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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
    Posts
    6,080

    Question

    Does anyone have details on how to build an incubator for queen cells, beyond saying you need a box, heat source and thermostat. I know the basic requirements but any info on actual equipment, sources and plans on building your own? And does anyone sell these or are they all home built?
    Thank you.

  2. #2

    Post

    Hi there. Here is a link to one that I know of

    http://www.carricell.com

    Some people around here that I know of just simply use a cigar box with a piece of styrofoam on the inside with spots for the queen cells to sit in.
    Columbia City, Indiana

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Lima, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    721

    Post

    I'm building two of my own right now using a Ronco ETC thermostat and likely using ceramic heater (for the larger unit inside) and light bulbs for the portable one. (5 frame nuc sized) I'm still looking at good heat sources. The thermostat may be a bit overkill, but it's more accurate than the inexpensive ones used for poultry incubators (which I've read do work). I'll post pictures on my website when I'm done.

    www.swienty.com offers two incubators.

    Theres more information on building incubators at
    http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/academic/....incubator.txt

    Information on the thermostat: http://www.automatedaquariums.com/ranco.htm

    For just moving cells a short distance or protecting them in cool weather as I place them I have used a simple box with a hot water bottle.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Casper, WY
    Posts
    526

    Post

    Hi Bjorn,

    I've made many of them over the years.

    Get an old refrigerator.

    A temperature controller. Don't use a thermostat. They are available in 12/120 volt models and will handle a 1000 watts. They lack contact points and are electically switched which makes them very sensitive and ultra reliable. Graingers is a good source for the controller. It will cost about $50 to $70 dollars and should be the only real expense for the incubator. Everything else can be scrounged.

    A digital thermometer if the controller lacks one.

    A small fan, like those in a microwave oven or in a power supply.

    A couple of light sockets and two 50 watt bulbs for a full sized refrigerator. Less watts are needed for a smaller one. Use two bulbs rather than just as safety/backup measure.

    And a large cake pan.

    It's pretty easy to make. Put the light bulbs at the bottom of the box. Put the fan and the baking pan near them. Mount the controller in a convient spot and place it's sensor somewhere near the center of the space.

    Wire the lights and microwave fan to operate together with the controller when the temp drops below 93 degrees. If you are using a smaller fan wire it seperately so it can be run all the time or switched off. Make sure the temperature differential on the controller is set to it's minimum which is usually about 1 degree or less.

    Fill the cake pan with water to provide humidity. And you are set to go. Do a little experiment with it until you are confortable with the sensors postion and its operation.

    If you experience power outages in your area, water jugs can be set inside the interior to provide additional thermal mass.

    I've made them out of large refrigerators. Small dormitory type refrigs, etc. They all work great when used with a controller and will allow you to raise queens of a weekly cycle which is a improvement that greatly simplifies any queen rearing operation.

    Regards
    Dennis
    PS - Some exterior indicator lights that shows when the bulbs are on is nice, until you trust the setup. Otherwise you will be always opening the door and checking. :&gt Other options include mounting the controller or digital thermometer outside as well.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Lima, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    721

    Post

    That's why I like the Ronco ETC thermostat. It will switch 120 volts @ 16A (1920W) and displays the current temperature. Plus the temperature probe is remote so you can mount the unit outside the box.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Casper, WY
    Posts
    526

    Post

    Hi Guys,

    A non-mechanical temperature controller is essential. Thermostats with mechanical contacts will stick or hang and cause problems. Its only 2 degrees and a few minutes between incubating queens and cooking them :&gt, although they can take temps down into the mid 80s for a little while without any damage. Before temperature controllers, two thermostats were wired in series. One controlled the lower range. The other would control the max temp in case the lower one malfunctioned.

    And the temperature differential on most thermostats is 10 to 20 degrees! So the upper thermostat could also be set to overlap the lower ones differential and reduce it to maybe 5 degrees. That required lots of experimenting and the setup sure wasn't very reliable.

    When the bees are in charge, they can control the temp to within 1/4 of a degree.

    On a side note, some beekeepers have used chicken incubators to raise queens. But I've seen a historical article where a beekeeper used hives to hatch eggs. He places a pillow above the broodnest. Put eggs on top of the pillow and another pillow on top of that for insulation. It was a great idea before farms had electricity and most incubators, back then, were fired by kerosene.

    Rambling Regards
    Dennis

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,827

    Post

    I've hatched a lot of eggs in an incubator. That's a cool idea.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Clear Lake, WI / Sebring, FL
    Posts
    620

    Post

    Take $30.00 ,go down to the feed store and you will be fine. The egg incubators work fine despite what others tell you. Ive kept hundreds of queen cells alive in them last year , and Im going to keep hundreds alive this year.
    Clear Lake Wi. / Sebring Fl.

  9. #9

    Post

    I placed a post on the general bee forum and queen rearing forum about my in-hive incubator. Here's the link if anyone is interested.

    I don't sell them since I've got plenty else to do, but most anyone with basic wood shop skills can make them with little trouble.

    Here's the link:
    http://www.jarsa.net/Incubator.htm

    Best Regards,

    Jim

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Lima, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    721

    Post

    I've posted a few pictures of my portable incubator:

    http://www.watchtv.net/~honeyrun/bee..._incubator.php

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Fremont, New Hampshire, USA
    Posts
    695

    Post

    Tim
    Like your box.
    Two questions.
    If one light bulb burns out, does one side of the box get hotter due to the bulb being on longer ?

    Does your controller have alarms for high/low temperatures?

  12. #12

    Post

    WOW, that is a lot of links to go back and look at. Maybe now I can can that egg incubator I've wanted and charge it to the bee business....
    For those of you interested in temp controllers, I have enjoyed the one I got for my brew fridge. Check a local homebrew shop or large internet business for homebrewing.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Lima, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    721

    Post

    Dave,
    It doesn't seem to heat unevenly when only one bulb is operating. The painted aluminum sheet over the light bulbs seems to distribute the heat pretty well. The controller doesn't have any alarms, but it's really intended for short term use, though the temperature is stable enough for long term use if necessary. The larger (non-portable) one I'm building will have fans for even heating and likely an alarm.

    -Tim

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    nigeria
    Posts
    1

    Post

    hello people
    i'm constucting an incubator and i'm stuck
    my preference is a digital thermostat
    if any one has a thermostat design of this nature i'm intrested
    peace

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