Incubator queens?
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  1. #1
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    Default Incubator queens?

    I posted a little bit back about trying my new incubator and hatching cut out queen cells.It turned out great but now problems have started.They hatch and come out running but then die shortly.I had two hatch out a couple days ago and I put them in cages and into queenless hives.Went back to check and release and they are dead.Two hatched this morning and went to check on two more hives and remove all queen cells there and I came back in to get them and they had died in that short time.Others have hatched and I let the have a drop of syrup and they passed shortly also.The first batch worked really good but second batch not good at all.So far out of 28 on this batch 0 have made it over a few hours.Still have a few more that should be hatching shortly.Any suggestions?

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Incubator queens?

    That’s painful. Following to learn.

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Incubator queens?

    Why not simply place the cells in the hives / nucs?
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Incubator queens?

    Well it was working to where I had an endless supply of queens for all my needs and no guess work on wondering if the cell hatched in a nuc.I could hatch a bunch and then replace queens without waiting and using up resources on nucs.Worked really good to start with till now.Its like something in the incubator is killing them when they hatch out now.It will get a real good washing before the next batch starts.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Incubator queens?

    Do you have a humidity control?
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Incubator queens?

    I typically put the cells in a california cage and place them in a queenless hive just before they emerge (if I'm not just placing the cells in nucs). THey tend to take care of them better, though you still get some they don't take care of.

    If emerging in the incubator, be sure to feed them immediately. They are hungry when they first emerge and you will have much better success if they are fed. If necessary you can put a piece of candy in the bottom of the cage they are emerging in. That helps not only in the incubator, but when emerging in the hive. A drop of honey may work better, but I have had some that manage to get themselves all covered.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Incubator queens?

    I've not used an incubator thus far, but plan to - but from researching this method I've learned that supplying feed is absolutely essential (obviously), and one tip I've read is to place a single nurse bee in each cage to ensure that the emerging virgin makes initial contact with that food.
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Incubator queens?

    I have fed right as hatching,added syrup to the upside down nicot queen cut and watched them drink from it.Humidity is at recommended.Temp is 94.1. The only thing I havent done is add a young nurse bee and that will be next.

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Incubator queens?

    I can't find the source of the tip I read re: inserting a nurse bee in the roller cage - but here are two similar links:

    http://www.sbai.org.uk/sbai_forum/sh...ight=incubator

    Post #76: "I mix runny honey with fondant to make a thickish paste.
    2 days is long enough in the roller if there are no attendants."
    Must stress that I have never done this myself - but it sounds sensible.
    LJ


    FOUND IT:

    https://www.beekeepingforums.com/thr...-queens.11233/

    AND ....
    http://www.sbai.org.uk/sbai_forum/sh...-cell-hatching
    post #1: "I recently grafted 15 larvae into cell cups. Eleven of the grafts formed good looking queen cells that were transferred to hair curler cages and kept in an incubator. Of the three queens that hatched, two died after a couple of hours and one survived."

    post #9: "... the virgins seem to be fine in a roller cage in the incubator for a few days as long as they have food.
    Even better if you put in a few attendants."
    Last edited by little_john; 07-27-2018 at 10:48 AM.
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Incubator queens?

    Feeding them is one thing I do.Using the nicot hair roller stuff I use the cell cups for a few drops of syrup.I see them hatch and go down and drink from it also.The only thing that I know I havent done is add a nurse bee or two to the roller cages before hatching and thats what I will try next batch.I know one thing.A two deep with the top deep removed and all the bees go back to the bottom so it is crowded with bees will make a ton of queen cells!!!

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Incubator queens?

    Quote Originally Posted by tarheit View Post
    I typically put the cells in a california cage and place them in a queenless hive just before they emerge (if I'm not just placing the cells in nucs). THey tend to take care of them better, though you still get some they don't take care of.

    If emerging in the incubator, be sure to feed them immediately. They are hungry when they first emerge and you will have much better success if they are fed. If necessary you can put a piece of candy in the bottom of the cage they are emerging in. That helps not only in the incubator, but when emerging in the hive. A drop of honey may work better, but I have had some that manage to get themselves all covered.
    Excellent advice.

    I believe that incubators are often over used. I use mine quite a bit, but it is to improve throughput in the cell builder, not as a holding area of freshly emerged queens. I've found that letting cells emerge in incubators can be very tough on queens. The longer she's in it the greater the toll. When I REALLY need to get queens emerged and confined, I do exactly as Tarheit suggests and let them emerge in a queenless nuc. Honestly, unless you're making a lot of queens and your schedule demands such precision, I think you'd be much better planting cells, or at least using a queenless nuc.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Incubator queens?

    I have started using my incubator for replacement queens.I can put in queen and not have to worry if it is going to hatch or not.I can remove a queen then put in a caged queen.Saves a lot of time and guesswork.I am not trying to save queens in an incubator just hatching them.I am tarting to wonder if there is something on my cages or the incubator that is killing them.Hatched 3 two days ago and placed in JZBZ cages and put in hives right after hatched.Two got a dab of syrup and the third a dab of honey.This morning I looked and all dead in cages in hives.

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Incubator queens?

    I think something is wrong is wrong with your incubator ! I have a homemade incubator out of a small fridge and never lose hatched queens .. What is your temp and humidity? Mine never gets above 95 degrees and stays around 48 to 69 percent humidity depending on how much water I put on the sponges .

