialty, bacteriologists blaming bacteria, virologists viruses, and all through the prism of not enough funding. A side bar suggests the honey bee situation could be saved by Australia’s native bees. See , and He decries a recent article in Science linking CCD in the U.S. to a specific strain of Israeli acute paralysis virus found to have originated in Australian queens, concluding that the virus has been found in hives not suffering from CCD and asking why if this was so, there are no hives in Australia suffering from the malady.

Almost to the Victoria border we come to Tintinara, the home of Zadow apiaries. Here two brothers, Ian and Ross Zadow run 1400 hives. Ross is one of the featured naked beekeepers on the Aussie beekeepers calendar sold at the congress. They represent the youth and future of Australian beekeeping. This small town of 300 features 7 beekeepers.

Australias’ small towns are suffering to survive as the magnets of Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide continue to attract young folks away from the rural lifestyle. One woman has stayed because she is employed by a governmental program assisting farmers in programs like reforestation, but these jobs are scarce.

Ian Zadow is president of the local association, the southeastern branch of the South Australia Apiarist’s Assocation There are other branches in this state, including riverland, northeast and central, representing about 800 beekeepers running 64,000 hives. There is also an amateur association, which Ian says is entering into an arrangement with commercial beekeepers to develop a 5-year strategic plan.

The newest crop in the region is canola, which has come on strong in the last few years and considered a great resource for beekeepers. The big crops here are oats, barley and Lucerne (alfalfa) and; the latter produces a good honey crop and beekeepers do not charge for pollination. However, there is a budding almond pollination industry as like California, this crop is due for rapid expansion across Australia in the next few years.

Discussion with Yurij Riphyak on the tour, Chief Marketing Officer of Medyanarosa, a Ukrainian outfit which is attempting to develop markets for Ukrainian honey. He and others in his group know Dr. Alexander Kommisar, who I met at the 2005 meeting of the IUSSI (International Union for the Study of Social Insects) in St. Petersburg, Russia The company is attempting to get youngsters involved in beekeeping.

The Zadows have a large building with an integrated extraction room, but they also extract in the field. A trailer carries the extraction house fully set up, which pumps honey into pipes that dump it into the 1000 liter plastic Capilano containers sitting on the truck bed. They wheel the frames from the field in a carrying apparatus that looks like a wheel barrow. They use plastic foundation dipped in wax and try to re queen regularly, sometimes introducing 50 queens per week into the operation. Like others in Australia, biggest problem is AFB treated by irradiation and burning; wax moths controlled using a cold room, both emphasize the philosophy of no chemical treatments. No major small hive beetle problems (drought contributory?).

We see cape weed, which can result in EFB and blue gum, one of their major nectar plants like so many has little pollen. Feeding Palmer’s protein patties Discussion of a wooden extractor on the premises; intricate wooden gears which turn a galvanized screen container (typical 4 frame tangential extractor, often used by small-scale operators). Discussion of the unique fork lift seen on the premises. The inventor was on hand, billed the oldest beekeeper there, filled with historidal information. His forklift design was disseminated around the country and further improved on. The wheels are large to accommodate sandy soil and the boom is able to move colonies through a good radius; this may be the ideas behind the commercial boom (self levelers).

We proceed to Mr. Barry Pobke's apiary, where we see a demonstration of a forklift and various pallets being moved. He has a solar panel on his forklift to help maintain a trickle charge. He shows us his record keeping system; most beekeepers in Australia use isolating mechanisms either hive barriers or yard barriers to ensure disease is not transmitted. Mr. Pobke shows us his record keeping system and also his records involved in the quality control plan he uses; this was discussed at the Apimondia meeting, the B-Qual plan

We have a farewell barbecue hosted by the Zadows and others in Tintinara
at the local meeting house, also a theater, containing historical items and pictures. We feast on Coorong mullet Originally the tour was to be to the Corrong but this was deleted from the itinerary. We return to Murray Bridge Motel for the evening.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Day 10 – Australian Technical Tour Ends the Congress :

Some 32 buses pulled out of the Melbourne Convention Centre this morning with eager beekeepers on what were billed as “technical tours.” This featured a visit to a fairgrounds facility some two hours to the northeast near the Bendigo area. It was a fairly cold, windy day with intermittent light rain, but a good time was had by all. The fairgrounds featured a typical Australian barbecue and displays of old farm engines that have been restored, wood chopping and perhaps the most intriguing, snakebusters featuring not only many species of boas that hung around beekeepers necks, but also some of the most poisonous snakes in the world, were handled with relative ease because they had been brought up in captivity. In addition, we saw some intriguing blue tongued skinks and large green hylae tree frogs

Also at the fairgrounds was a open-hive demonstration with the obligatory discussion about the “box” and “gum” trees that are the primary nectar sources in the country. In addition, there was hand a gaggle of bee trucks of every shape and size. One featured a tow-along honey house with hoses running directly into the 1,000 liter tanks on the truck bed of the towing vehicle. A visit to various honey houses and apiaries were deftly choreographed by the organizers so that no single place was overrun with eager beekeepers. The place I went to featured box dipping and old honey extracting facility and the chance to see not one, but two specimens of Australia’s night jar, the tawny frogmouth. This visit provided a great end to the Congress “Down Under.”

