Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Algeria: Precursor to Iraq

Intelligence is recognizing patterns where others see chaos, and then taking appropriate action in response to those patterns. This article provides insights into the patterns in the global Islamic insurgency.

From "Arab News": The Middle East's Leading English Language Daily
Saturday, 15, January, 2005 (04, Dhul Hijjah, 1425)
Algerian Lessons for Iraq by Amir Taheri
Earlier this month Algerian security forces tracked down and captured Nureddin Boudiafi after a nine-week hunt and five days of intense fire-fights in the woods near the capital Algiers.
Wonder who Boudiafi is and why his capture merits attention?
Well, the man was the leader of the Islamic Armed Group (GIA), the deadliest of terrorist gangs that have shed Algerian blood, killing over 150,000 people, since 1992.
Boudiafi described himself as Emir Al-Momeneen or “Prince of the Faithful”, and issued fatwas (religious edicts) sentencing anyone he didn’t like to death. He had seized control of the group last July after staging a coup against the then “emir”, a certain Rashid Abu-Turab, who had had an equally black record of mischief and murder. Both men had been graduates of the school of terror set up by the so-called “Arab Afghans” in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and belonged to the same movement that produced Osama Bin Laden and Abu-Mussab Al-Zarqawi, the “emir” of the Sunni terrorists in Iraq.
So, why is Boudiafi’s capture significant?
One reason, for starters, is that the capture establishes firmly that the terror groups are now on the run, pursued by the Algerians security.
This was not always the case.
For more than 10 years the terrorists held the initiative, attacking where and when they wished, forcing the government’s forces into a defensive posture.
The terrorists specialized in mass killings. In Bin Talha, a suburb of the capital Algiers, for example, they cut the throats of some 800 people, mostly women and children, in a single night. They also targeted the ordinary personnel of the army and the police, in the hope of discouraging young Algerians from enlisting in government forces.
The Algerian terrorists never came up with anything resembling a political program. They just killed people. They killed children on their way to school. They chopped the heads of Christian monks and Muslim muftis. They murdered trade unionists, political leaders, and journalists. They captured teenage girls and forced them into temporary marriages with “the holy warriors.” They seized hostages, burned schools and hospitals, blew up factories and shops, and did all they could to disrupt the economy. At times they pulled off spectacular coups, for example by murdering the country’s president, and its most prominent trade union leader.
The terrorist campaign had started in the mid-1980s with a bandit, named Mustafa Bu-Ali, wreaking havoc in the environs of the capital. By 1990, however, the terrorists and their political allies had established themselves as a force in national politics. In 1991 they came close to winning power with a mixture of violence and electoral fraud. By 1992, however, they had reverted to a strategy of murder and mayhem.
They pursued two objectives.
The first was to destroy the Algerian Army by killing as many recruits as they could in the hope that this would provoke masse desertions.
The second was to prevent the holding of any elections.
“Democracy means the rule of the people ,” Antar Zu’abri, one of the most notorious of the terrorist chiefs, killed in action in the 1990s, liked to say. “Those who want the rule of the people defy the rule of God, which is Islam.”
By 1994 the terrorists seemed to be close to victory. At least, Francois Mitterrand, France’s president at the time, thought so. In a statement he said Paris was prepared to work with an “Islamic” regime in Algiers.
At least four provinces and parts of the capital Algiers were deemed too dangerous for government forces to enter. On some occasions the terrorists demonstrated their strength by engaging government forces in big battles, including one in Jijel which involved both the Algerian Navy and Air Force. Visiting Algiers in March 1994 I was struck by the mood of doom and gloom at almost every level of government. European ambassadors confided their fear that the terrorists might seize power at any time.
A segment of the elite was urging negotiations with the terrorists, which meant discussing terms of surrender.
After a long moment of tergiversation in which the Algerian leaders did not know quite how to deal with the threat, they stumbled on a strategy almost by instinct.