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Incubator queens?

    Mine is set at 94.1 and humidity 48 to 75 percent and thats like you say depending on the water.Problem isnt so much hatching its the queens dying right afterwards.They come out good and lively.I first thought something wrong with the syrup so made some more and same problem.Then tried honey and same problem.Then straight from hatching to queenless hives and still dying.Kind of like some ant and roach residue on my cages or something.Everything gets washed on next batch,incubator,cages and all.Even the table the incubator sits on.

  16. #15
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    Default Re: Incubator queens?

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper1d View Post
    Mine is set at 94.1 and humidity 48 to 75 percent and thats like you say depending on the water.Problem isnt so much hatching its the queens dying right afterwards.They come out good and lively.I first thought something wrong with the syrup so made some more and same problem.Then tried honey and same problem.Then straight from hatching to queenless hives and still dying.Kind of like some ant and roach residue on my cages or something.Everything gets washed on next batch,incubator,cages and all.Even the table the incubator sits on.
    94.1??
    How are you verifying this? Anything less than a lab grade incubator is going to swing by several degrees. And that's assuming the control readout is anywhere near accurate.
    Last edited by Josh Peal; 08-02-2018 at 06:19 AM.

  17. #16
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    Default Re: Incubator queens?

    Snapper1, Josh and I talked about some of this about two months ago. Ok, he talked, I listened and asked questions. Check out the conversation here.
    https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...g-a-Queen-Cell
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  18. #17
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    Default Re: Incubator queens?

    JW I have read about keeping them at 93 to 95 so I took the middle with the 94. I will have some ready about the 8th and I will try them on 92 and see how they do when they hatch.Just like everything I do everything starts out perfect the first time and goes down hill after that.The first batch turned out perfect and thrilled the heck out of me.

  19. #18
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    Default Re: Incubator queens?

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    A couple of comments re: that thread (which I'd not read before now):

    The easiest way to reduce a 600W heater to 50W or less is to use an 'AC Universal Motor Controller' ex China, ex Ebay. These are essentially souped-up dimmer switches, usually rated at around 2KW - but I wouldn't trust 'em with more than a 1KW load. Better of course to use a more appropriately sized heater in the first place, but sometimes we just need to work with what's available ...
    Simply wind the Motor Controller setting down until the Heater Controller operates at near-enough 50% ON/ 50% OFF to give the optimal wattage for a system using an ON-OFF controller.


    I was a little concerned to read: "Notice the excess royal jelly; this is what you're after. Not an obscene amount of leftover but more than enough that you know she has yet to be hungry for a moment of her life."
    Now I appreciate the spirit in which this was written, but there's an implication within that wording that the remaining Royal Jelly can be viewed as a convenient food source for the newly emerged queen. Royal Jelly was placed in the q/cell only to feed the growing larva, and during pupation the developing queen positions itself such as to eventually leave the q/cell head-first. If the queen should subsequently re-enter the vacated queen-cell in order to consume what's left of that Royal Jelly, then there's a very good chance she may not be able to back out again afterwards. For that reason, it has become standard practice to provide food external to the q/cell, and the q/cell itself crushed or removed as soon as practicable.

    Apologises if I'm "teaching my grandmother to suck eggs."
    LJ
    A Heretics Guide to Beekeeping http://heretics-guide.atwebpages.com/

  20. #19
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    Default Re: Incubator queens?

    Quote Originally Posted by little_john View Post
    A couple of comments re: that thread (which I'd not read before now):

    The easiest way to reduce a 600W heater to 50W or less is to use an 'AC Universal Motor Controller' ex China, ex Ebay. These are essentially souped-up dimmer switches, usually rated at around 2KW - but I wouldn't trust 'em with more than a 1KW load. Better of course to use a more appropriately sized heater in the first place, but sometimes we just need to work with what's available ...
    Simply wind the Motor Controller setting down until the Heater Controller operates at near-enough 50% ON/ 50% OFF to give the optimal wattage for a system using an ON-OFF controller.


    I was a little concerned to read: "Notice the excess royal jelly; this is what you're after. Not an obscene amount of leftover but more than enough that you know she has yet to be hungry for a moment of her life."
    Now I appreciate the spirit in which this was written, but there's an implication within that wording that the remaining Royal Jelly can be viewed as a convenient food source for the newly emerged queen. Royal Jelly was placed in the q/cell only to feed the growing larva, and during pupation the developing queen positions itself such as to eventually leave the q/cell head-first. If the queen should subsequently re-enter the vacated queen-cell in order to consume what's left of that Royal Jelly, then there's a very good chance she may not be able to back out again afterwards. For that reason, it has become standard practice to provide food external to the q/cell, and the q/cell itself crushed or removed as soon as practicable.

    Apologises if I'm "teaching my grandmother to suck eggs."
    LJ
    The video is of a queen cell that has not emerged. I'm certainly not implying that I intended for the queen to consume the royal jelly after emerging. I believe you're misinterpreting rather.

  21. #20
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    Default Re: Incubator queens?

    Quote Originally Posted by snapper1d View Post
    Mine is set at 94.1

    My guess is that your temperature is too high. I set mine at 92 and put the probe right next to the cells. Like others, I'm using the Ranco controller and set it to the minimum of 1 degree F differential.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

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