Day 9 – Fourth Day of the Congress:

Today featured two symposia on bee health. One focused on the emerging problems associated with small hive beetle. There was discussion of the beetle’s management in the U.S. and its recent introduction into Australia. Presentations on beetle traps, chemical control and diagnosis were featured. The Russian bees in the U.S. are as resistant to SHB as are other races.
Tropilaelaps mites have some of the same dynamics as found with Varroa sp classification by Australian researchers, as certain types are associated only with specific bee hosts, variations of the giant honey bee Apis dorsata. Studies about these mites will provide important information as there have been incursions into Australia of the host Apis cerana and the mites are also found in some of the close-by islands of Indonesia.

Finally, colony collapse disorder as named in the U.S. considered responsible for more than normal bee losses was discussed, including a unique session featuring short presentations by scientists, officials of Apimondia (Chairmen of the standing commissions on bee biology, bee health, beekeeping equipment, and pollination and bee flora. This was followed by comments from the audience ranging for polite questions concerning the details of the research to more pointed observations by those who believe that pesticides and gmo crops are major causes. President Asger Sogaard Jorgensen took the microphone at the end asking participants to keep an open mind and not fall into the trap of developing hard line philosophical “camps.”
The closing ceremonies that evening featured the Australian group The Sundowners singing Irish and Scottish-derived melodies brought to Australia and the featured song heard before, Waltzing Matilda.

The two most emotional points of the evening were when the Australian chairman turned over the reigns to the French delegation who will host Apimondia 2009 in Montpellier and the selection by a “clear majority,” (75% of the voting delegates) of Argentina to host the congress in2011 in Buenos Aires.

Day 8 – Third Day of the Congress:

Several commissions held plenary sessions this day. Chairman Gilles Ratia provided an overview of the Beekeeping Equipment standing commission’s activities. The keynote speaker, Dr. Jeff Pettis of the U.S. Department of Agriculture provided a discussion he characterized as thinking “inside the box,” most specifically, the honey bee box or hive. He related some research attempting to raise bees in a hiving situation more like natural homes in trees, most specifically looking at different nesting configurations with respect to placement of the entrance with reference to the bottom board of the modern bee hive. These revealed that entrances on the bottom board level might be re examined and exploration of higher entrances might be warranted.

Mr. Ratia provided a discussion of honey crystallization and how modern packing plants currently treat honey with respect to filtering, heating and packing the product. There are many things to consider here from concepts about flash heating to avoid production of hydroxmymethlyfurfural (HMF) and how handling the barrels differently (temperature during storage, positional shock due to shifting position) can influence crystallization. Other talks here included progress of the Varroa “mite zapper,” the round Hungarian hive and use in Brazil of a white colored veil (painted black inside and white outside), which reduces defensive behavior in Africanized honey bees.

Another symposium featured strategies in controlling American foulbrood. One participant noted that foulbrood was emphasized at this congress far more than in the past to the exclusion of other diseases, including Varroa mites. Foulbrood is the biggest problem in Australia as the country has no mites and the strategy to control it incorporates hive destruction by fire and increasingly the use of cobalt 60 radiation treatment. New Zealand is on its way to accomplish something few thought possible, the complete eradication of American foulbrood via a program of education and enforcement by the beekeeping community itself and not state regulators.

Finally, the bee flora standing commission featured a keynote presentation on the changing landscape for commercial pollination, which is slowly becoming the major rationale for beekeeping, and replacing the traditional basis, honey production. This has a different set of challenges and opportunities when it comes to managing bees. The Australian situation features this aspect; the main concern with respect to Varroa introduction on the national level is not its effect on honey production, but how it will impact pollination via devastation of feral bees. Thus, funding is more available for this kind of research than it might be otherwise.

An initial meeting of the Global Bee Breeders Initiative with representatives from Argentina, USA, Australia, New Zealand occurred that evening. A round table discussion provided impetus to move toward the establishment of a bee breeders association, somewhat modeled on the Honey International Packers Association that already is in operation Tasks that need to be done include establishing a mission statement and investigating the legal structure under which such an association might prosper. The vision is to ally it with two of Apimondia’s standing commissions, Bee Biology and Beekeeping Equipment.

