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  1. #1
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    Default Optimal temp for an incubator

    Got an incubator set up and need to know the optimal temperature setting. I've seen about 92 to 95.5 F. I was thinking of setting it such that it comes on at 92 and turns off at 94.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Optimal temp for an incubator

    The book says 92 degrees F. I set mine on 92 plus or minus 1 degree. Also place a container of water to keep the humidity right. It works good. The queens act as though they are starving when they emerge so put them with bees quickly. I also found that if you put a little honey in the bottom of the hair roller cage it will give you a little more time.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Optimal temp for an incubator

    About to start a thread on this so thanks for saving me typing!

    mike
    Please check out the new kingfisherapiaries.com!
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Optimal temp for an incubator

    I suggest using a hatchery frame instead. Its a lot like a queen bank, but the holes are made to fit your cell cups so that they act as a plug... this way when they hatch, they get instant nutrition warmth... I use them for hatching cells for II and to ship virgins...

    We just make up a queenless deep (using medium hatchery frames so that the cell stay up away from the draft of the entrance)...

    From left to right: Honey frame, Pollen frame, Capped Brood frame, Hatchery frame, Capped Brood frame, Hatchery frame, Capped Brood frame, Pollen frame, Honey frame....

    Each brood frame needs to have its bees of course, but I also shake about three more frames of nurses into the single and top it off with a shallow of honey and reduce the entrance with a small board to create a 1/4 length opening.

    Each of my hatchery frames will hold 2 rows of 18 cells, so one of these hatchery colonies will hatch and care for upto 72 virgins...

    Use them quickly... We NEVER let them sit for more than 5 days before II... when shipping virgins, we ship them no later than 3 days after hatch...

    Each of our mating yards has one or more of these colonies set up and ready to use in case of emergencies, and also we take one cell from each graft and allow her to hatch in the hatchery so we can inspect her.

    If you do decide to use the incubator... just try to set the temp up a tad if there is cooler draft in the room where the incubator is, and down a bit if there is hot air or sun on it... Always lay your thermometer directly on the cells so that you are getting a reading of the temp at the level where the cells will be, instead of the bottom or the top of the incubator... When adding water, use luk warm water, not cold or hot...

    Good Luck and I hope this helps!

  5. #5
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    Jacksonville, Florida
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    Default Re: Optimal temp for an incubator

    The incubator should not fluctuate as much as you said it is. But, it does take some time for it to start keeping the temp constant. When I hatch chickens I make sure the incubator is set up three days before I set the eggs. That way I can dial in the temp once I have it set it will not move up or down more than one degree. Give your incubator some time the heating elements are really small and take a while.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Optimal temp for an incubator

    Johng is right... for our pheasants, peacocks, turkeys, quail, geese, and ducks, we set the incubators 3 days ahead of schedule to let them warm up... the most important thing to remember is that draft in the room with the incubators can have a big effect on the settings...

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Optimal temp for an incubator

    ...i've been very impressed with the inhive style incubator that Rob is talking about...Ross (from this forum) has a design:
    http://www.myoldtools.com/Bees/incubator/

    I haven't used this as i'm concerned about the virgins picking up scents from the hive making them harder to introduce. I don't know this would be an issue (and Rob, perhaps you have better insight into this).

    For an incubator, we use the reptibator:
    http://www.amazon.com/Zoo-Med-Reptib.../dp/B0038Z5RMU

    ...which (I think) holds the temp tighter than some other designs.

    deknow

  8. #8
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    Concord, CA
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    Default Re: Optimal temp for an incubator

    I have a gqf cabinet incubator with wafer thermostats for tortoise eggs. It doesn't fluctuate much more than a 1/10 of a degree or so. We also get it going a couple days in advance.
    www.gqfmfg.com
    Dan

  9. #9
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    Oct 2005
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    Pearisburg,VA
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    Default Re: Optimal temp for an incubator

    Go to honeyrunapiaries.com to see the incubator and controller that I have. They are good people to do business with, and the controller works great. They were behind when I was ready to oder, so I built my own incubator and ordered the controller. It came in less than a week.

