There are several issues to be addressed when moving
queencells from one place to another. This may be from hive to hive
within an apiary or it may be a longer distance that requires vehicular travel.
I have used a "Thermos" brand flask that was intended for
keeping soup hot (Model No. 70 - 50 Half Litre). I chose this type for
it's broad and squat shape. The drawing below is conducted to a scale
of 2.5 pixels per mm and shows the device without it's outer screw
top, but I do always use the top for added security. The inside
profile has a rounded bottom and there is a ledge about halfway up
the interior (the dotted line).
In use I place a synthetic cellulose sponge in the bottom
half of the flask's inner cavity and pour in hot water until the
sponge is fully saturated. The water temperature, that I use, will
depend on how long it will be before I expect to actually put
queencells in the flask. I do not use a thermometer, guesswork has
always been adequate. I then pour away any excess water and slide in
a circular plug of plastic foam (as right) that has had deep, but
narrow "V" shaped cuts made in it's top surface, in a 'criss cross'
fashion. This makes it look a little like an egg box, the plug
slides firmly into place in the upper part of the flask and sits on
the ledge that is halfway down. The cells themselves are placed at the
junctions in the matrix of slots, firmly, but sensitively... the
tapered cells match the tapered shape of the cavities in the foam and
provide total stability as each cell is held by four areas of linear
contact. There is an air space above the cells and I have a disc of
very flimsy complient foam that was originally intended to sit on top
of the cells whilst they were in transit, however I have never used it,
nor have I seen any need for it.
Queencells should kept vertical at all
times and all stages of developement to ensure proper contact with
the royal jelly within the cell.
Should be kept as close to hive temperature as possible, but
temperature regulation is not critical over short timescales. If long
distances and times are envisaged the problem becomes more that of a
portable incubator rather than just transport.
This is another item whose importance varies proportionatly with time.
In my soup flask I used a sponge to hold the hot water so that the
liquid did not slosh about. I suspect that the humidity in the flask
was higher than natural hive humidity, but I have no recollection of
any adverse effects.
I always coach beekeepers to brush bees from combs that may contain
queencells, rather than shaking. And cells in transport should be
protected from sharp knocks for the same reason. However the rhythmic
vibration of a car engine does not appear to cause harm.
Frames of queencells may be transported in a modified
picnic box (often called a 'cool' box) but with a hot water soaked
towel in the base. This will keep the frames moist and warm.
I have looked many times for such a box that would carry
B.S. frames... With the intention of adding battery power and solar
recharging to run a thermostatically controlled incubator type
carrying box. So far I have not found one that is suitable.
Generated... 31 January 2002
Written... 05 February 2002