There will be a meeting emphasizing global bee breeding sponsored by Apimondia in Neuvo Vallarta, Mexico 15-18 October 2008
or . Other international meetings advertised at the convention were the 9th Ibero Latinoamericano Congress in Chile in 9-13 July 2008 ,and the 9th Asian Apicultural Apicultural Association Conference in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China 1-4 November 2008 . In addition, there will be a Bee Safari in Turkey with Biyotematur 1-14 August 2008, concentrating on the Causcasian honey bee.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Second Day of the Congress

Day 7 – This day was taken up with bee biology and bee health for this observer. Prof. Dr. Karl Crailsheim provided an analysis of the explosion of study about bees in general and honey bees in particular. In 1909 there were few papers on bees, but over the decades especially in the last two there has been a huge increase. In the current decade they are approaching 2,500 papers in 10 years. Mostly these are in English and generally are involving behavior and neurobiology. Apimondia has been greatly involved with its two publications, Apidologie (general biology in focus) and Journal of Apicultural Research (management in focus).

Sequencing the honey bee genome has also provided a huge number of possibilities never before possible, rather as if a cue ball breaks up a rack of pool balls. Surprisingly the honey bee genome is small, 10,000 genes, in comparison to humans (20,000), fruit flies (13,600) and silkworms (18,500). This means the honey bee genome is stable with no need for rapid change. Honey bees also have similarities with humans, including a circadian rhythm and pattern (facial) recognition. They have fewer genes for innate immunity, detoxifying enzymes and gustatory receptors, but more genes for odor receptors (mine detection) and nectar and pollen utilization. The genes for royal jelly appear to have made evolution of sociality possible. Novel micro RNA has been found and via population genetics the origin of Apis in Africa has been confirmed.

Finally the genes for group decision making are being identified (swarming). This includes finding new homes via scouts and following dancers with higher probability, rather like a democracy.

He then introduced Dr. Robert Page as the keynote speaker, who provided the audience with a resume of 18 years (31 generations) of high vs. low pollen hoarding. From this research has come an enormous base of information by comparing high pollen hoarding bees and observing their interactions. These bees store more pollen, collect more pollen, forager earlier (not expected), collect nectar with lower sugar concentration, even water (not expected) and are more successful foragers (not expected). This was matched up with wild bees and the phenotypic architecture (QTL maps) has been studied (at least 4 QTLs).

Other presentations featured introduction of Apis mellifera into Australia (Trevor Weatherhead), the debate about how Apis bees interact/compete with native bees (Norman Carreck), Apis melliera capensis and larval queen selection (Peter Neumann), absconding and swarming in Africanized honey bees (Lionell Goncalves).

Dr. Wolfgang Ritter presided over a bee health seminar in the afternoon, which included information about diseases and pests in general, American foulbrood (Michael Hornitzky), overview of EU regulations (Emma Soto), the European working group on Animal Health (Antonio Nanneti).

The evening was billed as a cultural event, with Gail Robinson, a beekeeper’s wife and story teller, as master of ceremonies. She introduced the Yarra Yarra dancers doing the Werundjeri people’s greeting and smoking ceremony (actually created fire on stage via friction), the Bushdrovers Band (Waltzing Matilda), Cameron Bawden the whip cracker and the Australian Girls Choir.

Dinner this evening was at Lucky Chan after a cruise through the Crown Casino, the biggest in the southern hemisphere. Drizzling most of the day, tomorrow the front is due to be gone and the sun hopefully returns.

Monday, September 10, 2007

First Day of Congress

Day 6: A breakfast at the local McDonalds. It has breakfast food, including the ubiquitous Weetbix and also some berry cereal with milk, which are different. I also have thick toast advertised as from Australian wheat. The plastic spoons have a specific shape apparently so they can be used in flurries. We can’t understand the waitress, who we find is from New Zealand. The sitting place in the restaurant is almost outdoors, surrounded by glass panes that are not connected to each other. There are also outdoor heaters, which radiate heat down on customers.

I attend two symposia this day. One on bee health is chaired by Dr. Wolfgang Ritter, who began by speaking about the Organization of International Epizoites OIE (name changed to World Animal Health Organization) which has taken on a larger role in recent times due to the activities of the World Trade Organization. I discuss with Dr. Ritter the administration of OIE in Paris. He has little information, but gives me an e-mail address. I am left wondering how this fits with U.S. regulatory efforts and administration. Dr. Ritter assures me the U.S. is a member, but I am left wondering who really pays the bill and why.

The symposia features talks on a new media for Paenbacillus l. spores, which can be used perhaps to develop better screening techniques (Steve Pernel, Canada. Page 179) and three presentations by personnel at the Australian National University (Page.209). These discussed characterizing the microorganisms in the gut of the honey bee and how they coorelated with chalkbrood incidence. Especially interesting was the inhibition (and actual mechanism found) for inhibition of the chalkbrood fugus by the Pseudomonas bacterium strain AN5 (genetically marked by a jelly fish green florescence protein). This leads to the conclusion that the more bacteria in a bee gut, the less chance of the chalkbrood fungus growing; in addition, gluconic acid (also produced by the Pseudomonas bacterium strain AN5) inhibits chalkbrood and since it is used in many other animal applications, there should be no problem using it on bees from a regulatory standpoint. Also reported were herbal remedies for the Thai sacbrood virus found in Apis cerana (a real problem in India, killing up to 95 percent of colonies), Portuguese studies showing amitraz resistance by Varroa, and a Chinese investigation showing that high larval hemolymph levels of micro elements (Zn and Hg) and free amino acids might be responsible for why Varroa destructor cannot reproduce on worker brood in Apis cerana.

