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Thread: Microscopes

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Suffolk NY
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    Default Microscopes

    I've seen the posts about using a cheap child's scope to look for signs of nosema, but I was wondering if anyone could tell me; Is there a single scope that can do it all? Bee guts (nosema), spores(nosema), TMs, and artificial insemination? What are the magnification requirements for each?
    thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
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    Default

    Artificial insemination is the task that most often prompts the use
    of a "stereo dissection" scope, low power, but binocular.
    These are not at all cheap, unless you get lucky at a college
    "yard sale" of retired equipment. This is the LAST scope I
    would buy, as it has little value for anything else except
    tracheal mites.

    For tracheal mites, one could also use the stereo scope, at about 60x,
    but one could also use any single objective microscope at 50x, 60x,
    100x, whatever.

    For Nosema, anything from 400x to 1000x works well, but the trick
    here is to pick a magnification and stick with it so that your
    relative rating of "more serious" or "less serious" infestations can
    be "calibrated" to a lab's results in terms of total number of spores.

    DIY nosema testing is inherently a sloppy comparison process,
    and without a hemocytometer, one has an estimate, nothing
    more. No matter, I've walked by hemocytometers in surplus
    stores without a second glance, as I'm not buying a tool I
    don't really need, even if it is affordable.

    What I would buy for someone who had difficultly with binoculars,
    telescopes, and microscopes, (in my experience, people who wear
    glasses, older folks, and a good percentage of females with
    otherwise normal vision) is this waaaay kewl toy:
    http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/electronic/77aa/

    Go ahead, call me a hardcore nerdcore - I don't care.
    It is just sooo nice to not have to peer into an eyepiece for
    the length of time required to even check 10 bees from
    10 hives representing 10 yards for tracheal mites.
    Plugs straight into your computer.
    Makes a great Christmas gift (hint, hint!)

    Would the QX5 be useful for insemination?
    Only if your gear was perfectly aligned up front, as it is
    not stereo.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Suffolk NY
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    Default

    Thanks Jim. Talk about one stop shopping, everything I ever needed to know about bees & microscopes in one easy lesson. I think I'll go for the 3 objective "student" scope now & spring for the stereo scope with the proceeds of my world class queen mother production operation (in about 20 years when I figure out what I'm doing).

    BTW, add my thanks to the others for sharing (& interpreting) the latest journal articles. Your posts are always appreciated.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
    Posts
    2,290

    Sad

    I bought one of the digital blue QX5 plug in microscopes a few months ago just to look for t-mite levels,and I have tried everything and cannot get it to work.My USB ports work fine for everything else.But this thing is driving me nuts.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
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    3,401

    Default

    Might you have a USB 2.0 device, and USB 1.0 hardware and/or
    drivers?

    This was a while ago (for me) but I ran into this, and ended
    up having to buy a new USB card to make the device work.

    Lacking that, I'm pretty sure that they have tech support
    of some sort for the device, don't they?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    NE Calif.
    Posts
    2,290

    Default

    Jim,Its a 1 year old computer that says USB 2.0 on the plug ins.I tried all the tech problem faqs they put out with no luck. ,So you are right I better call tech support to make sure its not just defective.The software loads ok, but the on/off light flickers and the microscope light doesn't come on.Then I get error messages saying its not connected.Thanks for replying.I will post here if I find the problem in case anyone else runs into it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Windsor,NC,USA
    Posts
    285

    Default

    I too am looking at a microscope. I saw hundreds on Ebay. There are lots of red microscopes on there listed starting at .99 I wonder if these would be good enough. I think I remember at the bee convention this year that the state lab guy suggested something with at least 400x. We were looking at AFB spores in the class. My question is, are these cheap children's microscope kits good enough?

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