  10. #10
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    Wink Re: Optimal temp for an incubator

    For incubators, the GQF (georgia quail farm) Hovabator (circulated air) works great, as does the Little giant version... I am partial to the GQF because they designed them first, the rest are somewhat copies.. but again, I much prefer the hatchery frames... when your queens hatch in the incubators, they will begin to lose viability within an hour or so and the possibilty of them not living to see a hive esculates greatly within a few hours...

    The one deknow suggested is new to me (thanks Dean, something ELSE that I HAVE to buy ) We make our own, but I purchased some of Tim's (Honey Run Apiaries) "Queen Bank Frmes"... pretty close to the same design and they work very well for "wide-based cell cups"... So I suggest going to his site and ordering those if you use the wide-based cups... They are FAR less expensive than incubators, they are safer for the cells, they allow the queens to be fed proper nutrition immediately, and they are safely tucked away for use as you need them (but make it quick! lol).

    We have never noticed any issues from scents, other than the virgins are VERY vibrant and ready to get to work... which is a good thing in my book. acceptance and introduction is pretty much up to the situation that you put the receiving nuc or hive in... I had to release over a thousand virgins directly into nucs once and ended up have NONE of them rejected... of course, they were so much "in need" of a queen that they would have probably been satisfied with "Bobby Joe, the Drag Queen" ... We try to always keep our nucs just shy of content... this keeps them working for you instead of against you...
    Hope this helps!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Optimal temp for an incubator

    My incubator consists of the Ranco controller (capable of a 1 degree differential) and a chest freezer. The heat source is two 60 watt light bulbs with a fan to circulate the air while the lights are on. I tested it to hatch out a frame of brood and worked well - hopefully that experiment translates well to queens cells. Based upon your feedback, I'll tighten my temp differential to the 1 degree minimum. I find this chest freezer as a valuable resource: honey warmer, freezer to kill moths/shb, and now (hopefully) a queen incubator. Best of all the freezer was free!

    Here's a link to the controller:

    http://www.honeyrunapiaries.com/stor...ller-p-86.html

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Optimal temp for an incubator

    [QUOTE=rrussell6870;639343

    72 virgins...

    [/QUOTE]

    I must be getting old...I completely missed that on the first read. All this while I thought that you were just mild-mannered queen breeder....now I know different - beware, we're watching you.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Optimal temp for an incubator

    ...if one is to believe the marketing material for the reptibator, it appears that the heating element is "pulsed" rather than "on or off"...the element therefore doesn't get as hot as an element that is "on" would get. i haven't done any side by side comparisons, so i have no data of my own....except that i used this last year to good effect...and i think i had it set at 94.

    we essentially followed dee lusby's method of having the queens emerge into glass vials. this works fine, but they gunk up the inside of the vial pretty quickly and start to get stuck.

    as the queens emerged (and dropped to the bottom of the vial), i pinch the empty cell flat and put a small drop of honey on the flat. i jam the flattened cell back into the opening of the vial (leaving enough space for air) and lay the vial on its side...the queen will mount on the flattened cell and eat the honey.

    this all worked quite well last year, so i'm likely to keep this as our core method...but interested in trying the in hive incubator as well and comparing results.

    deknow

  14. #14
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    Cool Re: Optimal temp for an incubator

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBee View Post
    beware, we're watching you.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Optimal temp for an incubator

    We just stole the workings out of a cheap styrofoam incubator from a local farm store and mounted it in on a drip pan under a hive body that we lined with foam insulation (1/4") on the ends. We bought an indoor outdoor thermometer that shows highs and lows (10 dollars well spent) and thoroughly tested it before putting it in service. works great, hold temps within 1 degree and can hold 500+ cells. We do use it in a room temperature area though. Not sure it has enough wattage in an unheated area if the temp got very low. On a side note, though, I think it is quite important to keep an open container of water inside.
    "People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney

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