In the afternoon a symposium chaired by Susan Cobey at the University of California, Davis brought together discussions of the utility of instrumental insemination, cryopreservation of sperm and breeding programs in Turkey, Slovenia, Argentina, USA and France. This was capped off by remarks from Martin Braunstein on the current situation surrounding bee regulations and the proposal by my self and Martin of The Global Bee Breeders Initiative.
Later we attended the French night, billed as food, music and by invitation only. We find out it really is almost an advertisement for the 2009 Apimondia to meet in Montpellier, France. Obviously, a way to drum up business for the next congress, which one wag said would change Apimondia to Hapimondia.

Arrival Melbourne

Day 5 - We board the bus after breakfast at the Motel Nirebo on the banks of the Murray River and begin the last day of the tour. About an hour out we meet up with Craig Scott, a local first-generation beekeeper who runs about 1,100 hives for both pollination and honey production. The pollination is mostly for fruits and seed production (onion, alfalfa or Lucerne) and rental is about AU$ 60/colony. He runs a palletized operation, moving bees within about a 3 hour radius for pollination and about a 5 hour one for honey production.

Mr. Scott is Mr January on the 2008 Beekeeper’s Calendar, a series of almost full monte naked beekeepers, ranging from their 20s to 80s. He runs Caucasian Queen– Italian drone crosses and does most of his queen production himself and requeens every year most of his colonies. The resultant stock is very gentle something most of those on the tour from America can appreciate, especially those running close to African bee country in the tropics of North, Central and South America. I realize that temperament has really been compromised in the U.S. over the years since Varroa. Again, looking at Australian beekeeping is like going back in time to a much different beekeeping that prevailed before Varroa.

The honey production in this region, Golden Valley environs, would be the envy of beekeepers anywhere. Basically there is some kind of flow on all year around; the management is to move a truckload of empty supers to a yard that has just finished a flow, take off the supers and return for extraction; then take the empties back on a sort of rotation scheduled based on flow. Supers can be filled usually on a four-week rotation. There is a bout a t 140 kilogram/colony average yield. Honey is put into 250 Kg plastic barrels or the 1000 liter plastic bulk container that appears to be ubiquitous and used by Capilano, Australia’s large packer.

Near the city of Shepparton we visit an orchard of the Corboy Fresh Fruit, a huge operation with many hectares of stone fruits, apples, pears. The young fellow who orients us is extremely knowledgeable. The place has compute controlled drip irrigation and we see several ways of putting fruit on a trellis, some result in a much more dense planting, requiring more bees. Bees are put at the end of the rows. A surprise is the picking labor. It turns out this is by what are called “backpackers,” from Asia and Europe. Young folks get AU$ 14.84/hour, also working by the piece, for which they also get their visa extended. Australia has very strict immigration laws and doesn’t allow people to stay very long. On arrival Melbourne, I see a sign at a youth hostel advertising “guaranteed” work for backpackers.

A nice lunch at the Belstack Tourism Complex and strawberry farm features both beef and chicken, under a large stand of red river gum trees, which are perhaps known as the premier Australia honey plant. Also called a “widow maker” because many a camper under these trees has died due to branches falling on them, especially in frosty weather.
Back on the bus we depart for Melbourne along the Riverine plain. This changes to the last remnants of the Great Dividing Range prior to entering Melbourne and thus some hills with a change toward more “urban” environment. There is a nice panorama from the roadway as we approach the city on the bank of the Yarra River. We are the last to be dropped off at the Travel Lodge South Bank. A quick change of clothes then down the quay and across the bridge to the Convention Center.

Registration was a breeze, as we were pre registered. I get a black bag with a copy of the program and abstracts. This will be one of the banes of my existence as I like to find the abstract associated with each talk. It is difficult as all are simply put in the book in almost willy nilly with no alphabetical order, no index, not referring to any part of the program.

The opening ceremony is typical of most I have been to with the standing commission chairs seated on stage and a welcome by various dignitaries and the response by Asger Sogaard Jorgensen (Denmark). There is a homily to Dr. Silvestro Cannamela by the current Secretary-General Riccardo Jannoni-Sebastianini (Rome, Italy). In addition, there is a moment of silence for Eva Crane who died just three days before congress convened. Usually opening ceremonies have some kind of cultural demonstration, but that is scheduled for Tuesday night during this congress.

