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Incubator temperature fluctuations


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As part of the experimenting when I set up my own incubator I ran a temperature probe in a broodnest to find out for myself what the temperatures are.   The temperature did fluctuate by more

I get perfect temperature and humidity control by just leaving the cells in the cell raiser. You don't even need a power supply.

With our Cell Building System, we graft every 3 days, cells go into the Incubator on Day 8 from grafting, and go out  late on Day 10. We use Caricells to put cells out, but they are only plugged in on

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On 8/09/2018 at 7:52 PM, Alastair said:

Also CBank, if you work a lot with PID controllers, would you be able to recommend a good quality one suitable for running an incubator?

 

Sorry, somehow I missed this. I can’t recommend a good one as the ones I use are within cabinets that control temps for drugs and the actual brain is very hidden from the user.

I had thought (completely inaccurately) that a PID just monitored the temp then turned on heat when it was too low or too high. I made a raspberry pi do this quite easily. However I am now fractionally better informed - my solution would produce a ripple in temp levels, which the PID cabinets dont.

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For what its worth - here is my data.  This is over about a 2-day period.  Incubator is a re-purposed fridge which is well insulated.  Door of fridge is filled with 1.5L soda bottles filled with water to provide some thermal mass.  Data logger was kindly assembled by @Rob Stockley and was v useful for getting the system sorted.  One of the things I learned was that temp was reasonably easy to get right, drops quickly when you open the door, but then also comes back up to temp quickly.  Humidity is a different beast - drops quickly when you open the door and takes some time (hours from memory) to come back up to desired (about 80%).  My humidity is simply a single open ice cream container kept filled with water, which in my system gives about the right result. My heating element and controller was supplied by Dobsons in Hawkers Bay - Expensive piece of kit but well proven and does the job extremely well.

 

Per their site:

 

  • 230 volt electronic digital temperature control unit

 with preset temperature and monitoring gauge, PT 100 sensor & cables.  

This unit is extremely accurate; uses very little power, and can be relied on to give years of safe trouble free service.

 

https://www.carricell.com/cabinet-incubator-kit

 

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Humidity  is as important or even more than temperature if you have a dish of water  near the heat source it doesn't matter even if a 2 to 3 degress flux in temp no harm will come to the cells . this is why old fridges make the best incubators. chose one that the tray guides are the width of frames  so straight out of the hive  other than brushing the bees off in they go . mount to basic light bulb sockets down the bottom with enough room for a dish of water. add a egg thermostat  . all done .60 watt bulbs are the normally the go. super sensitive thermostat sound great but it also means a lot more off on hence blown bulbs.

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10 hours ago, ozbee said:

Humidity  is as important or even more than temperature if you have a dish of water  near the heat source it doesn't matter even if a 2 to 3 degress flux in temp no harm will come to the cells . this is why old fridges make the best incubators. chose one that the tray guides are the width of frames  so straight out of the hive  other than brushing the bees off in they go . mount to basic light bulb sockets down the bottom with enough room for a dish of water. add a egg thermostat  . all done .60 watt bulbs are the normally the go. super sensitive thermostat sound great but it also means a lot more off on hence blown bulbs.

I disagree,  accurate temperature control is very important if you want consistent results.  If you drop 2 to 3 degrees below 34 from time to time, no big deal, just maybe some delay in hatching, but 2 to 3 degree spikes above 34 is not good.  It is like saying with your own body, 40 degrees is nothing to worry about!  Every degree above normal is a big deal, even for a short time.

 

Forget fridges and lightbulbs, look for something  purpose built that gives you accurate, very reliable temp. and hopefully humidity control.  If you are serious about cell quality, don't risk it with a dodgy incubator. The incubator I have had for almost 20 years, has never let me down, and gives temp. control to +/- 1 degree to every square inch of the incubator.  For humidity control, I just played around with the surface area of water containers, and found an 2L ice cream container gave the perfect surface area for just under 70% RH.   

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12 minutes ago, David Yanke said:

but 2 to 3 degree spikes above 34 is not good

Hi David = Wholly agree.

 

What type of incubator do you use?

 

Crikey, I have just noted I have become a guard bee.  That's a worry, they are the grumpy ones.  

Edited by Maggie James
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9 minutes ago, Maggie James said:

Hi David = Wholly agree.

 

What type of incubator do you use?

 

Crikey, I have just noted I have become a guard bee.  That's a worry, they are the grumpy ones.  

My mind is just drawing a blank at the  moment, so I will have to get it for you off the incubator tomorrow. Wow, Guard Bee, I wonder if some day I will be a Guard Bee too?  I am grumpy enough already!

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11 hours ago, olbe said:

we noticed that David 

 

 

11 hours ago, David Yanke said:

My mind is just drawing a blank at the  moment, so I will have to get it for you off the incubator tomorrow. Wow, Guard Bee, I wonder if some day I will be a Guard Bee too?  I am grumpy enough already!

 

What?  That @David Yanke mind is blank or he is grumpy.

 

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14 hours ago, David Yanke said:

If you drop 2 to 3 degrees below 34 from time to time, no big deal, just maybe some delay in hatching, but 2 to 3 degree spikes above 34 is not good.  It is like saying with your own body, 40 degrees is nothing to worry about!  Every degree above normal is a big deal, even for a short time.

 

My limited experience is in placing out ripe cells 24 to 72 hours prior to emerging. Using cheap light cell carriers (as per a philbee thread on the forum) without water bottles nor plates of steel they don't have any thermal mass to speak of. As a result the temperature of the floor heating element goes up to 40C peaks. The actual air temp around the cells doesn't but easily could exceed 3 deg. For these ripe cells we have never lost one. My conclusion is that during the final few days prior to emerging that precision temperature control becomes far less critical. Temperature control might be much more critical during other stages such as pupation (say).

