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Comparison of conventional and tweezer techniques of instrumentally inseminating honey bees

Conventional approach to instrumental insemination
These are unproven ideas for "Brainstorming". Try them for yourselves and report back any successes (or failures) via the Email button in the strap at page bottom.

The conventional insemination method is illustrated in the sketch at right and shows the difficulty in entry past the valvefold.

Syringe tip entry is also made more difficult due to folds in the vagina... With an inherent risk of injury to the queen.

The difficulties are not insurmountable and much II work is successfully done by this method.

Perforated Sting Hook method A 0.15 mm hole in the hook can be threaded over the sting which is then pulled upwards and sideways. Depending on the model of apparatus in use there may be a lack of sensitivity to this action.

The angular motion traps the sting itself as the parallel bore of the hole become out of parallel with the sting shaft and binds against the side of the sting. The serrated nature of the sting shaft ensures a non slip grip. The tension in the sting both opens the vagina and reduces the wrinkling to allow easy penetration.

I am of the opinion that holes of this size can be produced by spark erosion. (research is ongoing @ Jan 2003)
Whilst requiring a steady hand, this method, that uses fine quality light weight tweezers, straightens out the natural folds in the vagina and, therefore, gives easier quicker and safer entry. The manual use of tweezers gives feedback on the tension applied to the sting.

This method gives the easiest entry into the vagina and after a little practice it is very quick.

The tweezers need to be fine and well polished... Ideally they should only be used on one queen, so a large number of freshly autoclaved instruments should be available. The insides of the jaws are polished smooth by dragging the tweezers over a folded piece of 800  'wet and dry' abrasive paper that is used in preparation of motor cars for spraying.
Tweezer Method

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Originated... June 2000, Revised... 17 January 2003