In bed by 9:30 as I am still suffering from jet lag and all that time on the bus. I sleep like a log, but am up early at 5:45 a.m. ready for the beginning of the congress.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Canberra to Echuca

Day 4: A good breakfast at the Novotel then a quick trip down to the Internet shop next door before boarding the bus to leave Canberra. We do about 100 km to Gundagai where Paul Mann boards the bus to take us to Sticky Knob, his extracting facility on the top of a knob outside of the city. He runs 1,500 hives for honey and pollination using standard equipment, trucks and forklifts and bobcats, moving bees in about a 300 mile radius. He makes the observation that queens last twice as long (over 3 years in some cases) in the mountains than in the coast (yearly requeening necessary), a consequence of nutrition available and humidity levels. He has gone to a galvanized steel pallet, with integrated bottom board, which he says has been quite successful in keeping colonies drier leading to more productivity. The old wooden ones soaked up the moisture. The New Zealander on the trip Franz Laas says that his open bottom boards have also contributed to better health of his bees, even though he not been challenged by Varroa as yet on the South Island. We also visit Mr. Mann’s brother’s place and manipulate a few hives. EFB mentioned as a manageable problem here as is small hive beetle at the moment. 75% of the honey comes from the introduced week, Patterson’s Curse, an introduced weed difficult to control. The nectar sometimes has such a low moisture content that it will not pour out of a jar.

Several things are discussed. The large number of kanagroos, shooting 40-50 a night makes no dent in the population, which controls its population by managing abortion rates and moving the young quickly into and out of the pouch to make room for others or even stopping development entirely The road kill here is intense and the beekeepers’ trucks are fitted with large bumpers to keep from being damaged and this even extends to armor protection over the windshields. Discussion of gun control; it is almost impossible to get a permit to buy a gun; although he had a gun for years, one year the permit license was not renewed and it was lost forever. Bees on public lands in the reserves are no longer permitted. Farmers in general have been driven out of the parks. The did care for the land, but now there is none and it is being overrun with the bad kind of dingo dog, kangaroos and too much timber is allowed to pile up as a fire hazard. See conclusions of the land management folks, In addition, the H&S (health and safety) laws are putting the squeeze on farmers. They have many of the same complaints as folks in the U.S. have about OSHA

We board the bus to visit the tourist attraction, known as Dog on the Tucker Box. A small statue of a dog on top of a food box is a homily to the pioneers who carried their food with them in boxes.

We have another long way to go into the town of Wagga Wagga (words are repeated to show number—the more repeated words, the more connoted in aboriginal language),_New_South_Wales

. We begin to move out of the western foot hills of the Great Dividing Range into the Riverine area associated with the Murrumbidgee River.

We see mixed vegetation turn to a flat river plane. Associated with this is the shift in bird life, from sulfur crested cockatoos to the reddish galah (crimson). As the land becomes more irrigated and we see large fields of canola then rice, laughing kookaburras become more prevalent, as they are in the kingfisher group and so attracted to natural and human waterways. We also see crested pigeon and doves on the ground along with flocks of cockatoos and the odd emu (wild population here). There is also many sheep in both habitats, making the pastures look like they have been mowed. Historically, this is the heart of the wool industry.

We motor through the Riverine passing by small hamlets, moving toward our destination, Echuca on the Murray River. The River was the lifeblood of the region and Mark Twain called it the Australian Mississippi when he visited. With rail and truck traffic and the upper reaches transformed by irrigation, it is now a favorite tourist destination Thus, our trip features a trip on the Pride of Murray

complete with dinner. I manage to get up into the wheelhouse, about as close as a modern guy can get to the halcyon days when the paddleboats ruled this region. You can also join the Murray River Club and purchase your own boat if you wish

Discussions on the coach about other topics associated with the Murray River:

Murray Cod, a native top predator is endangered due to habitat destruction. This fish can be long lived and very big, well over 80 lbs. Australian bit of lore, the Murray Cod is so big it can only turn around at the confluence of rivers where the width is appropriate. Then there’s the European Carp, which one web site calls a misnomer, This is European in the sense that it’s an Asian fish introduced to Europe and then via humans, Australia. Dubbed the “rabbit of the river”, it is associated with degradation of the riverine environment, causing vegetational decal and oxygen deprivation. Trees fall into river closing them down. What was once a clear flowing river has become impassible. As one web site declares: But are carp the villians or just one of the many syptoms being displayed by our stressed rivers. Are carp a scapegoat for 200 years of inappropriate river management, or are they one of the prime causes of degradation in our rivers?”

