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  1. #1
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    Default Nitrous oxide and virgin introduction... just curious.

    After reading about the use of ammonium nitrate in smokers I was wondering if the 8 oz. Nitrous Oxide cartridges could be used for virgin introduction. One would avoid the toxins created if the ammonium nitrate burns at too high a temperature.

    Ammonium nitrate use is common enough in Europe that bee suppliers sell small packets of it.

    I could imagine giving the bees a little whiff of laughing gas from a whipped cream dispenser but I'm not sure that I would want to knock them out completely.

    There is some info on the use of co2 and queen insemination but I haven't seen much on the use of Nitrous Oxide. 8 ounces of pure gas sure sounds safer to work with. Perhaps one of our resident chemists can tell me how much Nitrous Oxide is given off from approximately one teaspoon of ammonium nitrate.

    Just curious...
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Nitrous oxide and virgin introduction... just curious.

    I am just as curious as you are. Is that the fertilizer use for greening the lawn?
    Not knowing the specific property I would rather use the traditional way of removing
    the old queen follow by a quick virgin queen intro. Works every time in a 3 frame nuc box.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Nitrous oxide and virgin introduction... just curious.

    There are at least three gases that are formed when ammonium nitrate burns: NO2 (nitrogen dioxide), NO (nitrogen oxide) and N2O (nitrous oxide). The last is 'laughing gas.' Since the first two are somewhat corrosive, I suspect that the purpose of burning ammonium nitrate is to make nitrous oxide. The amounts of these gases that are formed depend on the precise conditions (temperature, oxygen amount, moisture) inside the smoker, so it's not possible to nail down the exact amount of nitrous that would be produced from a fixed amount of ammonium nitrate. Hotter, more moisture and more oxygen would lead to higher amounts of the first two gases. But, they will always be there no matter what the conditions. chucking reality aside, and assuming that only nitrous oxide is formed, if one teaspoon of ammonium nitrate has a mass of 10 g, then:

    10 g (1 tsp) ammonium nitrate produces up to 10.4 g (11 L) of pure nitrous oxide. A canister contains about 8 grams of the same gas, the same as 8.5 L once opened up and no longer under pressure.

    If it is nitrous oxide that does the trick, then the canisters would be a safer way to deliver it (no corrosives).

    Pete

    I speak chemistry, am learning to speak bee.
    Pete. New 2013, 7 hives, zone 6a
    To study and not think is a waste. To think and not study is dangerous.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Nitrous oxide and virgin introduction... just curious.

    Quote Originally Posted by beepro View Post
    I would rather use the traditional way of removing
    the old queen follow by a quick virgin queen intro. Works every time in a 3 frame nuc box.
    "Works every time " really?

    The best acceptance rate reported by some forum members is about 70%.

    And according to L. E. Snelgrove, "The least favorable time for the introduction of a virgin queen is immediately after the removal a fertile queen..."

    Quote Originally Posted by Chemguy View Post

    If it is nitrous oxide that does the trick, then the canisters would be a safer way to deliver it (no corrosives).

    Pete

    I speak chemistry, am learning to speak bee.
    Thanks Chemguy,

    If I was to experiment at all, I believe that the nitrous oxide cartridges would be my choice.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Nitrous oxide and virgin introduction... just curious.

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeCurious View Post
    "Works every time " really?

    The best acceptance rate reported by some forum members is about 70%.

    And according to L. E. Snelgrove, "The least favorable time for the introduction of a virgin queen is immediately after the removal a fertile queen..."
    .
    All the major queen guys do it the same. laying queen out, at least 3 hour wait (most go overnight) then new queen cell in. acceptance probably real close to 99% praticed over thousands of queen boxes.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Nitrous oxide and virgin introduction... just curious.

    Whippets for bees?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Nitrous oxide and virgin introduction... just curious.

    Maybe I got lucky here. Last time 4 got accepted and this time one got accepted.
    Two virgin disappeared cannot be found anywhere. Maybe they chewed them up, huh.
    But I got more hatching queens on its way. It is better to do more grafts than what you needed
    because some may not make it to the finish line. This is fun as I improve more on my queen
    grafting skills. Next month will be the real deal.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Nitrous oxide and virgin introduction... just curious.

    once i had a dozen cells that hatched out before we could throw them in, swirled them in a cup of water then poured the water on the bees and let the queen into the hive 15 seconds later, had a hundred percent of them mated when i came back to check

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Nitrous oxide and virgin introduction... just curious.

    That is very interesting. I thought my ideas are a bit weird but not.
    When you poured the water on the worker bees, they will get too wet. Can you
    use a water sprayer to mist the queen water on them? With so many bees on the
    different frames, how can I wet them all? Next time I will save all the queen cells cups. Even
    after days later the smell was still there that the bees crawl all over the wax cups. Very good another
    method to try next time.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Nitrous oxide and virgin introduction... just curious.

    i guess the idea was to get the smell of the queen in the water. i'm not sure how it worked exactly and it could have just been luck. i did it in smaller mating nucs i don't know how well it would work in larger hives

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Nitrous oxide and virgin introduction... just curious.

