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  1. #1
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    I am sure that many of you have read the article in the P.O.V. section by Dave Green titled "Using Bees as Weapons". Does anyone know if there has been any research into using this "flash freezing" to preserve excess qeens for later use. Could it be possible that the queen and a few attendant bees could be flash frozen in their cage and then thawed and used later to re-queen hives as needed?
    "The UNKNOWN, huh? That would be SNORBERT ZANGOX over in Waycross."

  2. #2
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    It seems doubtful, but I do have a liquid nitrogen dewar...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  3. #3
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    I'm just sort of thinking out loud here. There are a lot of unanswered questions about flash freezing bees. For use as a weapon, all that was needed was for the bee to live long enough after thawing to sting. But after being frozen and thawed, could they still function as normal? Not much info was provided in the article as to any lasting side effects to the bees.
    "The UNKNOWN, huh? That would be SNORBERT ZANGOX over in Waycross."

  4. #4
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    I know they haven't been terribly successfull freezing honeybee sperm. Of course bees present a unique problem. While freezing sperm is commonly done with mammels (horses, cows, pigs, etc.), very few have to be viable after thawing to produce offspring since only a couple eggs at most need fertilized. With queens we expect them to produce many, many fertile eggs. Thus I can expect freezing queens (even if you can revive her) would not yield a productive queen.

    Now I just need to get liquid nitrogen. Meijers just started carrying dry ice this summer, maybe I can talk them into carring liquid nitrogen.

    -Tim

  5. #5
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    I have some recollection of somebody getting positive results with frozen drone semen. I will see if I can locate the citation. Another interesting possibility is storage of completely metamorphosed virgins. Freezing may not bee the only way to achieve a long-term stasis. A state of “suspended animation” could be achieved through refrigeration and I have read that exposure to certain gasses can have a similar affect. This is an interesting research topic that may have big ramifications.
    JBJ
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  6. #6
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    I have been told by Sue Cobey (this past summer) that freezing semen has been done and was sort of successfull. Enough sperm survived you could inseminate the queen, but not enough survived to get a good laying queen. This would be completely acceptable in cases where you only want to raise a few offspring (which is commonly done in mammels), but is a problem with queens as they are expected to raise 1000's of offspring.

    -Tim

  7. #7
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    This is indeed the case, however it is still a useful tool for genetic line maintenance and stock development. Very inbred or single drone mated queens are often not viable on there own and in the “natural” world would be superceded rapidly. Frozen semen could be a great way to store and import genes. The daughters could then be properly inseminated for production stock. I still think stasis/animated suspension/freezing for virgins warrants exploration.
    JBJ
    John B Jacob www.oldsolbees.com

  8. #8
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    I'm trying really hard to resist Han Solo jokes when reading through this thread.

  9. #9
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    Mr. Bush - I am not technically minded, but do i understand you to say you have the ability to flash freeze a bee? do it! I'd love to participate in such a experiment.

    I moved a hive a couple of winters ago, and field bees came back and landed on the cinder block and were frozen overnight. I came back next morning and was upset at the layer of frozen hard bees, with ice all over their wings from the dew, and then two hours later they all flew away!

  10. #10
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    >I am not technically minded, but do i understand you to say you have the ability to flash freeze a bee?

    I'd have to go get it from the vet, and I'd have to pay to have it filled, and I'd have to find time to do the experiments, but yes, I have a nitrogen dewar.

    > do it! I'd love to participate in such a experiment.

    It would be fun. But I have serious doubts that it would work, and if it did, that the queens would be very viable. The only use I can see, IF they were viable would be shipping large numbers or queens and keeping queens until the next spring. Because you'd have to either thaw them before you ship them (and I'm not sure the best way to thaw them) or you'd have to use a "shipping" dewar to ship them still in the liquid nitrogen. Things of this sort have to stay, not only frozen, but in the liquid nitrogen, until they are thawed.

    >I moved a hive a couple of winters ago, and field bees came back and landed on the cinder block and were frozen overnight. I came back next morning and was upset at the layer of frozen hard bees, with ice all over their wings from the dew, and then two hours later they all flew away!

    Wow! That's promising. I've seen cold bees come back around, but never seen frozen ones come back. How cold was it?
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  11. #11
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    Flash freezing bees: I've never heard of this before reading this thread. I'm geussing that its probably easier to freeze sperm, fertilized eggs or even to clone the queens, but I am way out of my element here. I suppose that its possible. The survival rate can't be that wonderful or people would be doing it all the time (like for shipping). Boy it would be great order a queen on dry ice and thaw her as needed.

  12. #12
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    I read somewhere that sudden cold (flash freezing) disrupts the cellular membrane of the insects interior and causes severe damage. Insects that overwinter in the northern areas do so by having their bodies chilled and frozen over longer peroids of time,(hours/days)instead of by sudden freezing. I tryed to locate the source but have not been able to, yet. (one of the many books read)

  13. #13

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    Where and how do you place a ripe Queen cell in a two frame nuc. The nuc was primed with a frame of sealed brood and a frame of drawn comb. Also enough bees to cover the frame of brood

  14. #14
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    >Where and how do you place a ripe Queen cell in a two frame nuc. The nuc was primed with a frame of sealed brood and a frame of drawn comb. Also enough bees to cover the frame of brood

    I set up the mating nucs at least the day before I put the cells in. I put one frame of honey (so they have food and I don't have to feed them) and one frame of brood. The next day I put the cell between the two frames in the center of the cluster of bees. It depends on the cell cup system you're using how its put together. But usually, if there's a plastic cup at the top of the cell you can put that between the bars. If there's just a cell, then you can push an indenation into the comb with your fingers and gently push the cell into the indenation. You can also buy cell protectors that have protrosions on them to push into the comb on each side.

    It takes some practice to handle queen cells and you have to learn what they are like at different stages. A queen cell that is just capped (which, of course is not ready to transfer) is soft like putty and evey touching it will deform it. A queen cell at 14 days (2 days before emergence) is much tougher, but, of course, it's still a little fragile. But it's more tough and papery. At this stage a slight push into soft comb won't smash it if the comb is soft and the queen cell is stiff.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  15. #15

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    <placing ripe Queen cells>
    I am using the Jenter system For raising a few Queens. I was concerned about the cells getting chiled placing them between the top bar

    Michael Thanks for the reply

  16. #16
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    from MB "Wow! That's promising. I've seen cold bees come back around, but never seen frozen ones come back. How cold was it?"

    I remember being surprised it dropped that low, it was below freezing but above 20. Really don't have prolonged cold here but short drops. What I recall is the ground aroudn the blocks was frozen hard, and there was a layer of frozen water on top the bees /blocks, which I assumed was dew but may have been some overnight precipitation, i don't know. I was working outside and saw a few of the bees flying around the spot. I walked over and saw fewer frozen bees, then noticed the remaining ones were thawed and moving. short time later they all had flown off the block, and were circling the location.

  17. #17
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    I've seen bees frozen in water/ice come back. They came back at about 20 in sunlight. The overnight was closer to zero. After several minutes of sunbathing they were able to fly. I probably should have caged them seperate to see how long they lived. Didn't think of it then.

    Hawk
    KC0YXI

  18. #18
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    >I am using the Jenter system For raising a few Queens. I was concerned about the cells getting chiled placing them between the top bar

    I'm using a Jenter also. I put the Cell cup holder (the yellow piece) between the top bars tightly and put the whole thing in the middle of where the bees are. If it's surrounded by bees it should be fine during the time of year you'd be rearing queens. Here I haven't had any luck starting before May 1st. Not because there were no drones, but because I don't have enough bees to make up the cell starters and nucs etc.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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