Friday, September 7, 2007

Day 3 – We finally leave Sydney, under the cross city tunnel, which has an interesting history all its own. Apparently many of the residents refuse to use it and the private company that built it went bust. It is very long and spits one out onto the airport road. From here we climb onto the coastal range, which is very old and had a table on top. It provides somewhat of a rain shadow for the interior. We journey through mixed farm land, climbing through forests of eucalyptus, seeing the occasional magpie and every once in a while a cockatiel. There are several varieties. Also Ian our tour guide discusses the birds in his back yard, honey eaters, which are adapted to eat pollen. Fed normal birdseed they become ill as they do if a lot of honey is added to their diet; they are nectar feeders in the wild. I find out that there are no hummingbirds here, so the honey eaters apparently take their place. Every once in a while we see an Australian kestrel hunting along the road way. It is difficult to bird watch in a rolling bus. We will end the day at the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) Discovery Center in Canberra and find an exhibit, which provides good information on birds, according to habitat where each species is likely to be found and their song

A short stop at a roadway concession and then 130 km to Weerona Apiaries in Sutton. Here three generations of beekeepers (the Bingleys) run a family business, which has been in existence since the 1950s. This is classic commercial beekeeping outfit, which sells all of its honey in bulk, mostly to Capilano, one of Australia’s large packers. The honey goes out the door in large plastic containers in metal cages in 1400 kilogram lots. We are told the outfit runs 7 – 800 colonies, which raises a few eyebrows (there is discussion that perhaps we heard wrong—others think it as 1300 colonies. Nevertheless, there are so few colonies compared to commercial outfits in the rest of the world, because the yields are historically high per colony, an average of 400 kilograms, over 800 pounds per colony.

The extracting room holds an expensive extracting line that throughputs 400 supers a day. The extraction line contains a hot water heat exchanger to ensure the honey flows through the line (this is a temperate area and can be cold as we are at the present time). We also see a kind of portable hot room, a box that is put over several stacks of supers to heat them prior to going to the extracting line. The small number of colonies allows for much attention to be put on equipment, which I call Cadillac equipment, supers soaked in copper napthenate then painted inside and out with oil-based paint. Frames wired diagonally as well as horizontally. Again, a lot of attention can be put on these basics due to the honey yield.

However, the last good year here was a few years back and right now the long drought is making the Eucalypts look pretty sad. This is a typical boom and bust outfit that lives on its financial and intellectual capital built up over a long period of time, which can afford to loose money due to poor yields over a several year period and get it back quickly in a good season.

Questions about disease problems. The biggest is European foulbrood (EFB), which crops up now and then and can exist at high levels. This classic stress disease may be exhibiting itself as the Bingleys are continually moving their bees and in essence have a year-around operation with brood in a temperate area; there is no down time for the bees as they are continually trucked. They don’t use TM for EFB, nor fumigillin for nosema due to potential contamination problems; again no broodless period. American foulbrood crops up now and then; cases are quickly burned. The reason that no honey products and no bees can be moved to West Australia is because there is no EFB in West Australia and they don’t want it. Each state has its own apiary inspection service, like the U.S. and Canada (provinces) and the rules are therefore set by these entities. West Australia has a great natural barrier, the great desert and nullabor plane that separates it from the rest of the country.

According to the Bingleys one of the big changes they have seen is that queens, which used to last a year and a half are now lasting less than a year, perhaps because of environmental changes and the type of management, which is pushing colonies to their limit, exacerbated by drought. Another change is that canola has become a crop of interest in the last 15 years, which allows bees to build up earlier due to pollen availability from that crop.

After this visit its off to lunch. Billed as a typical Aussie pub lunch, lasagna, chicken in peanut sauce don’t seem to ring true, although the place, Gundaroo Pub, has been in continuous operation since 1872.

Another 100 km up the road, we come to Canberra, the Australian capitol, built as a compromise when Sydney and Melbourne could not agree on a place to construct the governmental center. This is a designed town by an American architect and is now is almost totally inhabited by urban bureaucrats. It features the Australian War Memorial and other exhibits and is the center for CSIRO. At the Entomology Discovery Center we meet up with a group of Koreans and are briefed by the head of the Division of Entomology (one of the oldest divisions in CSIRO, established in 1928) before being turned over to Drs. Denis Anderson and Ian East.

Dr. Anderson discussed the role of pollination and its value (globally AU$ 37-92 billion; U.S. AU$ 14 billion, Australia AU$ 60-78 million). His research, mostly carried out in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Indonesia, where he has found a complex of Varroa mites, each specifically adapted to a specific variant of Apis cerana. Only two (the Japanese and Korean haplotype) reproduce and adversely affect Apis mellifera, and called Varroa destructor. The Korean haplotype appears to be the result of a cloning situation, a single female mite, which created a whole line of mites that can exist and reproduce on Apis mellifera. He is looking for the switch that allows some Varroa to reproduce on Apis mellifera. If he can find this, it might lead to a way to control the mites now affecting the beekeeping of the world, except Australia. He is pursuing similar research on another mite found on Apis cerana, Tropilaelaps clareae.

Ian Smith is working with regulators to ensure that Varroa is not introduced into Australia. In addition, the introduction of Apis cerana is always a possibility. There is more and more evidence that out of its environment cerana could become a devastating problem for beekeeping with mellifera bees; it might be far more invasive and problematic than previously thought. There are three lines of defense, ship inspection, sentinel hives at ports of entry and bee inspection by regulators and beekeepers. Several incursions by cerana have already been discovered and eradicated.

