Flight box

Drones collected from the donor colony need to be held in a flight box prior to semen collection. A suitable box can easily be manufactured from a plastic storage box.

Flight box for drones together with drone cage

I used a 35 litre box, cutting a hole in one side, and a hole in the lid. The hole in the side is covered with two overlapping pieces of stretch fabric which allow your hand to be pushed through to pick individual drones for semen collection. The fabric is held in position with a pair of plywood surrounds, one inside and one outside, screwed together through the box wall.

In order to provide ventilation for the drones, there is a hole cut in the lid of the flight box. The hole is covered with black epoxy coated mesh. The mesh is fixed into position with hot melt glue. When first using this flight box, I was surprised how quickly the drones stopped flying and became comatose. Providing them with a feeder containing diluted honey did not help maintain their activity levels. The solution was to keep them warm. A small heating pad, powered from a USB plug did the trick. The completed flight cage is also useful as a storage container for the rest of the insemination equipment when not in use.

When in the apiary collecting drones from the donor colony, a container is needed to cage them. This can easily be made using two pieces of queen excluder separated with a wooden frame to make a drone cage. A hole in one of the wooden sides, plugged with a piece of foam provides the entry and exit hole.

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