They soon realized that the terrorists lacked a significant popular base. But it was also clear that a majority of Algerians had adopted a wait-and-see attitude, hating the terrorists in secret but too frightened of them to make a clear stand against them in public.
The key, therefore, was to mobilize the “silent majority” to demonstrate the isolation of the terrorists. The most effective way to do that was to hold elections.
Few people are prepared to die, and even fewer are willing to kill in support of their political opinions. But almost everyone is ready to vote.
The task of a civilized society is to render the expression of political opinions easy. The terrorists made it difficult because they demanded of the people to kill and die.
The Algerian leaders decided to make it easy by asking the people to vote.The turning point came in 1995 when Algeria organized its first ever pluralist and direct presidential election.
This is was not an ideal election. The candidates were little known figures that had appeared on the national political scene just a couple of years earlier. None presented a coherent political program.
To make matters worse the terrorists did all they could to prevent the election. They burned down voter registration bureaus and murdered election officers. Masked men visited people in their homes and shops to warn that going to the polls would mean death.
And, yet, when polling day came it quickly became clear that the terrorists, in the forlorn attempt at stopping democracy, were, as in so many other instances in history, facing certain defeat. Never in my many years of journalism had I seen such enthusiasm for an electoral exercise anywhere in the world.
The “silent majority” spoke by casting ballots, not because it particularly liked any of the candidates but because it wanted to send a message to the terrorists that they had no place in Algeria.
That one election did not make Algeria a democracy.
Since then Algeria has held three more presidential and a dozen local and parliamentary elections. None of these exercises have been perfect, and Algeria may need dozens more elections, which means many more years, before it can achieve the standards set by mature democracies.
But the Algerian exercise has made one fact clear: The only way to defeat terrorism is by involving the mass of the people through elections.
Algeria was the first major Arab country to be attacked by Islamist terrorists on a large scale. It is also the first to defeat them.
The Algerian experience holds many lessons for Iraq today. The terrorist insurgents operating in Iraq pursue the same strategy as their Algerian colleagues in the 1990s. Zarqawi and other terror chiefs are also trying to disrupt elections while, by killing recruits, preventing the formation of an Iraqi national army. Copy-catting their Algerian counterparts, the terrorists in Iraq have also assassinated many high profile officials and politicians.
But like the Algerians, they, too, will learn that in a democracy no individual is indispensable.
Iraq’s first ever free election, scheduled for Jan. 30, will confront the terrorists with the people’s power just as Algeria did in 1995.
This is why it is vital that the election be held on time and in as many parts of the country as possible. Using elections to defeat terrorism could become the key to the future of several other Arab countries.
Copyright: Arab News © 2003 All rights reserved.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Macks and I are trying to communicate. Training/Learning is happening all the time and I'm hoping that the result will be a happy, well-adjusted dog who knows some actions that can be triggered by words or gestures. He is a willing subject, wanting to act in a way that gets approval. I am inconsistent, often unknowingly, and have other things to do that distract me from the time needed to work with him. I am facing the fact that this may be a longer term project than I expected
The agility training, with Vicki King, is interesting, and I suspect that Macks would be really good at it if I were to put the time in. There are people who devote their lives to this! I'm afraid that's not for me.
The obedience training, given by Dog Obedience Training Confederation of Lynchburg (DOTC), is also interesting. They will take you through to the competitive obedience trials. I can't see myself doing that either, though I wouldn't mind someone else working with Macks to do it. I have no ambition to go into the ring.
For ourselves, We really only want an obedient dog. Macks is low key enough for us, but we need to have him come when called, etc.
There are many ways of training, and all work, if you are consistent. Karla subscribes to the positive, behavior modification type training, especially using the clicker. This suits me, but I despair of accomplishing it.