Questions about small hive beetle and research at CSIRO. There is little on SHB, which has not been determined to be much of a problem, but has been declared indemic to the country and cannot be eradicated. Another question concerning the recent news that a strain of virus from Israel has been identified as coming from Australian packages shipped into the U.S. and is a reason for colony collapse disorder (CCD) in the U.S. Dr. Anderson indicated that he is preparing a rebuttal to the paper in Science reporting this phenomenon.

Back on the bus, we head up to Mt. Ainslie, which provides a great view of Canberra. We also go by the War Memorial and see several kangaroos on the hillside along with a gaggle of rabbits. We return to the city and check into the Novotel for the night and are in bed by 9:00 p.m. It has been a long day.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Day 2 - Sydney and Environs

Day 2 – : A full day beginning with a hearty breakfast just off Liverpool street. The little restaurant had some problems because they are not set up for over sixty people the show up and be served a la carte from a menu of several breakfasts.. Tomorrow, they will change their mode of operation. They will open earlier and the same breakfast will be served to all.

We depart Sydney on the coach for Belgenny Farm, the birthplace of Australian agriculture, established in 1805 by John and Elizabeth Macarthur. It was based on convict labor and pioneered production of wool (Merino sheep), wheat, dairy products, horticulture and grapes. It is currently almost a museum but has been converted into a meeting place, with buildings walled in glass to produce a semi-outdoor setting for lectures and meetings, especially weddings. It also features special commemorative days, including Australia Day (January 26) Mother’s Day, The rum rebellion (last Sunday in June), Farm Sunday and the music, food and wine festival. The research institute is named after Elizabeth Macarthur and it is located on Elizabeth Macarthur Ave. Apparently, the place is named after Ms. Macarthur as she was the inspiration for it.

It is now part of the New South Wales Dept. of Primary Industries or DPI (formerly) department of agriculture). The reason the bee event was held at Belgenny Farm is because the DPI is in an uproar at present due to detection Equine Influenza, which has caused most movement of horses to stop and a team of scientists and regulators to determine where to go next (eradicate or “live with it”).

The same was true for detection of small hive beetle in 2002 and the “live with it” decision was made. The insect was spread due to the current drought, which caused much more bee movement around the state and country. The beetle research in area by entomologists is showing some results, similar to those in other areas where the beetle was introduced. So, there are studies on ground drenching, trapping and using chemical control.. A presentation revealed that a aluminum-foil-covered cardboard insert treated with insecticide would be a good control measure; at present the material fipronil is the active ingredient that seems most promising. There are discussions with Bayer about supporting the development of a product, however, it will be slow going since this kind of technology could be easily compromised by creative beekeepers as has happened in the past..

Other research reported on treatment options for European foulbrood and the use of the polymerase chain reaction to see what variants of Nosema apis are found in Australia. So far no Nosema ceranae has been reported.

Other research reported on treatment options for European foulbrood and the use of the polymerase chain reaction to see what variants of Nosema apis are found in Australia. So far no Nosema ceranae has been reported.

Lunch at the nearby golfcourse featured chicken or beef, regular potatoes, squash, corn and beans finished with trifle. There are many golf courses in Australia; the demand is principally from Japan where very few exist and are expensive to play. Relatively speaking Japanese can get economical, easy access to this popular past time in their country where excess land is extremely scarce.

After lunch it was off to see Blue Mountain Honey, a family owned place run by a previous pastry chef who has taken this skill and applied it to honey products. He has taken spices and flavors like cinnamon and boysenberry and added them to honey. He has also developed his own method for making a creamed honey. His shop contains many types of local honey that are unifloral in source. Of particular interest is that of Patterson’s Curse, an introduced weed responsible for the death of horses in this country. Another twist. We tried to buy honey to take to friends in Perth who are hosting us only to find out that honey cannot be sent to the state of Western Australia due to quarantine laws. If we want to give honey to folks in Western Australia, it must be purchased in the state.

We then visited a local queen bee breeder, Pat Carol, to see his operation. This is where the tour operators reveal themselves as unfamiliar with visiting beekeeping operations and tours. Many of us debarked the bus with no veils and wearing plaid and flannel shirts and were unceremoniously ushered into a bee yard, which also had two large dogs ambling about. No smoke was in evidence should any trouble from defensive bees develop. Fortunately, the bees were gentle and no stinging incident occurred. Clearly this beekeeper is quite small scale (2,500 queens per year), but he is ramping up his operation as there is boom on in beekeeping, along with other commodities, and a strong demand for queens, exacerbated by packages being shipped to the U.S. for the first time. He will have plenty of room to grow and could probably have learned a lot by spending more time with one guy on the tour, one of the world’s largest queen producers, Gus Rouse of Kona Queen Company.

