CNC machined from acrylic with a clear resin infill to provide maximum support to the 50 pins to prevent deflection during and between use. The unit is manufactured from clear acrylic allowing good visibility when placing and inserting the pins. The pins are spaced at 5.4mm cell centers for use with standard foundation. If you require a unit with different pin spacing, then please contact us.
The unit comes complete with a housing which protects the pins between use and ensures that any deflection can be easily spotted and corrected. The unit and housing locate together with each of the 50 pins sliding easily into it’s own protective hole.
0.4mm stainless pins are used within the unit which can effectively pierce and kill the larvae with minimal damage to the capping. This tests for the colony’s ability to identify and remove the dead larvae within a given time and demonstrate their hygienic trait. This unit can be considered an essential for any queen breeder wishing to effectively measure the hygienic traits of the colonies within their breeding program.
How to Use
This unit is easy to use and allows for effective comparison of hygienic traits between colonies, even those that score very highly.
To use this unit and to perform hygienic tests, first select the colonies which you wish to test. Tests are best performed during a period of high activity such as during a nectar flow. We would recommend testing colonies at least twice in a season for best comparison.
Select a brood frame with a solid brood pattern and appropriately age pupa. Pupa should be between 3 to 10 days old. By uncapping a few cells around the proposed test site, you will be able to age the pupa by looking for pupa just starting to pupate which are white, to older pupa which are light tan in colour with purple eyes.
Line up the top left pin of the unit with the center of a sealed brood cell, then line up the bottom left pin with a sealed brood cell. Look through the unit to check that the rest of the pins are lined up over sealed brood cells. Apply a light pressure evenly to the unit to push the pins through the cappings and the larvae underneath. You will feel resistance as the pins hit the bottoms of the cells. Using a chalk pen, mark around the unit so that the test area is easily identifiable. We would also suggest marking the top of the frame as well.
Remove the unit from the brood frame ensuring that the cappings are not damaged further. Replace the brood frame in the hive and move on to the next hive to be tested. Leave the colony for 7 hours before checking on the test area. Count the number of cells cleared by the bees within the test time and record the number.
Once you have recorded the number of cells cleared by each colony tested, convert these numbers to percentages. This will allow you to make a comparison between the hives. the higher the clearance percentage, the higher the expression rate of hygienic genes. After collecting all your test results, average the results. You should aim to maintain an average result of 50% from your breeding colonies. This will show colonies with good hygienic traits as they will score well above the average.
If your average score percentage increases or decrease significantly past the target 50%, then the test time can be decreased or increased respectively to bring the average closer to 50%. This will allow you to continually identify hygienic colonies to breed from.