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Thread: Incubators

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Porter, Ok USA
    Posts
    491

    Post

    This is for Dee Lusby:

    I've seen your posts concerning raising queens in an incubator. I have some questions.

    First, what kid of incubator and at what temperature?

    Second; You state that you take bees to the field in their "bottle". what kind of bottle, please?

    You also state that the queens are fed in their bottle. How is this accomplished and what do you feed them?

    When you put your bees in the incubator, are the queen cells already separated and put into their "bottles"?
    Oxankle

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,554

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    I can't seem to find all of Dee's previous remarks on this but here is the answer to SOME of those questions from a posting by Dee on the yahoo organicbeekeepers group.

    Dee wrote:

    Let me reword. The queen cell when grafting is sitting in a wooden
    cell cup that is setting flush on top of the 3 dram bottle with 1/2
    inch neck and queen cell is thus hanging down inside with wooden
    cell cup acting like a bottle cap that is loose. When queen emerges
    you push open end of queen cell closed and rub on a little granulated
    honey for feeding. Now bottles are rotated every 12 hours and are
    kept laying down which aids in longer keeping/rotation for queens if
    necessary (I've kept up to 5-7 days, but try to get queens in within
    first 24 hours if possible.)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Drums, PA, USA
    Posts
    331

    Post

    Its been a while since I posted here, but I use an incubator to raise queens.

    The ideal temp is 94 degrees. I made my own incubator. I used 2 60 watt light bulbs, wired in paralell, a wafer thermostat and switch, which I aquired from a reptile supply company, a internal temp cooking themometer, a computer fan and power supply, and a 1 inch thick sponge in a water tight container. It works very well!

    I purchased the Mann Lake queen rearing supplies, minus the grid box, since I prefer grafting, and made the cup holder bar and frame. The bar is removable from the frame, so it can be placed in the incubator.

    Like any queen rearing, you must get cells accepted, and capped. Once they are capped, they are extremely fragile, but I have managed to move the entire frame with capped cells in a nuc box, about 1/2 mile without incident. But you must be very careful, and I do not reccommend doing so. When I get home, I have the incubator on for at least a day, because it allows the temp to stabilize. Overnight is probably sufficient. Make sure the lights light, and the thermometer is 94 degrees. Also besure you have the sponge wet, also, be sure you have adequete water in the container. Light bulbs produce dry heat, and you need humidity. Once you get everything set to go, remove the bar from the frame, and put it in the incubator. The mann lake system has cages that fit the cup holders. I can not stress enough, the importance of timing. You must get the cages on the cells the day before they hatch. I do this, because you can tell when they are ready to hatch. If you miss by a few hours, when the first one comes out, say good bye to most of the rest. The cages also come with candy caps, and bottom enclosures. I use one drop of honey as food, and try to get it in the cut out along the side. It is easier to understand if you can see it. If you use more than one drop, she will get stuck! Even one drop is sufficient for food. Now, the day you get your cages on, your mating nucs should be a day old all ready, and the bees inside, know that they have no queen. I have readied them the day they hatched, and it should work, but whatever!

    If you want to eliminate the hassles, put the ripe cell, not hatched right in the queenless nuc. That will work also.

    My idea of an incubator was to manage my time better. I have no time in my busy little life, so using the incubator eliminates a few trips to the bee yard, and it is convieniant to check on the girls in the basement. Plus I like doing it that way, and watching the quuens actually chew out of the cell.


    If you have any questions email me at Dalcol@hazleton.net!

    [This message has been edited by Hook (edited April 21, 2004).]

  4. #4

    Post

    I've tried several methods of incubators, but the best...bar none....is a full size colony.

    Once my queen cells are sealed, I then place them into a frame that contains a long bar with holes. Each cell fits neatly into its own compartment and the queen cup (JZs BZs plastic with a stem) seals the top of the hole. The whole contraption has advantages that an incubator doesn't:

    1) Perfect temperature and humidity...always!

    2) The cell bar has several sawblade kerfs running along and through the holes to allow feeding and CONTAINMENT should a queen hatch early.

    3)Bee (Queen) Proof: Early hatched queens can not ruin unhatched cells.

    4)Close proximity to my nucs when it comes time to distrubute my cells.

    5)Besides the cost of a frame and a piece of 2 x 2 16 inches long, it's FREE to operate!

    Each "nursery bar" holds twenty cells and a deep frame can hold two bars, for a total of forty cells.

    I'll get a digital photo posted on my web site soon.

    It's such a "no brainer" that I don't know why more beekeepers don't use them.

    As with any other type of incubator, there's always the risk of the queen climbing back into the cell and dying...I've seen it happen several times. I prefer, however, to introduce cells over virgins whenever I can.

    Regards,


    Jim

    ------------------
    http://www.emeraldridgeapiary.net

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,554

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    I, for one, would love to see a picture.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Drums, PA, USA
    Posts
    331

    Post

    Jim said: As with any other type of incubator, there's always the risk of the queen climbing back into the cell and dying...I've seen it happen several times. I prefer, however, to introduce cells over virgins whenever I can.

    Reply: I have not had that happen to me yet. I stress the word yet. I do think that does happen, because when the queen emerges from her cell, she is hungry. A drop of honey on the bottom of the cage takes care of that. Crawling back, and getting stuck, is a result of trying to eat.

    I would like to see a picture of the nursery though! I can make just about anything, and it would not hurt to add another piece of equipment to my arsonal!

  7. #7

    Post

    Here they are guys....let me know what you think. They're easy to make and even easier to use. The link isn't on my home page yet, but I'll post it here. Make sure you click on link that says "Incubator".

    Regards,

    Jim
    http://www.emeraldridgeapiary.net/Incubator.htm

    ------------------
    http://www.emeraldridgeapiary.net

    [This message has been edited by James Burke (edited April 23, 2004).]

    [This message has been edited by James Burke (edited April 23, 2004).]

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