Home Sweet Home

1/22/05 While the Midwest and Northeast get piles of snow, we have had frozen rain most of the day, and then some rain that froze. The birds were glad of the black oil sunflower seed I put out. Macks and I have been going out on the porch, but not in the ice. He has to be desperate to go out.
The boys, CC and buddies, brought the paper in when they were out in their 4x4 truck. They look so young and full of life... like puppies. It was very nice of them.
AB wrote that she had to vacate the apartment due to threat of flooding from a broken water pipe. They have had frequent (2-3 times a week) fire alarms, and this last one, in the snow, was caused by a burst pipe that flooded part of the building. When they got outside in the courtyard, they saw a waterfall coming out a balcony. The management told them all to get their valuables out and put them in their cars. AB was not flooded, though the hall had standing water. Her apartment is under a room that services the emergency sprinkler system and she's been hearing rumbling. She gave notice the next morning. The place has been under three or more owners and managements and the latest owners are planning to sell the apartments as condos. I hope the potential owners check it out thoroughly, since the problems have been continual for the past two years. I love the floor plans, but the builder must have shorted materials or workmanship to have so many problems.
CH is going to take Mother's stamp collection to a stamp show. Mother collected plate blocks and first day covers, but they all got wet when Hurricane Opal flooded the house. I was told that they were only worth their face value, but nothing more as a collection. I hope CH finds that they have some extra value.
We had a real sit-down dinner today, with baked chicken and lots of veggies. It was a real change, since we three usually fend for ourselves. I used to cook more frequently, and keep the refrigerator more stocked, but when I realized how much of the food I'd prepared got thrown out I backed off rather than fussing about no one eating. It saves money, time and slows my tendency to eat the food to keep it from going to waste. It goes to waste on my waist if I eat it. I no longer buy cookies, ice cream or sugared cereals. If it's here I will eat it. Sam loves all those things, but he is hoping to lose some weight and it'll sabotage his efforts if I keep it in the house
Susan, our 'slow' daughter, came home from an overnight at her brother David's. She was really glad to be back, and would have been iced in if she hadn't come home this morning. Going over there gives her a change of view. She spends most of her time sitting or lying in her room listening to her Uncle John's radio station. Her days are much the same: six cats going in and out and sleeping all around and the radio. She can't remember how to operate the VCR or TV and it irritates her to be shown too often. She is schizoaffective, and/or bipolar, and has about a 50 IQ. Mental age varies between 4 and 8, depending on mood and subject. She can read and write, but doesn't want to use her glasses. She also can work toward a goal, but like an 8 year old isn't aware that it may not be what she really wants. She is very conscious of her looks and my current project is to get her to change clothes only once a day. I was doing 3-4 loads a week of only her clothes until I focused on the fact that most weren't dirty. Now I'm down to 2-3 loads, but she's still changing a couple times some days. Since her moods swing so much in a day it is difficult to get a bad habit corrected. Luckily the anti-psychotics she is on now stabilize her mood better. When she has breakthroughs she will get weepy, whereas before she would get angry, threatening or abusive. She really wants to be a good girl.
I was so starved for exercise that I danced to country music while I was cooking dinner. Macks thought I wanted to play, and we did for a while, but I really needed the movement to loosen me up. I really need to get out some. I put the spikes on the Wellies, but it's such a hassle to get out when there's so much ice. I dread a broken wrist! My wrists hart and ache from arthritis already.
That's a good reason not to get chickens again, since I'd be going out to care for them each morning and night. They really aren't that much trouble, but I'd need to be here, since Sam is less steady on his feet and going out in the dusk is a bad time for him.
I think that one of the reasons I spend time inside when Sam is home is that I just want to be near him. Whether we're talking, or he's reading or watching TV, I just want to be close to him. Must love him, hunh.
I haven't heard from the Small Business Administration. I need to ring that bell Monday. I hope my application is still in their hopper. If not, we'll survive, but it would be better if I could borrow at their rates for a 30 year period.
Karla is trying to get me trained to train Macks. My assignment now is to 'charge the clicker'. That is getting the clicker associated with food in Macks mind. I did some sessions just clicking and feeding immediately after the sound. Macks likes this game. He got pretty good at it, but doesn't jump when I click, yet. We'll do more tomorrow.
Training Macks is interesting, fun and frustrating. He's such a willing dog, and I'm finding that it shows up all my inconsistencies. I am also badly out of shape

Friday, January 21, 2005

Musings on the articles posted below

I hope the articles posted today will give you additional insight to the current situation. I despair of uniting the country. Lincoln couldn't, even though the existence of the Union was at stake. He slogged on, believing in his principles and was re-elected by a slim margin.
Peggy Noonan's take on the Inaugural speech surprised me. She said it was too full of religion... she who stands for Mom & Apple Pie. She was Reagan's speechwriter. I thought it was a statement of the G. W. Bush worldview. He is a Born Again Christian. I agreed that the intro to the post-speech song was too long and almost dreary. I really enjoyed the choices of songs, which I was interested in, surprising myself. It was his party and he did it his way.
I suspect we will hear about the actions that Bush's worldview influences in the State of the Union address. How we'll pay for it is always a question. The gist of one of the comments I saw today was that we don't have the manpower in the military or the treasure in the bank to support our wants; just enough to act on our needs. Compromise is always the way of reality. I hope Bush veto's the egregious Pork Barrel spending, though: seventeen percent! Unconscionable
The article about Cowardly Europe is interesting. A glimmer of hope that they may be realizing what their situation really is. I will search out the info comparing Iraq to Algeria. It essentially says that elections have shown the insurgents in Algeria that the populous don't want them. It made the point that none of the elections were perfect, but they were the turning point of the conflict.
Personally, I resent having to spend our lives and GDP in Iraq. The alternative is worse. Trying to balance on the world-power tightrope was a path to more serious trouble down the road, and probably a larger conflict. We can't seal our borders, or seal ourselves from the world. When you look at Africa, you realize that the 'Tin Pot Tyrannys' and their corruption are sapping the world's resources. The wealthy world is sending its monies, but most is siphoned off by corruption. Until those in power in the underdeveloped countries start valuing their people as a resource they will stay undeveloped. Trace the rise of Korea, no great shakes in human kindness, or lack of corruption, but it saw its people as a resource and helped them get ahead. Given half a chance (micro-lending programs) people will make the most of their circumstances.


