A good pdf-editor I like; maybe you need one too

I’ve been working with computers, Mac and PC, for many years, using them for making journals among other things, using graphic, photo and layout applications primarily. This blog though is dealing with beekeeping issues and normally nothing else. But I’ll make an exception this time.

I and a former colleague with my former employer have made a revision of a book of 350 pages in Swedish about beekeeping, Boken om biodling (The Book about Beekeeping). I helped trying to fix a proper way of updating the pdf printing file for the book.

The original layout file was made with Adobes InDesign. But that file wasn’t available. Only the pdf printing file. We thought that Adobes application Acrobat would do the job.

Some of the fonts in the pdf-file were present in our computers, some were not. Acrobat reflow the text in several places even with the fonts present in the computer, making the text longer. This would make the job unnecessarily laborious. And the fonts not present on the computer made the problem still worse.

I began searching for alternatives and found some, mostly for Windows but also for Mac. Everyone of them had drawbacks when it came to editing the text and/or changing pictures or pricing. It’s common today with pdf type of files. And from time to time it will be a need for small or bigger changes in such a file. I want to give a good alternative. It’s not free, but it’s the best I’ve tried for editing pdf-files, taken in account the different pro and cons.

This application does the job easily, Infix Pro (http://www.iceni.com/). Works with both Mac and PC. It’s like working in a layout application.. Even if the font isn’t on the computer Infix does the job nicely anyway. If you want to replace an inbedded font which is not present on the computer to one that is, it’s easily done, on all places in the document at the same time.

You easily connect text on different pages which all belongs to the same article. This makes the text reflow nicely when needed. You can easily replace or place new pictures. And Iceni has a very good support team which helps you quick eough when you need help.

Struggles for the survival of honey bees


SB is a relatively new and dedicated beekeeper in southern Germany. She is interested in different kinds of bees and their place in the ecological system. I asked her to tell her story and her struggles helping her bees to survive and thrive on their own as much as possible without chemicals. She writes:

After watching wild bees for some years I wanted to have honeybees and took lessons given by an organic beekeeper. In the year 2014 I bought my first colony from him. It was a Carnica cross on natural comb, built by the bees without the help of wax foundation. They had been treated with oxalic and formic acid against the varroa. But they were sick anyway!

S Natural comb My first colony was a Carnica (Carniolan) colony on natural comb.

I tried to find a way out of this chemical strategy that seemingly didn’t help. I got some information on internet and started watching how bees defend themselves against illnesses. I don’t want to have them close to other bees. I tried to help them with sugar powder dusting to rid them of the mites sitting on bees. After treatment with formic acid in summer, they had a natural downfall of 30 mites per day. After sugaring the whole hive ten times with 2 days in between the natural downfall of mites were 5 per day. This involved a lot of work and still didn’t do the job. The bees had chalk brood too!

I measured cell size on their natural comb. It was 5.0 mm in the brood area, 5.4 in food area and drone cells began at 5.6. All honey was taken when harvested, so they lived on sugar syrup for a long time of the year. They died in february 2015, not having enough bees to warm the hive!

S AMM queen The AMM queen

I had found some contacts through internet and was able to get 4 hives in 2015 which weren`t treated with chemicals for some years. One was of the dark bee Apis mellifera mellifera (AMM) , three were Carnica (Carniolans). I made some splits and wintered 3 of the AMM origin and 5 of the Carnica origin.

The former owner had a crisis being the victim of a migratory beekeeper whose hives most probably caused reinfestation bringing a lot of mites into his hives. He overcame this crisis combining the weakest of his hives, so they became strong enough to defend themselves. Some survived. In some of these he introduced a AMM variety of queens that had a reputation of being more resistant.

My aim was to follow Dee Lusby`s in Arizona way of beekeeping as much as possible (http://beesource.com/point-of-view/dee-lusby). Using small cell foundation, leaving with the bees enough honey for food, using so called housel position of the combs, what she calls unlimited broodnest and using no treatment (if possible).

S Carnicas Now I have 11 colonies and high hopes.

All 8 hives survived winter, but in spring 2016 I had to eliminate one of them because its bees were too susceptible to virus (another than DWV). I have made some splits and have now in May 11 hives and high hopes. The bees are my teachers. I want them to survive.

S hygienic The AMM I have are showing hygienic behaviour against mites in the brood. Now I have seen it also in my Carniolan crossings (the picture).

I don’t do drone brood cutting as I want the mite to continue being a drone parasite in first place and not a worker bee parasite. I’m happy to see more and more of hygienic behavior against the mite, also in drone brood. Now also in the Carniolan crossings.

At last I want to quote Kirk Webster (http://kirkwebster.com):

“Beekeeping now has the dubious honor of becoming the first part of our system of industrial agriculture to actually fall apart. Let’s stop pretending that something else is going on. We no longer have enough bees to pollinate our crops. Each time the bees go through a downturn, we respond by making things more stressful for them, rather than less – we move them around more often, expose them to still more toxic substances, or fill the equipment up again with more untested and poorly adapted stock. We blame the weather, the mites, the markets, new diseases, consumers, the Chinese, the Germans, the (fill in your favorite scapegoat), other beekeepers, the packers, the scientific community, the price of gas, global warming – anything rather than face up to what’s really happening. We are losing the ability to take care of living things.”

We are at big risk losing the ability to take care of living things. Thank you everyone who is helping me to improve myself as a beekeeper.