Does temporary, high co2 exposure negatively affect the development of queen larvae?
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  1. #1
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    Default Does temporary, high co2 exposure negatively affect the development of queen larvae?

    Greetings fellow beekeepers,

    This is a first for me so wish me luck:
    I am considering taking my little queen production operation to the next level and would like to eliminate the tedious step of brushing off the bees from the frames after the cells are capped, prior to introducing them in the incubator. Forgive my ignorance but would exposing the capped cells to enough co2 to knock down the nursing bees have any adverse effect on the developing queen larvae?

    Also on the subject - for regular co2 operations - is it preferable a low or high-flow gas rate, lower or upper point/s of entry would be advisable and are multiple points of entry in the gassing chamber beneficial? Would one continue to run the gas for tens of seconds or minutes after the last bee dropped off and is there a correlation between those seconds/minutes and the time interval the bees are subsequently inactive? Finally, would vaporizing the bees (with Oxalic acid) prior to their co2 exposure bee too much for the poor creatures?

    There is rather scarce information on the subject and I am grateful for any answers addressing the above even partially.
    Thank you for your time!

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Does temporary, high co2 exposure negatively affect the development of queen larv

    I don't have any answers to the OP's question, but I am bumping this thread to the top of the queue as the "system" put this thread in the "moderated" group last night, making it non-viewable to forum readers.

    I'm not sure why that happened.
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Does temporary, high co2 exposure negatively affect the development of queen larv

    There are many tedious steps in queen rearing, but IMO brushing bees off the cell bars is pretty far down the list. I would hesitate exposing capped queen cells to CO2. Queen cells are permeable and CO2 has a quick and strong effect on bees. Seems like an unnecessary risk with minimal reward.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Does temporary, high co2 exposure negatively affect the development of queen larv

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBee View Post
    There are many tedious steps in queen rearing, but IMO brushing bees off the cell bars is pretty far down the list. I would hesitate exposing capped queen cells to CO2. Queen cells are permeable and CO2 has a quick and strong effect on bees. Seems like an unnecessary risk with minimal reward.
    I am getting close to accepting that my queen cell starter formed strictly of nursing bees will end its' purpose after the second day/run. The plan on that last day was to combine the task of removing the bees from the cell bars with that of recycling them via mating nucs.

    Hopefully I will get some feedback on whether gassing should continue for x/y seconds (if at all necessary) after the last bee has fallen asleep but (if employable) in this operation I could perhaps limit to the very minimum the co2 exposure. As you pointed out the exposure is there but I was hoping that current data or educated speculation would incline towards a negligible risk. Regardless of how marginal for me no simplification is (here goes again) too negligible.
    Thank you very much for contributing!
    Last edited by pomicultorul; 02-07-2020 at 12:54 AM.

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Does temporary, high co2 exposure negatively affect the development of queen larv

    I came across some video that showed quite heavy smoking to get the bees off the capped and ripe cells. Usually we hear of them being treated with much greater respect but perhaps unnecessarily in some cases. For the length of time required I doubt much CO2 exchange would occur. Bees in cluster are exposed to some very high exposure levels; In terms of what a mammal could tolerate, amazing levels.
    Frank

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Does temporary, high co2 exposure negatively affect the development of queen larv

    Quote Originally Posted by crofter View Post
    For the length of time required I doubt much CO2 exchange would occur. Bees in cluster are exposed to some very high exposure levels;
    My experience with using CO2 for queen bee narcosis during instrumental insemination is that pure CO2 is HIGHLY effective and a very rapid response is achieved. Typically, far less than 10 seconds and the queen is totally immobilized. The concentration in a cluster is likely much lower. I have no idea what the flux of CO2 through a queen cell would be. I suspect it would be low and the duration required to achieve the intended response should be short, so the likely total dose to the developing queen would be small (all this is speculation - so take it as such!!).


    Once as an experiment, with the goal of collecting a large number of bees to populate mating nucs I used CO2 on a 2-story nuc (5 over 5). I sealed it up pretty well and applied the CO2. Much to my disbelief, VERY few bees were knocked out. I applied more CO2 and still could not achieve the intended response. I suspect even small gaps prevented concentrations from getting high enough to be effective. So to the OP, I would strongly suggest a small, special purpose, single frame box that is very well sealed to make it more likely to quickly reach the needed concentrations. That said, in my experiment above, the few bees that were immobilized didn't drop to the bottom, they instead were more like bees found in deadouts - kind of linked together.

    However, I still strongly suggest simply using a bee brush
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Does temporary, high co2 exposure negatively affect the development of queen larv

    I wonder if one of those little cans of CO2 used to blow off computer keyboards would serve the dual purpose of knocking the bees both off and out?
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Does temporary, high co2 exposure negatively affect the development of queen larv

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    I wonder if one of those little cans of CO2 used to blow off computer keyboards would serve the dual purpose of knocking the bees both off and out?
    JW; I really doubt they are CO2. It has too high a vapor pressure for that thin a container. I have a can of Super Duster in my hand; it says Chlorodiflouromethane MSDS says not to snort it.
    Frank

  10. #9
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    Default Re: Does temporary, high co2 exposure negatively affect the development of queen larv

    Oops, blasting your bees with Freon, probably not a good idea. Could still use CO2, but a tank, regulator, hose, and blow gun would set you back around $300 US. I once sold a fellow doing II a setup that included an E sized tank and pediatric flowmeter. I think he was doing around .25 LPM, about the lowest flow rate possible.
    Thankfully, the bees are smarter than I am. They are doing well, in spite of my efforts to help them.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Does temporary, high co2 exposure negatively affect the development of queen larv

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBee View Post

    Once as an experiment, with the goal of collecting a large number of bees to populate mating nucs I used CO2 on a 2-story nuc (5 over 5)...

    However, I still strongly suggest simply using a bee brush
    Well, it seems that we are going in the right direction! A few more like this and our only concern will be the repurposing of those bee brushes. It is precisely this kind of practical feedback that I was looking for! There are only two (obscure) examples that I know off which however vaguely do give away some bits of information - though nothing on gassing the larvae:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2BuZdflRGc
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7G8jU1Ma_m4
    (Those bees are indeed clingy!)

    Unless you operated a grossly undersized CO2 tank, your 5 over 5 frames experiment fully answers my flow intensity question, I'll be flying off their roof! Whatever maximum that CO2 regulator of mine will generate they'll get - at least on the medium to large containers. Your experiment also suggests that, for greater efficiency, different size gassing chambers will be in order to adapt to the frames size or bee volume. I guess I will also have to build one of each with a see-through wall until I settle on some average CO2 exposure time for each volume.

    Now, on the point/s of entry question: The Malka people - Good bless Martin Braunstein for he has inspired me so much (the first link that is) - are introducing the CO2 through the... bottom; isn't that pure convenience and proof of the bees' high plasticity level to which Frank/crofter eluded to earlier? Here I am crazy enough to dream of installing small fans to homogenize the newly introduced CO2 and prevent bee harm by reducing the sedation time between the first and the last bee while the masters of the trade seem to care less about the issue. As it was said earlier, those bees sure seem to be resilient!

    While some to go, I think we made great progress and want to thank you all for this and future contributions.
    Dear Astro-friend, there is not much above to suggest that I am open-minded but, as luck would have it, here is what I just recently purchased - I hope the picture loads up, never done this before: (Frankly, the acquisition was made before I opened this topic for discussion but maybe I get a free ride!)
    Thank you all!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by pomicultorul; 02-08-2020 at 03:54 AM.

  12. #11
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    Default Re: Does temporary, high co2 exposure negatively affect the development of queen larv

    pomicultorul,

    Actually, the first youtube link that you provided was the inspiration for my 5 over 5 nuc experiment. Not sure why my experiment failed, perhaps I simply didn't wait long enough, or that I didn't have an adequate seal. I see that they waited over 15 minutes, and I was far less.

    Please keep us posted on what you learn. BTW, nice bee brushes
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  13. #12
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    Default Re: Does temporary, high co2 exposure negatively affect the development of queen larv

    Quote Originally Posted by JWPalmer View Post
    Oops, blasting your bees with Freon, probably not a good idea. Could still use CO2, but a tank, regulator, hose, and blow gun would set you back around $300 US. I once sold a fellow doing II a setup that included an E sized tank and pediatric flowmeter. I think he was doing around .25 LPM, about the lowest flow rate possible.

    A large paintball gun tank + adapter + regulator works pretty well (reasonably priced and easily refilled) See homebrew stores. This is what I used for my II work.
    Horseshoe Point Honey -- http://localvahoney.com/

  14. #13
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    Default Re: Does temporary, high co2 exposure negatively affect the development of queen larv

    Interesting thread.
    A small thought: If you “blow” co2, you will entrain air and get a variable concentration of co2 depending on the size of the discharge hose. If you put a hose in a sealed nuc the agitation of the gas should mix it without worrying about uneven co2 levels in the box (I would think.)
    In the videos I have seen of II, the queen’s abdomen is in a tube so the co2 won’t mix with the room air as much when she is gassed.
    On the other hand a co2 fire extinguisher would really immobilize the bees. Frozen, that is.

  15. #14
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    Default Re: Does temporary, high co2 exposure negatively affect the development of queen larv

    Quote Originally Posted by AstroBee View Post
    pomicultorul,

    Actually, the first youtube link that you provided was the inspiration for my 5 over 5 nuc experiment. Not sure why my experiment failed, perhaps I simply didn't wait long enough, or that I didn't have an adequate seal. I see that they waited over 15 minutes, and I was far less.

    Please keep us posted on what you learn. BTW, nice bee brushes
    I saw that but decided to ignore it; it can't really be 15 minutes for a even box of that size. That suggests a very low gas flow and I don't see a need for that in this instance unless it is decelerated to allow for bee processing while a new batch is "cooking". They run a huge outfit over there and no doubt efficiently so I quite firmly believe that they can go through this process with much greater speed without deploying additional equipment.

    I hear nothing of a connection between the speed at which bees are put to sleep and the length of time they are out so unless this is a variable I don't see why the same job cannot be done in perhaps a third of the time suggested in the Malka Queens video. If a concern, high CO2 pressure can be dissipated through splitters and multiple hoses and the gas will reach the critical concentration much faster. You and others put virgins and small batches of bees to sleep within seconds (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIHexu7M5wI) so why should it be any different for larger packages?

    I am still hoping that somewhere on this forum there is a White Prince/CO2 expert who after had his/her fill laughing at our struggle will in something like a New York minute write a small paragraph providing all the answers to those questions. Until then though, let's struggle some more.
    Thank you!

    (Those brushes are not "hairy" but two dollars for each is all I had left after paying for that CO2 equipment; by the way, JWPalmer was right on the mark with the price!)

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