Matthias Dapfner, Chief Executive of the huge German publisher Axel Springer AG, has written a blistering attack in DIE WELT, Germany's largest daily newspaper, against the timid reaction of Europe in the face of the Islamic threat.

EUROPE - THY NAME IS COWARDICE (Commentary by Mathias Dapfner CEO, Axel Springer, AG)

A few days ago Henry Broder wrote in Welt am Sonntag, "Europe - your family name is appeasement." It's a phrase you can't get out of your head because it's so terribly true.
Appeasement cost millions of Jews and non-Jews their lives as England and France, allies at the time, negotiated and hesitated too long before they noticed that Hitler had to be fought, not bound to toothless agreements.
Appeasement legitimized and stabilized Communism in the Soviet Union, then East Germany, then all the rest of Eastern Europe where for decades, inhuman, suppressive, murderous governments were glorified as the ideologically correct alternative to all other possibilities.
Appeasement crippled Europe when genocide ran rampant in Kosovo, and even though we had absolute proof of ongoing mass-murder, we Europeans debated and debated and debated, and were still debating when finally the Americans had to come from halfway around the world, into Europe yet again, and do our work for us.
Rather than protecting democracy in the Middle East, European appeasement, camouflaged behind the fuzzy word "equidistance," now countenances suicide bombings in Israel by fundamentalist Palestinians.
Appeasement generates a mentality that allows Europe to ignore nearly 500,000 victims of Saddam's torture and murder machinery and, motivated by the self-righteousness of the peace-movement, has the gall to issue bad grades to George Bush... Even as it is uncovered that the loudest critics of the American action in Iraq made illicit billions, no, TENS of billions, in the corrupt U.N. Oil-for-Food program.
And now we are faced with a particularly grotesque form of appeasement... How is Germany reacting to the escalating violence by Islamic fundamentalists in Holland and elsewhere? By suggesting that we really should have a "Muslim Holiday" in Germany.
I wish I were joking, but I am not. A substantial fraction of our (German) Government, and if the polls are to be believed, the German people, actually believe that creating an Official State "Muslim Holiday" will somehow spare us from the wrath of the fanatical Islamists.
One cannot help but recall Britain's Neville Chamberlain waving the laughable treaty signed by Adolf Hitler, and declaring European "Peace in our time".
What else has to happen before the European public and its political leadership get it?
There is a sort of crusade underway, an especially perfidious crusade consisting of systematic attacks by fanatic Muslims, focused on civilians, directed against our free, open Western societies, and intent upon Western Civilization's utter destruction.
It is a conflict that will most likely last longer than any of the great military conflicts of the last century - a conflict conducted by an enemy that cannot be tamed by "tolerance" and "accommodation" but is actually spurred on by such gestures, which have proven to be, and will always be taken by the Islamists for signs of weakness.
Only two recent American Presidents had the courage needed for anti-appeasement: Reagan and Bush.
His American critics may quibble over the details, but we Europeans know the truth. We saw it first hand: Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War, freeing half of the German people from nearly 50 years of terror and virtual slavery. And Bush, supported only by the Social Democrat Blair, acting on moral conviction, recognized the danger in the Islamic War against democracy. His place in history will have to be evaluated after a number of years have passed.
In the meantime, Europe sits back with charismatic self-confidence in the multicultural corner, instead of defending liberal society's values and being an attractive center of power on the same playing field as the true great powers, America and China.
On the contrary - we Europeans present ourselves, in contrast to those "arrogant Americans", as the World Champions of "tolerance", which even (Germany's Interior Minister) Otto Schily justifiably criticizes. Why? Because we're so moral? I fear it's more because we're so materialistic, so devoid of a moral compass.
For his policies, Bush risks the fall of the dollar, huge amounts of additional national debt, and a massive and persistent burden on the American economy - because unlike almost all of Europe, Bush realizes what is at stake - literally everything.
While we criticize the "capitalistic robber barons" of America because they seem too sure of their priorities, we timidly defend our Social Welfare systems. Stay out of it! It could get expensive! We'd rather discuss reducing our 35-hour workweek or our dental coverage, or our 4 weeks of paid vacation... Or listen to TV pastors preach about the need to "reach out to terrorists. To understand and forgive".
These days, Europe reminds me of an old woman who, with shaking hands, frantically hides her last pieces of jewelry when she notices a robber breaking into a neighbor's house.
Appeasement? Europe, thy name is Cowardice.

