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Queen Cell Protectors

Many of these items also appear on the Plastic Bits page, but there are others here that are not made of plastic.

Spiral wire protector
This is a simple and traditional method... It consists of two parts, the coil of wire and a square of tinplate that has its corners bent down at a slight angle. The tinplate can be slid in between the topmost two turns of the coil and serves to protect the base of the cell. If a cell has been formed on a plastic cellcup or some other substantial base then the tinplate can be left out.

The coils are pulled out slightly when used, but care should be taken to ensure that the gaps between turns are less than a wire thickness and are even all the way down the cell. The stub of wire that sticks out is pressed into the comb surface to anchor the device. As the diameter is rather more than a bare queencell it may be prudent to crush a few worker cell flat to the midrib to ensure that adequate numbers of workers are able to surround the cell in order to maintain the temperature.
Spiral Wire Cell Protector
Spiral wire protector in use
The drawing at right shows the slightly expanded coils and the tinplate closure plate in position.

Queen cells are much narrower and do not have the same shape as the internal profile of the spiral. Be careful not to rattle the cell about inside the protector especially if it is several days until emergence is expected.
Spiral Cell Protector in use
Perret-Maisonneuve cup
This is a solidly made and precision engineered item that has a screw on lid. They are a marvel of Victorian design and, when polished, they are a joy to look at, but they are no better than any of the plastic types.

The depiction here has been redrawn from a Wedmore original, but shows the same style.
cross section of Perret-Maisonneuve cup
Aluminium foil protection is innexpensive and readily available, however I have no experiance of using it for this purpose. In addition you still have to find a suitable method of fixing the cell in position as the foil only protects the sides and base. Foil wrapped cell
Plastic adhesive tape (insulating tape) is something that I have never tried, but I carry such tape with me when I am beekeeping and so it would be available if I had no alternative.

As with the foil I can see it being difficult to effectively attach such a wrapped cell to the face of a comb. I am concerned that it would be difficult to wrap the tape around without damaging the cell in some way.
cell protected by insulating tape
The Nicot type cell protector shown at right can be used with other items from the Nicot cupkit range to allow emergence into a cage or direct into a nucleus.

There is a cap that will fit the large diameter top of the protector to shroud the back end of the cell.

just place the cell inside the device allowing it to sink until the outside of the cell locates on the inner rim of the neck.
Nicot Cell Protector
JZ - BZ comb side type... This version has barbed protrusions to enable the secure fixing of the combined cell and protector simply by dimpling the comb face with a thumb and pressing the prongs into the compacted wax.

It is a rather small device and the back end of some longer cells may not be adequately protected.
JZ/BZ cell protector for sideways insertion
The JZ - BZ between frame type has shorter prongs and they stick out on both sides so that the loaded cell protector can sit between two adjacent frames.

The body of the device is also much longer than the push in type so that it dangles below the woodwork of the frame topbars.
JZ - BZ between frame Cell Protector
Plastic type of unknown origin Unknown Cell Protector
Woven bamboo protector... I have never seen one of these personally, but it was described to me by a commercial beekeeper who had seen one. It is very like the JZ - BZ type, but is made from fine slivers of bamboo that are basket woven. The illustration is my interpretation, but should not be far from the mark. Woven Bamboo Cell Protector


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Written... 29 January 2002