 

I could easily include thermal mass to obtain a more constant temperature, but it does not seem to be a problem that needs solving. Using an old tea towel that has been freshly soaked in water and then squeezed out is probably near enough for 48 hours, so you might be able to shame me into a concession along those lines. What is the point of spending $600 on a carrier to get the cells from the incubator to the hive with no temperature read out if $150 works perfectly and has a temperature display?

 

Do you disagree or are willing to give other comments?

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21 hours ago, David Yanke said:

My mind is just drawing a blank at the  moment, so I will have to get it for you off the incubator tomorrow. Wow, Guard Bee, I wonder if some day I will be a Guard Bee too?  I am grumpy enough already!

IMG_0852.thumb.jpg.08a3b07beb04bc10fac3ecd13baa32c8.jpg

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21 hours ago, David Yanke said:

My mind is just drawing a blank at the  moment, so I will have to get it for you off the incubator tomorrow. Wow, Guard Bee, I wonder if some day I will be a Guard Bee too?  I am grumpy enough already!

Sadly, I think Contherm might have closed down.  Tried to also post a pic of the Incubator itself, but was told I had breached my 2Mb limit.  Will try again 

Just now, David Yanke said:

IMG_0852.thumb.jpg.08a3b07beb04bc10fac3ecd13baa32c8.jpg

 

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22 hours ago, Maggie James said:

Hi David = Wholly agree.

 

What type of incubator do you use?

 

Crikey, I have just noted I have become a guard bee.  That's a worry, they are the grumpy ones.  

 

IMG_0849.jpg

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14 minutes ago, David Yanke said:

 

IMG_0849.jpg

With our Cell Building System, we graft every 3 days, cells go into the Incubator on Day 8 from grafting, and go out  late on Day 10. We use Caricells to put cells out, but they are only plugged in on the way to the Nuc yards, don't mind the temp. dropping away as we put out cells, even if it takes an hour or so.  We sometimes put cells out on the morning of Day 11, but sometimes during the season, or depending on the incubator setting, you can have the odd virgin hatch after lunch on Day 11.

 

As for Incubator accuracy, Honey Bees have evolved to have very precise thermal regulation within the Brood Nest, there must be a reason, and if it is important to them, it is important to me.

Edited by David Yanke
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Haha David ..... I see you are still only a pupa .... better stay in there incubator a bit longer .....

 But seriously .... why not leave the cells in an incubator hive rather than going to the expense of making an artificial one ?

 Convenience ?

Maggie talked about it at her tutorial , how cells emerge a day or so later from the incubator ..... I wonder if it's about the resonance and hum of the hive that they miss.

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26 minutes ago, jamesc said:

Haha David ..... I see you are still only a pupa .... better stay in there incubator a bit longer .....

 But seriously .... why not leave the cells in an incubator hive rather than going to the expense of making an artificial one ?

 Convenience ?

Maggie talked about it at her tutorial , how cells emerge a day or so later from the incubator ..... I wonder if it's about the resonance and hum of the hive that they miss.

Gets them out of the Cell Builders, gets them away from Rogue Virgins, actually saves having another group of cells builders. There is quite a bit of resonance from the fan! You can manipulate emergence time with temperature setting.

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34 minutes ago, jamesc said:

Maggie talked about it at her tutorial , how cells emerge a day or so later from the incubator ..... I wonder if it's about the resonance and hum of the hive that they miss.

 

That is an issue only if the incubator is set up wrong.

 

I doubt that David and some of the other pros would have such issues.

 

I also found that queens whose hatch time was delayed by badly tuned incubator were not as vigorous, and best I could tell given the other variables, tended towards lower mating %.

 

 

Edited by Alastair
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We have  a Carricell ......   pop the cells in in the morning and use them that day.

I am always a bit dubious of the cells quality after they have  been left in overnight .... particularly if the truck battery is flat in the morning !

 

When we were up north we used to get cells from JD down in Hawkes Bay.   He had a neat system of placing them in a polystyrene box with a couple of hot water bottles under the foam.

We copied that a bit later and used to fly cells up from ChCh to Rotorua with Air NZ , recharge the hot  water  when they arrived and using  the cells the next day.

 

It was always a stressful time .

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I think the biggest issue with most people with Day 9+ cells in the carricell is that they get heat on the carricell.  At that age, unless we have sleet or snow the day i want to put out, I don't bother plugging in the carricell.  Day 9+ cells are a lot more durable than most people give them credit for.

 

People have rocked up for cells using the polystyrene box, with hotties under the foam, and for their operation this seems ok.  I guess that the biggest issue could be too much heat, which is difficult to regulate.    

 

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5 hours ago, Maggie James said:

I think the biggest issue with most people with Day 9+ cells in the carricell is that they get heat on the carricell.  At that age, unless we have sleet or snow the day i want to put out, I don't bother plugging in the carricell.  Day 9+ cells are a lot more durable than most people give them credit for.

 

People have rocked up for cells using the polystyrene box, with hotties under the foam, and for their operation this seems ok.  I guess that the biggest issue could be too much heat, which is difficult to regulate.    

 

A polystyrene box is all I use when putting cells out. I fill a 2L milk bottle with warm water (around 35 degrees is fine when it goes in) which sits beside the foam. I tested the temperature inside the box when I first started using it and it holds it pretty well. Unless it is a cold day the temp inside the polystyrene box is still around 25 degrees after much of the day sitting on the passenger seat in the ute. 

Overall it holds the temperature just fine. The insulation works both ways. If left in the sun inside the ute it takes a long time to get warmer inside the box.

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