Are We Losing the War in Iraq?

by John R. Brinkerhoff
The buzz around the Beltway is that we are losing the war in Iraq and will have to delay the elections and pull out our troops. Well, I don’t know if we are losing or winning, but I do know that if we quit we will lose. During a war, it is hard to know about winning or losing, for the fighting can continue long after the outcome has been decided. Judgments on when and how wars are won or lost are cannot be made by the participants at the time and can be made only after the fact by historians.
We know now that the climactic events of World War II occurred in 1942 when the Soviets won the Battle of Stalingrad against the Germans and the United States won the Battle of Midway against the Japanese. After these conclusive victories, the triumph of the Allied forces was certain. But since this was not obvious at the time, the forces fought on for three more years with thousands of casualties on both sides.
We know now that the climactic events of the United States Civil War occurred on the same day, July 4 1863, when General U.S. Grant captured Vicksburg and General George G. Meade’s Army of the Potomac rested after repulsing the Confederates at Gettysburg. After these battles, the triumph of the Federal forces was certain. But since this was not obvious at the time, the North and South fought on for two more years causing thousands of casualties on both sides and the devastation of the South.
These two examples deal only with military victory, but military victory is only part of winning a war. It is possible to win the battles and still lose the war from lack of will to win. In the case of World War II, the Soviets, the British, and the United States were determined to continue to fight until Germany and Japan surrendered unconditionally. In the case of the Civil War, the United States had the will to fight on to preserve the Union despite doubts about military victory and a terrible price paid in the blood of soldiers. The Civil War continued even though there was great sentiment in the North to stop the fighting and allow the Confederacy to become a separate government. Democrats wanted to end the fighting and were willing to allow the South to perpetuate slavery. In the election of 1864, a failed general headed the Democratic ticket and was supported by the antiwar crowd and the press. President Lincoln and General Grant were vilified and accused of being monsters. Fortunately, Lincoln and Grant had the will to win.
The Vietnam War is a case in which military victory was achieved but the will to win faltered. The climactic event of that war was the 1968 Tet Offensive by the communists. This battle was a great military victory for the Republic of Vietnam and the United States, but the antiwar crowd and the media turned it into a political defeat. This caused a loss of will on the part of the United States Government that led ultimately to defeat for the United States and the subjugation of the people of South Vietnam to totalitarian rule. The final tragic event of the war was when Congress refused to stand by our promises to South Vietnam and cut off the funds to supply the Army of Vietnam and forbade the use of U.S. forces to provide air support against the invaders from the North. This act of treachery assured victory for the communists.
The situation in Iraq is eerily reminiscent of Vietnam. We are winning militarily, but the antiwar crowd and the leftwing media are working to diminish our will to win. At each stage in the progress of the campaign, the antiwar crowd and the leftwing media have clucked and moaned over the perceived failures of the United States and its Coalition partners. The sandstorm, the ambush of a supply convoy, the looting of the Museum (which it turns out did not really happen), the Sadr uprising, the upsurge in improvised explosive devices, the Baathist insurgency, and the Fallujah attack have all been touted by the antiwar crowd and the leftwing media as failures that demand we stop fighting and bring the troops home. Barely noticed in all of the “bad news” is the steady progress made by those troops and the Iraqis in quelling a relatively small (but violent) insurgency by a small group of Sunnis. Now the crisis of the day is the election scheduled for January 30, 2005. The antiwar crowd and the leftwing media favor delaying the election because it will not be “complete.” Many of them are saying this because they really want us to lose. Let us hope that President Bush and the majority of the American people continue to have the will to win.
I don’t believe we are losing in Iraq. It is likely that the climax of the War in Iraq has already been reached even though we don’t know it. Someday, a historian will write about some event and declare it to be the turning point at which military victory was certain. We must take care to assure that this historian will not be able to write that, being unaware of our victory, we quit fighting, brought the troops home, and achieved defeat.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Winter's Arrived

