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Talk About Your Queen Cell Incubator


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Well if Frazz is having problems with the PID, the one Johnhi30 made for me is awesome maybe you could sell her one John?

 

Any photos, circuit diagram, success story of the finished product from @@Alastair and @@johnhi30 ?
OK well don't ask me for a circuit diagram! But below is a pic of the incubator. You can see a frame of queen cells hanging in it, some fans, the temperature probe, the heat lamp, and a plastic water container.

 

It has been an awesome incubator, mainly due to the excellent job Johnhi30 did making the PID, which holds the temperature rock solid to within 0.01 degree.

 

The only issue I THOUGHT there might be with the incubator was when the bees were rejecting some queen cells. But after some investigation and some laboratory work by JohnF, it turned out some of my cell raisers had high virus levels, I have switched to different cell raisers & the rejection problem has gone away so don't think it was the incubator.

 

incubator_zps051684d3.jpg

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Carricells can be problematic at times. I have two of the large units and often when we are putting out cells we have day time temps below 10 degrees. I always test the warmth of cells against my lips to see if they are being kept warm. Sometimes they feel cold! One carricell is about 30yrs old and we have a newer one. Both seemed to have difficulty at times keeping the cells warm. This past spring we kept the battery voltage in the trucks up to full capacity by putting them on a battery charger every night. This was the advice from a Auto Electrical specialist.

Alternators on vehicles do not maintain a 100% charge. Did not notice a problem with cells feeling cold once we paid more attention to the power supply.

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We are also upgrading our cell incubator as it has finally come to the end of many years of service. We are having silicone heat pads made up especially for this application. Wires embedded in the silicone will be the same spacing as the rows of holes in the carricell sponges. The sponge from the carricell will be placed directly on top of the silicone pad. These pads are like 'Pet Pads' that can be purchased for your four legged friend.

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Why silicone Bonsbees? The problem I see with that is too slow heat transmission. IE, when the temperature probe detects temperature has fallen, it tells the unit to turn the heat on. But with slow heat transmission, it will take a while for that heat to get to the probe and turn the power back off. By that time there is latent heat around the wires which can cause temperature at the cells to continue to rise after power is turned off.

 

I mention this out of genuine interest, after building jointly with Johnhi30, what I believe is a pretty ultimate incubator, I have been thinking how to make a really good cell carrier and will do if possible.

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Interesting what you say about the temperature of the cells in the carricell during colder spring weather.

I have come across the exact same thing and also put the cells against my lips to test the temp .

I always cover the carricell with a blanket whether at home or in the truck it makes a huge difference and im happy with it now.

I know some beekeepers will have 2 foam pads with cells in both double stacked in one carricell.

I dont know how this would keep the top foam warm as its so far from the heat source

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@ Alastair But with slow heat transmission, it will take a while for that heat to get to the probe and turn the power back off. By that time there is latent heat around the wires which can cause temperature at the cells to continue to rise after power is turned off.

 

I have been advised by the manufacturer that due to the proximity of the wires to the probe and surface of the the pad that there will be minimal fluctuation of temperature at the top surface. My brief to them was a constant temp with no fluctuations. Will be interesting to see what transpires.

Our old unit had the same heat units as per in the Carricell, the heat was 100mm below where the cells were stored, and there were two fans to circulate the air, there could have been 'dead' pockets within the area of fridge cabinet that we used. Recently we have been watching temperature fluctuations and recovery after the door was opened and closed and this has lead us to believe that a new system was required. Our system has been operating for about 26 years.

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Hi Frazz, we have lined our Carricells with polystyrene foam on the inside. Even with this we are very careful not to allow the unit to be left in full sun.

 

Ohhh i did the full sun thingy soon after getting the carricell.....it wasnt pretty :(

 

Do you find your carricell is cooler around the edges ? Ours are so i try not to use the outside rows but sometimes have too.

I also find the carricell slows down emergence quite considerably maybe because of a lower temp?

 

Do you do anything about humidity in yours? I dont but have wondered if i should

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Hi Frazz, Gezz I am sick of this crap weather!!! Cloud,cloud and more cloud. Want the girls onto the honeydew.

Yes the carricell does operate cooler at the edges. Okay if the whole tray is filled with cells but still a concern. We always remove the outer ones as quick as possible.

I dip the sponge in water and wring out before putting the cells in. Think it helps a little with humidity.

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