    I only use 2 to 3 frames max in a nuc hive. Actually, a 3 way medium nuc box.
    Either way they will take a big fat juicy virgin queen no problem. I think it has to
    do with her smell. It'll be interesting to compare with your method.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Nitrous oxide and virgin introduction... just curious.

    Quote Originally Posted by gmcharlie View Post
    All the major queen guys do it the same. laying queen out, at least 3 hour wait (most go overnight) then new queen cell in. acceptance probably real close to 99% praticed over thousands of queen boxes.
    "new queen cell in"

    The topic is the introduction of virgins...
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Nitrous oxide and virgin introduction... just curious.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mbeck View Post
    Whippets for bees?
    Possibly

    I with normally be receiving 18 virgins in 6 or 7 weeks. The three most mentioned techniques of introduction include the use of: heavy smoking, syrup spray, and honey dribbled over the queen. The use of cages doesn't seem popular. Apparently some people have used ammonium nitrate but that sounds harsh. Whippets might be interesting to try. I'll most likely use a combination aids...
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Nitrous oxide and virgin introduction... just curious.

    Forgive me if this is obvious, but I never try to requeen a full sized colony with a virgin, particularly one with some potential genetic significance. Make up a 5-frame nuc with lots of open brood and introduce your virgin there with a standard candy release cage, or a push-in cage works too, but over emerging brood. Lightly spray with a little very dilute HBH mixture prior to introduction to mask hive odors and your success should be pretty good. You can then recombine if desired.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Nitrous oxide and virgin introduction... just curious.

    I'm just thinking of nucs without open brood. My understanding is that there wouldn't be open brood in a naturally queenless colony... so a virgin appearing would be "natural".
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Nitrous oxide and virgin introduction... just curious.

    You may be right, but making the nucs with open brood has more to do with the passengers hanging on the frames than what may be most natural. Nurse bees giddy with that brood pheromone are not too focused on much else. Try a couple and see how it works. I've lost my share of virgins, so I know what won't work.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Nitrous oxide and virgin introduction... just curious.

    Nitrous oxide, applied from a whipped cream dispenser, doesn't seem to be a practical means of sedating bees.

    While introducing virgins into Queen Castles (and queen tenements) I experimented with the nitrous oxide. An entire cartridge of gas was discharged without any apparent effect. A second attempt was made with a two-cartridge dose and I don't believe there was any effect.

    Having read of the use of ammonium nitrate, I thought that "Whippets" could be a useful anesthesia for a couple of different beekeeping applications. For now, that doesn't seem to be the case.
    Last edited by BeeCurious; 06-29-2013 at 06:15 AM. Reason: Typo
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Nitrous oxide and virgin introduction... just curious.

    Quote Originally Posted by BeeCurious View Post
    Nitrous oxide, applied from a whipped cream dispenser, doesn't seem to be a practical means of sedating bees.

    While introducing virgins into Queen Castles (and queen tenements) I experimented with the nitrous oxide. An entire cartridge of gas was discharged without any apparent effect. A second attempt was made with a two-cartridge dose and I don't believe there was any effect.

    Having read of the use of ammonium nitrate, I thought that "Whippets" could be a useful anesthesia for a couple of different beekeeping applications. For now, that doesn't seem to be the case.
    If you want to sedate them, why not try CO2? That works for sure. I have not tried it in virgin introductions...yet...only on sedating queens for AI/II. But now, you made me curious and I will try it.
    CO2 is easy to get, set up should also be pretty easy. CO2 tank, regulator ( or not), and a hose to deliver the gas. Not sure how a bunch of sleepy bees, in a nuc would just fall on the bottom...sleep...and then could maybe never get up, because they get suffocated? Don't know, but again...I'll play with it one of these days. I'll let you know how that goes.
    I've been introducing virgin queens with no issues, to small, no more than two frames of capped/emerging brood, or even mini nucs that had their mated queen pulled out, by holding the virgins no less than 3 days in a cage, inside the nuc, and then, dip them in honey and release them. No issues with acceptance.
    Getting them mated and returning 100% is a different story. But, that is valid and the same for virgins emerging from a cell that was given to the nuc or hive that one wants to re queen.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Nitrous oxide and virgin introduction... just curious.

    Chemguy said: 10 g (1 tsp) ammonium nitrate produces up to 10.4 g (11 L) of pure nitrous oxide. A canister contains about 8 grams of the same gas, the same as 8.5 L once opened up and no longer under pressure.

    Hate to nitpick but N2O has a molecular weight of 44 g/M. Thus 10.4 g is about 1/4 mole. 1/4 of a mole has a gas volume of about 5 L.

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