The boys have buttoned us up for the cold. Now that winter has arrived, and we've had out first snow we'll see how well we prepared.
The first snow, Wednesday, was exciting, as always. It chilled the earth enough to prepare it for a projected 2-4 inches tonight, Thursday. Another 2-4 inches are predicted for tomorrow night and more on Sunday! We'll see.
Macks doesn't remember snow last year, since he was a puppy. He got very excited today when I was cleaning the walk; ran around and bit the snow, throwing and chasing his ball.
I spent yesterday writing the paper on the Small Hive Beetle. Most of it was written off the top of my head, then corrected and added to from research off the internet. It was enjoyable to work on. I had hoped to go to the beekeeper's meeting and use it to start folks thinking about the pest's arrival, but the snow tonight fouled my plans. I e-mailed it to the Beekeeper's Group, Bee-L, the Irish List, the State Bee Inspector and posted it here. The Bee Inspector was kind enough to reply.
GT missed 10-degree weather and snow... she's glad she's in Grenada. She has a quiz tomorrow and hopes to do well. She mentioned A's. Bravo!
WT has passed his Real Estate Salesman's exam in FWB, and is working at Howton Real Estate. He may go back to Bay Cafe as needed to support himself. He called Sam yesterday and said he is working on his first listing. Bill must be proud of him.
CH is almost through rebuilding the FWB houses. The guys are tied up in Niceville, so the final bits are waiting on them. I'm anxious to get the rental house with the damaged roof fixed, since it shorts the income so much. The main house tenants have started paying their rent again, thankfully. I haven't heard back from the builder who was so hot to buy the Ranger property. I'd really love to build on it myself, but that will have to wait until GT gets through school, probably.
I just got back from checking on a fire alarm at the B'hse. The tenants had been cooking. It was a good trial run of the alarm system, so now they know the code and password. They were chagrined to get, in sequence, the howling alarm, the phone call from the monitoring people, the sheriff's deputy and then me. It was worth my trip over in the snow to see them 'en famille' in the kitchen baking cookies and eating dinner. They are really nice folks. Bet they won't forget the code! I asked them to call the security company and reprogram the codes and numbers. Sam congratulated him on his first year basketball team's record. They lost, but only by a few points, and played some tough teams.
Amelia, the tiny, tailless cat has figured Macks, the dog, out enough so that she is living in the downstairs now. Still cautious, she weaves around his legs before he reacts, and puts her paw on his nose to keep him at a distance. The other (6) cats are still living upstairs. I'm hoping that they will figure him out soon.
Macks and I are going to training lessons. Sundays we go to agility training in Appomattox and Tuesdays we go to obedience training in Lynchburg. Carla has volunteered to teach me clicker training at other times. She spent almost four hours with me this Tuesday! Macks is already somewhat trained, but I am not. He works fine for the instructors. I mess him up with my unsure ways. Yesterday we worked on making eye contact. Macks wants to work with the clicker a lot, since he gets food each time I click to mark the behavior I want. I am supposed to go to Carla's tomorrow at 3 PM, but the snow may cancel it.

Home Life

Watching Michael Vick, of the Atlanta Falcons, is as interesting as watching Tiger Woods in his early years, or Pele, at his peak. It makes me say “How does he do that?” in wonder. Rarely a misstep.
Football is interesting when Vick is quarterback, just as Golf is only interesting when Woods is hitting into either greens or spectators. Tell me when Vick has the ball, I’ll watch then.
The weather has turned cold, after so many weeks of unseasonable warmth. The boys came and worked on more winterizing tasks. They flushed the tractor radiator and took the antifreeze to town so it won’t be tempting to our animals. They also fixed the door to the greenhouse so Pat, the old birddog can get to the warmth of the light I have pointed at his bed and the warmth of the greenhouse light ballasts. Pat shivers with cold from his age and lack of an undercoat.
I am very lucky to have CC come after school and do all these things that I either can’t do or don’t know how to do. He is interested enough now to suggest plants to put in certain spots, or things that will need to be done in the spring. It’s more expensive than a maid, but more useful, too. Today he brought J., who’s very knowledgeable about engines and they are fearless in changing gaskets and plugs, etc., though they are learning that everything takes longer than it looks like it should, and is much messier than you ever thought. Luckily the tractor is a fairly simple engine to work on and it’s pretty hard to mess up, or I’d be afraid to let them work on it. After all, I have to remind myself, they are beginning mechanics. When I saw all the tools, and mess in the shed I had to remember that they are also still kids! But having them around is as joyful as having new puppies. Macks, big boy dog, is soooo happy to see CC that you’d think CC was paid to play with him, and that’s not a bad idea!
Now that the corn syrup buckets are opened, thanks to the boys, I can clean them up and start some cold tolerant plants such as spinach and cole crops, maybe broccoli. If we’re going to keep the greenhouse warm enough for Pat we can use it to grow stuff. Sam is happy at the thought of things growing.
Ann came with some sourdough bread, so I fell off the wagon for a bit. I have really had to talk tough to myself, and even give in a little to the demon urge to eat. St Augustine and I have a lot in common, but his problem was carnal and my cravings are carnivorous. Still, the devil whispers, nay, shouts, in my brain: Eat, you’ll feel better. That’s a lie. Now, to convince my body.
Sam feels that his ability to walk is improved from the last IVIg. I have to trust his observations, since I can’t tell. The bill came, and had been turned down by Medicare. We’ll see if Tricare pays their 80%. Otherwise Sam may have to do a cost/benefit analysis. IVIg is not cheap.

Small Hive Beetle

This paper on the Small Hive Beetle was written for the Piedmont Beekeeper's Association, Virginia, USA. Use as you wish. Please send corrections! I used the internet and the articles in ABJ. There is less information than I would like, so send any you have. Thanks, Susi

Small Hive Beetle (Aethina Tumida Murray)
A type of sap beetle, the Small Hive Beetle (SHB) is considered a minor pest in its native Southern Africa. Arriving in the mid-Nineties in the US, perhaps in a fruit shipment in either South Carolina or Georgia, it was first recognized in beehives in Florida in 1998. In year round warm, humid, areas it can go through five lifecycles a year, and has become a serious pest in coastal regions of North America. It is in Virginia, on the coast, and moving inland steadily. It is established in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. The Commonwealth is prohibiting movement of hives out of infested areas and aggressively treating infested hives. Beekeepers must report suspected infestations to the Virginia Apiarist, (804) 786-3515, who will work with them to eradicate the infestation and salvage the bees.
The mature beetle is tan or reddish (newly hatched), turning to black as it ages, about 1/3 the size of a honeybee. Quickness and a fuzzy coat make it very hard to catch. As it ages it prefers a dark area of the hive, often just under the cover, or on the inner cover. In areas with few bees beetles might be on the comb. Reportedly they can fly up to 15 miles. The newly hatched beetles are the most active, flying readily. They are attracted to sweet smells and can reproduce on fruit, from apples to melons. Cantaloupe is a reputed favorite.
The females can lay up to 2000 eggs, living up to six-months. The eggs are oval, similar, but smaller, than bee eggs; usually hidden in cracks. Irregular masses may be found openly in untenanted hive areas. Hatching is heat dependent: 1-16 days. Since disturbance triggers egg laying, larvae will hatch in groups.
Upon hatching the larvae will wander, openly or by burrowing, through the comb, seeking protein (pollen or brood) and honey. Higher protein food produces more female beetles. The bees attempt to remove larvae or corral them. Guard bees feed the corralled larvae when the larvae stimulate the bee's mandibles causing regurgitation of honey and pollen, as do bee brood. Until the hive is overrun with larvae this strategy will work. However the hive is weakened by the assignment of bees to guard and feed the beetle larvae.
The larvae look like small wax moth larvae, less than 1/2 inch long. However, they have three front leg pairs, close behind a darker head, spiny protuberances along their backs and twin dark spines at the tail end. The wax moth larva has legs all along its sides and is thinner skinned, and easily punctured. The SHB larvae are very tough skinned, and have noticeable circular constrictions around the body, like tight bands around a soft tube, pointed at the ends. They can be found in masses in the 'corrals' or scattered over the comb. There are no silken tunnels with the SHB larvae, since they do not spin a cocoon, but harden into light colored pupae in the soil. Instead, the combs may have a greasy or wet appearance from larval feces. This is the slime that will ferment the honey, causing a smell akin to rotting oranges. Like foulbrood, knowledgeable beekeepers can identify infested hives by smell.
Once the larvae are ready for pupation, usually 10-16 days after hatching, they will drop out of the hive at night. Their tough skin and the large numbers of fellow larvae protect them. They head for light, and can move across hundreds of meters of rough concrete. This is their most vulnerable period. They burrow in the dirt, preferably loose and moist, but they can survive in hard clay. In wet dirt the larvae will leave an air hole to the surface. The pupa is a light tan color and the same size as the beetle. Pupation takes 3-4 weeks and more will survive in moist soil. Tests are showing that soil borne fungus can cause death of the beetles while pupating, and fire ants are a common predator in the south.
Upon hatching the red or tan new beetles mate and fly to food sources, drawn by smell. In a week the females start laying.
Once the hive is so full of larvae that the bee's control strategy is overwhelmed, and the uncapped bee brood are dying from the burrowing larvae the bees will often abscond, swarming as a whole hive and look for new quarters. Before they abscond they usually eject all the open brood from the nest.
In the USA the Small Hive Beetle has become a major honeybee pest. Absent its normal enemies in Africa the beetle has been able to breed inside European honeybee hives rapidly enough to overwhelm even strong hives. Current research has found funguses and pests, mainly ants, which target the beetle larvae and pupae, limiting the number of maturing beetles


