Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,298

    Default Using incubators for queen emergence

    Help, incubator advice requested:

    Just recently I used an incubator for the first time for virgin queen emergence. But of about forty cells, only three emerged successfully.

    I positioned each cell in California Mini Cages, and confined four nurse bees in each cage. I fed the nurse bees twice per day with 1:1 syrup drops on the cage screen to keep them going.

    After adjusting the incubator, I monitored the temp 93.4 - 93.9F, and relative humidity 50% - 55%, using the thermometer and hygrometer that I originally obtained with the incubator, at least 20+ years ago. I am wondering, if perhaps the problem resides with that instrument, perhaps it is out of calibration. I will obtain a replacement thermometer/hygrometer tomorrow, before I place any more cells in the incubator. I also placed a few cells from this batch in nucs and they emerged very well, so apparently the cells were fine, before their incubator exposure.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,573

    Default Re: Using incubators for queen emergence

    Wow, that's terrible results. it's hard to guess what went wrong. What brand of incubator did you use?
    I don't use nurse bees in my cells, but can't see why that would be an issue.

    Getting a thermometer that is accurate is a challenge. I think your temp, although close was perhaps off too much. I have thermometers that very 8 degrees or more. They are horrible. The digital ones are best.
    In case you don't know, always start and bring your incubator to temp. several hours before placing you cells to stablize temp. Especially if it is an inexpensive foam type chicken incubator.
    My digital incubator comes up to temp in minutes, but I still monitor the interior temp. Difference between the top shelf and the bottom is 2 degrees. That's the difference in a hatch on time or a day early/late. Late hatches are poor.
    I run mine at 94 degrees, but that is +/- depending on the cell location and the accuracy of my unit.
    Last edited by Lauri; 05-27-2013 at 09:49 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    bridgewater , nova scotia
    Posts
    666

    Default Re: Using incubators for queen emergence

    I was looking at the incubators and wondered if they are worth the money or not ? What brands do you recommend ?
    Ben Little <The Little Bee Farm> https://www.facebook.com/TheLittleBeeFarm
    Nova Scotia Canada

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,573

    Default Re: Using incubators for queen emergence

    Incubators go from cheap junk to several hundred dollars, with not many in between in a price/quality range I was looking for. Heres my first one, which worked just fine, but I wanted better quality and larger capacity:


    Heres what I recently purchased for about $150. and I love it. I'd still like a larger one, but this will due for now. Reptile incubator Eko-Terra.

    You can buy them off Ebay or Amazon:
    http://www.exo-terra.com/en/products/incubator.php


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, MS, USA
    Posts
    624

    Default Re: Using incubators for queen emergence

    I have a foam one like in Lauri's pics. I run it at 92 and hatch 50 to 60 virgins each week.

    Johnny
    "Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." - Mark Twain

  6. #6

    Default Re: Using incubators for queen emergence

    How long after a virgin emerges do you have to get them in a hive? I have loads of extra cells every week and have thought about starting an incubator but I don't know much about it. When you ship virgins are you putting attendants from a random hive in the cage or are you putting attendants on the outside of the cages?

    Thanks
    Dan Williams

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Philadelphia, MS, USA
    Posts
    624

    Default Re: Using incubators for queen emergence

    Hi Dan. I like for them to be in a hive in 4 to 5 days. Mine hatch on Tuesday, ship on Wednesday and buyer has them on Thursday or Friday. I put 4 attendants in the cage with the Virgins. I catch them off a brood frame out of any hive available.

    I use California mini cages to emerge virgins in. They have a bigger hole that accepts the cell better. The queen will need nourishment quickly, so I put a bb size piece of queen candy in the cage for her to eat on. This is especially important overnight. I check every cpl hours during day and pull the cell out and replace with candy tube as they emerge. They are bad to go back up into cell to eat the old royal jelly that is left over. A cpl times per day I take the ones that have emerged and carry them out to hive and add attendants.

    Sometimes I fill all cages with a piece of queen candy and add attendants first. Then I stick queen cell in hole so queen emerges into cage with attendants. You have to be fast to not let attendants out when swaping cell in and out.

    Johnny
    "Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." - Mark Twain

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Utah,Utah,USA
    Posts
    124

    Default Re: Using incubators for queen emergence

    I'm now using the same incubator and lauri. I satarted out with a chicken incubator and both work great.

    I try and get my queen into a hive ASAP. I don't add workers to take care of the newly hatch queens. The two biggest things that kill the queen are starvation or they crawl back into their cell head first.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Roy, Wa
    Posts
    1,573

    Default Re: Using incubators for queen emergence

    Quote Originally Posted by cklspencer View Post
    . The two biggest things that kill the queen are starvation or they crawl back into their cell head first.
    The top and bottom cap for the roller cages I use have four groves in them. Just right for taking a swipe with your finger on a frame of capped honey and filling the groves with feed-both honey and wax. As the queen emerges she has immediate access to the honey. Be sure to wipe off the face of the cap, only getting the honey in the grove or she will get sticky all over her wings. Works like a charm.
    The longest I have kept a virgin after hatching in the incubator is 3 days. The feed lasted that long, but I gave her a drop of water every day on top the cage. I had gotten a bit of paint on her wings so I was experimenting with her. I did a direct release in a mini nuc that had been queenless for 3 days. Immediate acceptance with no problems.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,298

    Default Re: Using incubators for queen emergence

    Thanks everyone for the input, it really helps me figure out what to change.

    I just got a Thermo-Hygro distributed by Exo Terra, and installed its sensor near the old thermometer/hygrometer that was still inside the incubator, then I turned it back on and waited several hours. Both read almost the same temperature, 93.6F. However, their R.H. readings are somewhat different, but they both show readings over 50% R.H.

    I believe I now know what the likely problem was. Before I placed my cells into the incubator, I turned it on and let it warm up, but it was still well over 95F as I was putting the cells inside, and it was more than an hour before my continued adjustments reduced my final setting to below 94F. I plan to continue adjusting the incubator, until the temperature is ~ 91F, before I try emerging any other cells inside it. And this time I won't rely on it for an entire batch of cells, until I have tested it with a few cells from several batches and it proves itself to be successful.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,473

    Default Re: Using incubators for queen emergence

    I run mine at 92 with a 1 degree dead band, which means that it is always between 91 and 92. Had great success with those settings.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads