I have used the following three instruments at Sue Cobey of the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility.
Schley: This is Porsche of the II equipment. Made of plated brass with the exception of the sting forceps. Very adjustable and will hold your adjustments once you make them. It is the instrument of choice if you do not have the hands of a surgeon. The down side is it is very expensive. Around $2,000 the last time I checked.
Mackensen: Is the grand daddy of the modern Schley and is very simple and easy to use. Unfortunately it is no longer manufactured.
Latshaw: Is a semi-freehand instrument. A hand held tweezers is used to position the stinger while you insert the insemination tip. Some say you can inseminate quicker with this instrument, but you must have steady hands. Is a more affordable than the Schley.
Harbo Syringe: This is an optional piece of equipment but is highly desirable. Allows very fine control of the amount of semen administer without looking at the equipment. This is done by twisting the end of the plunger that screws in and you can feel a click for every micro liter of semen. You just count the clicks.
If you are interested in making your own equipment I have two articles on my web page.
Magnet-man - "you must have steady hands" - This is a common misconception. Tilly Kuhnert and Harry Laidlaw, two very well respected and experienced inseminators, actually found otherwise. Please see (Kuhnert, M.E. and H.H. Laidlaw. 1994. Simplified apparatus for instrumental insemination of queen bees with the flexible insemination techinque. Apidologie 25: 144-154)
I learned to inseminate queens using a Mackensen, then a Schley and then the flexible insemination technique described by Kuhnert and Laidlaw. I think each instrument requires a certain level of fine motor skills, but agree the flexible insemination technique is the easiest and most efficient, but I am a little biased.
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