* Check any packages and gang boxes of queens. Larvae are accidentally shaken in.
* Check and watch your beehives. If you suspect SHB call the State Apiary Inspector (804) 786-3515.
* Don't sell or buy hives without getting an inspection from the State Apiary Inspector (804) 786-3515. Don't buy used equipment from infested areas.
* Keep your bee yards clean so you notice signs of infestation.
* When you extract, watch for larvae.
* Keep an eye on fruit, especially if you bring some in from infested areas.
* Signs of infestation: smell, ejected brood, absconding, dripping honey, larvae and beetles.
* Keep strong hives, don't give more comb than the bees can defend.
* Re-queen with hygienic stock. Their hygienic traits work against SHB also.
* Keep bait hives in the apiary throughout the year for absconding hives. CHANGE EXTRACTING PRACTICES:
* Keep the honey house very clean, so you notice the larvae and beetles.
* Raise supers off the floor and provide a light to attract the larvae that drop out of them. Sweep up the larvae and drown them in deep water.
* Use lots of ventilation and a dehumidifier to dry the air. This slows down the eggs and larvae. It also helps keep your honey dry. Some processors will chill the super storage rooms to lower the activity and hatch rate.
* Process rapidly. Don¹t let the supers sit, or you may lose the honey to the larvae slime. Process cappings quickly also.
* If you store comb after extraction, freeze it (-12C/24 Hrs), or return it to the original hive, or use PDB to fumigate it.
* Check your frames before extracting. Slimy frames should be discarded. Larvae will collect in your extractor if they are present. This may be your first sign you have SHB. Levels of acceptance haven't been discussed, but too much slime will ferment the batch.
* Assume all supers have at least eggs in them. Freeze if possible, Return to a strong hive that can protect them, preferably the original hive.
* Don't separate bees from comb, which will allow the beetles to proliferate.
* Combining hives, splitting, or other manipulations can transfer infestations. Assume all hives in an apiary are infested.
* Replacing supers after extraction can infest other hives.
* All unprotected comb is vulnerable. Dispose of any old comb carefully, since the beetles can grow to maturity on its higher protein content.
* Treat the ground with the proper permethrin product. Repeat at 30-day intervals. Cut grass first, protect bees and foragers and apply at dusk.
* As needed, use the Dadant traps (Checkmite stapled to a corrugated paper)
* Move hives to prevent beetles from building up in any one area.
* Requeen with hygienic stock. Kill vulnerable queens.
* Try drowning traps under or in front of the hive, depending on the bottom board. Mineral oil and alcohol kill the beetles and larvae quickly; water will drown the larvae but not the beetles. Damp dirt may encourage the larvae to pupate in the trap.
* Remember that disturbances triggers egg laying. Figure out your strategy.
* Set out baited traps (like wasp or Japanese beetle traps). Vinegar attracts, mineral oil and alcohol kills. Put these away from your hives so you don't lure beetles in.
* Bait interior traps with honey/brood, with small openings to save bees.
* If you do get ‘Slimed’ by the SHB larvae, use a strong water jet and rinse the frames pretty clean; the bees will finish cleaning them.

The Virginia (USA) Bee Inspector added:
There are two additional products that have been developed for SHB control in the hive. There is a bottom board beetle trap available from most suppliers. The West SHB trap has proven effective in trapping and killing adults and migrating larvae. Also, the USDA in Florida is developing a chemical lure for the beetles. The lure, a yeast based compound, is effective in attracting adult beetles. Unfortunately, an in-hive trap for the lure is still in development. The latter product (and trap) may be available next year. At present the lure is being used by researchers and inspectors for detection of SHB in an apiary.