We took our 1st instrumental insemination course at the University of California, Davis in 2007. In 2008 Mary went back to California to complete the advanced instrumental insemination course with Sue Cobey. Back at home we had setup a really nice lab in our guest room with all the required insemination equipment, including a Nikon SMZ800 stereoscopic zoom microscope. So during 2008 and 2009 Mary worked on practicing her instrumental insemination technique.
By the middle of 2009 we realized that our queen-rearing program, using the cloake board, was becoming our main focus and we found that we had less time to devote to mastering instrumental insemination. So by the end of 2009 I began sending emails to entomologists and honeybee researchers around the country offering our insemination equipment for sale. In 2010 we sold all the equipment, minus the microscope, to a Greek Orthodox Monk in Florida.
In 2011 I put the microscope for sale on EBay, listed it in Bee Culture magazine and also listed it on the LabX web site but was not able to sell it. So this past fall I approached four well know secondary educational institutions in Monmouth County and let them know that I was willing to donate the microscope to a program that could use it. Now this is a $6,000 microscope but not one of the school contacts returned my call to say they were interested or not interested – not one!
During the 1st week of December I happened to mention to our next store neighbor my disappointment on not being able to find a willing school to donate the microscope to. On hearing my story she instantly said .. “Hey the Tinton Falls Middle School has a great science program”. She contacted the school and the principal and science teacher said yes to the donation. Then the Board of Education needed to vote on the donation before it could be accepted; they voted yes at their last meeting of 2011. And on the Wednesday before Christmas I delivered the microscope to the Middle School; the principal helped me carry in the Nikon Microscope and the Nikon Digital Camera and TV monitor which were part of the microscope package. Then before I left I got a chance to meet with the science teacher; we went over the equipment and agreed that early in 2012 we would aim to get Mary and I back to the school to talk about honeybees to his students.