Incubator temperature
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
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    Hampton Arkansas
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    Default Incubator temperature

    What is the best temperature and humidity setting for incubating queen cells.

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
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    Default Re: Incubator temperature

    For an interesting discussion on this topic see:
    https://www.beesource.com/forums/sho...ng+queen+cells

    Josh shared a good bit of his wisdom on using incubators.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Lima, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    760

    Default Re: Incubator temperature

    I usually run my incubator at 94 degrees and haven't had any problems. I've used everything from a nuc box with light bulbs as the heat source (be sure the cells aren't directly lit by the bulbs or they could overheat), to heat pads and ceramic heaters in much larger enclosures, including an old fridge. I lucked into a large lab incubator on craigslist a few years ago and have been using that since. It's large enough to place a full super in so that I can place full frames of cells in it.

    One thing to note on the heat. In small boxes, such as a small 5 frame nuc box, you may not need a fan. But with larger incubators the temperature difference within the incubator can be more than a couple of degrees and a small fan is neede for even heat.

    That said, cells can take quite a range of temperatures and overheating is more damaging than lower temperatures. You can actually lower the temperature to delay development which can be useful when the weather isn't coorperating and you need just a bit more time.

    Humidity is important, but I don't think it's not as big a deal as the temperature. You don't want too low humidity or the pupae will loose too much weight, too high humidity will cause mold and mildew to grow. If I had to guess, I'd say 60-70% is probably ideal. On the higher side but low enough to discurage mold and mildew. The reason why I say 'guess' is that I simply use an open pan of water in the incubator (currently a 2 frame wide shallow frame feeder in my lab incubator). This has worked well for many, many years so I haven't seen the need to change what is working. It's also simple. To get any fancier, one would need to add a humidifier or dehumidifier to it and I've honestly never seen anyone that needed to go that far.

    -Tim

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Pleasant Hope, Missouri
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Incubator temperature

    i've never done it but just set mine up tonight. i'm running 3 different thermometers all running between 94.1 and 94.6 f right now. i read some research papers showing honeybee brood (workers not queens) would hatch just fine even at 89 degrees but it did take a little longer and they were not nearly as good of bees in the long run. they did normal hive work just fine until they aged to foragers and either wouldn't return from orientation flights and when they did become foragers they had a harder time learning to return to nectar sources and doing waggle dances. in worker brood the best temp for max development was 34.5 c (94 f) a safe range was around 92-96 f if i remember right. outside of either of these they start to decline. i can't say for sure, but i suspect, the queen would benefit from the same temp as the rest of the brood.

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    NW Florida
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    1,120

    Default Re: Incubator temperature

    OP I hope it is okay that I jump in. My incubator was reading between 94-95 last night, six hours later it is at 88. Based on what you guys are posting, is it correct that they should survive that and with correction, be okay?
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Aylett, Virginia
    Posts
    3,262

    Default Re: Incubator temperature

    Learned a new incubator tip the hard way today.

    Tip. Cover your water pan with hardware cloth.

    Had 5 queens emerge from their cells today. I found two of them drowned in the water pan. Uhggg. I guess they crawled out of a gap between the qc and the hair roller cage and fell into the pan below. These are all cut out cells, not grafts, so their shape is a bit irregular. I expect several more in the next day. Going to be busy making mating nucs come Wednesday. Thermometers all read 93, so this temp is working for me.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    NW Florida
    Posts
    1,120

    Default Re: Incubator temperature

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Learned a new incubator tip the hard way today.

    Tip. Cover your water pan with hardware cloth.

    Had 5 queens emerge from their cells today. I found two of them drowned in the water pan. Uhggg. I guess they crawled out of a gap between the qc and the hair roller cage and fell into the pan below. These are all cut out cells, not grafts, so their shape is a bit irregular. I expect several more in the next day. Going to be busy making mating nucs come Wednesday. Thermometers all read 93, so this temp is working for me.
    Sorry to hear that. Good advise. Thanks!
    Beek since 2016: Hardiness Zone 9a: in NW Florida

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Auckland,Auckland,New Zealand
    Posts
    9,899

    Default Re: Incubator temperature

    Quote Originally Posted by Jadeguppy View Post
    OP I hope it is okay that I jump in. My incubator was reading between 94-95 last night, six hours later it is at 88. Based on what you guys are posting, is it correct that they should survive that and with correction, be okay?
    Too much of a swing in my view, you have low quality equipment. The queen larvae may well survive, but the quality of them is going to be affected.
    "Thinking Inside The Box"

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