Seat Belt Use: My partner found that the bus (coach) we are on has seat belts for all passengers. It turns out that in Australia since 1995, all passengers and drivers are required to use seat belts. The fine for not doing so is AU $250.00.

The day finished with the obligatory Sydney Harbor cruise. The Captain Cook, a three decker, picked us up at Darling Harbor Kings Pier Number 1, and we put out into the main harbor. The dinner was excellent and there was live music aboard. We sailed back and forth under the Sydney Harbor Bridge with its APEC sign, welcoming the dignitaries. The major attractions were the famed Opera House and a fully lit amusement park, Coney Island? of Sydney? Many police boats in evidence for the APEC; that evening we hear of the prank where a group of comedians, one dressed as Osama Bin Laden breached the multi-million dollar security system, arriving in a black limo at the foot of George W. Bush’s door.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Day 1 Sydney. It was a long flight (14 hours) from Los Angeles to Sydney, and that was after a 5-hour wait in the Los Angeles airport, after a 4 hour flight from Atlanta (2 hour wait) and 1.5 hour flight beginning in Gainesville.

The security people have really turned the Los Angeles airport into a problem; to go from terminal to terminal you have to do security all over again, including removing shoes and belt buckle. I cannot recommend LAX due to this situation.

In Sydney we decided to take a cab given our luggage, AU $35 (US $.79) to 8 Quest on Dixon, Darlington Harbor. This is billed as one of the economy hotels in Sydney. The place is good, right near the Darlington Harbor that features a walk around a small park, the tourist Centre (free maps, information) the IMAX theater and Aquarium with Wildlife Show attached. We had a head and shoulders massage Chinese style (AU $15 each) to help get the kinks out. We also ate Korean noodles (watch the piquant sauce) and took a tourist train ride during a small shower. Saw a couple of interesting birds, one that looked like a Florida Ibis, but bigger with a black rump.

While attending “Sounds of the Outback,” an original musical presentation at Darling Harbor featuring a guy playing some huge didjeridoos, we learned that the name is not aboriginal in origin, but came from Europeans coining a name that mimicked the music. The instrument was born, according to the musician, when aborigines discovered a hollow eucalyptus filled with a native bee nest. The buzz of the bees, amplified by the hollow log, apparently gave rise to the idea that it could be used as a musical instrument.

After a small nap we joined the tour in the hotel lobby (the other group is staying somewhat further away in the Marriott). We are 64 total; originally capped at 42, the tour has increased about 30 percent. It is a two language tour, Spanish (Mexicans, Chileans, Spaniards) and English (U.S., UK, Sweden and Denmark). We repaired to the Spanish pub (bottle shop) up Liverpool Street and found it to be very much like the Centro Asturiano in Tampa, complete with flamenco guitar and Argentine Tango dance instruction.

Mr. Kees Von Haastern provided an introduction. Wine and beer was served along with squid, shrimp, meatballs (albondigas) and salad (bread). He provided the outline for tomorrow’s session. The biggest headache is the extreme security as George Bush and other world leaders are here for Apec and traffic is rerouted, streets are closed and the opera house where the meeting is taking place barricaded with barbed wire. The benefit to this is that the city is much quieter than normal as local folks have decided to take these days off.

Our Australian beekeeper host welcomed the group and gave a quick overview of beekeeping in New South Wales. 4,500 beekeepers, producing 30,000 tons of honey and pollinating several crops. Major honey source is the various Eucalypts. Few young people entering the business. Most beekeepers are migratory. The queen industry has been given a boost by beginning to export queens to the U.S. Quarantine station in place (we visit it tomorrow). About 1,300 folks have registered for Apimondia at the current time, about an average turnout, but more appear to be coming each day.

We left the pub and went to the main market and there found a bank of computers, an in-mall cyber cafe (No café). AU $2/hour. In the hotel the Internet service is around AU $6/ hour. I bought some yogurt at Coles grocery store, huge and right in the down town Sydney mall.

Tomorrow we begin early with a 6:45 a.m. breakfast, leaving on the bus at 7:50 a.m. .

We left the pub and went to the main market and there found a bank of computers, an in-mall cyber cafe (No café). AU $2/hour. In the hotel the Internet service is around AU $6/ hour. I bought some yogurt at Coles grocery store, huge and right in the down town Sydney mall.

Tomorrow we begin early with a 6:45 a.m. breakfast, leaving on the bus at 7:50 a.m. .

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Leaving the United States

It has been a long day! I am now seated in the Los Angeles airport with an hour to go before taking off on Quantas 108 for sydney. The trip across the country was uneventful. I had some reservations that delays were possible due to weather or other kinds of delays, but that has not been the case. My major complaint so far is the design of the Los Angeles airport termina, where one if forced to exit security to change terminals and then have to go through the arduous process again fifteen minutes later.

I will be experimenting on this trip, 13 hours to Australia, with taking melatonin. We will see how this operates. More later as they are calling my flight at this time for boarding.