- Capital Region Beekeepers Association - https://capitalregionbeekeepers.ca -

Iotron trip 2021 preparation

Please take a moment to read. We learn something each year so the instructions can change, we try to answer all your questions in this document.

The Iotron [1] is an electron beam facility located in Port Coquitlam BC (now called Sterigenics). It provides an irradiation service that effectively sterilizes products and equipment (i.e. food, medical instruments, beekeeping equipment) using a 10 kGy or 15 kGy gamma ray. The CRBA organizes an annual trip for club members only using a cargo truck to deliver equipment for sterilization at this facility, this is a two day event that is coordinated by club members. Keeping your equipment clean helps ensure good colony health, strength and productivity – and reduces the spread of disease in your apiary and for the surrounding bee community.

Why sterilize equipment? Beekeepers use this method to clean beekeeping equipment to treat for

Pre-trip: We will contact you to confirm your shipment amount, Iotron requires an update prior to the date
Day 1/Loading day: Members drop off equipment and help load into truck, at a Victoria location.
Day 2/Travel: Day trip to Port Coquitlam to Iotron facility – unload/process/reload/return to Victoria and unload.

2021 Covid Precautions: to ensure social distancing, the truck will not be unloaded using a team approach this year, and no same day equipment collection. Participants may collect their equipment at their convenience from the drop off site in the days following the trip.

Fees & Payments: Each year Iotron updates their price list and this is provided to club members when they sign up. In support of community bee health, the club contributes funding to assist with the transportation cost and this further improves the affordability of this service for members. Payments are calculated after the trip and each fee total is emailed. The treatment certificate will also be provided.

Your Fee: This cost is calculated after the trip and is a combination of the transport fee and treatment fee:

2021 estimate for the transport fee is between $1.50 and $3.00 per item. A minimum of $750 is needed to secure an appointment with the Iotron facility. The club usually has enough participation to meet this requirement. The club kindly contributes funding to the transportation in support of bee health, thus reducing the transport fee on each item. E.g. 1 super = treatment fee $7.50 + transport fee (~ $1.75) = $9.25/super. We rely on your shipping form to track your equipment and calculate fees.

Your Payment: The CRBA carries the initial cost, then members collectively reimburse the club for their share through the Iotron coordinator. Payment by e-transfer, cash or cheque (cheques payable to Capital Region Beekeepers Association). Submit your payment by e-transfer or drop off to the Iotron coordinator. Payments are bundled and given to the CRBA Treasurer. Payment receipts must be requested. Iotron issues a proof of processing certificate that we forward to the participants.

Location: Provided by email to members
Loading/drop-off date: Sunday, February 28th, 7am-9.30pm (bring your completed shipping form [2])
Iotron trip date: Monday, March 1st
Unload/pick-up date: Tuesday, March 2nd and Wednesday, March 3rd, dawn to dusk

How to sign up: CRBA members can sign up by sending an email to the Iotron coordinator [3]. In this email, provide the following 4 details:

  1. Full name
  2. email address
  3. phone #
  4. Equipment estimate

Email is preferred but if it’s not your thing, you can call 250-386-5982. Once signed up, we send the information needed and the shipping form. It is also found on the club website. Closer to the trip date we contact participants to confirm their shipping list of equipment.

What to Send: The 2021 price list shows items you can send, and what may be packaged together. Iotron fees are determined by the list above and/or the item’s footprint area on the conveyer tray going into the irradiation machine. If you have questions, check the FAQs below [4] or just email/call. You can send items that aren’t on the list, but please ask first. We can send almost anything, we just need to package it right!

Cutting Corners: It’s tempting to save a few bucks and combine equipment together into one larger item to get charged less. Some combinations may be done within Iotron’s guidelines. Putting too much equipment together will slow the sterilization, your equipment won’t be clean, and only your bees will know for sure. The penetrating electron beam is slowed by material types and density as it passes through the equipment. An item with many or mixed layers is just too dense, and it will not be fully sterilized. Be kind to your bees and do it right.

2020 Iotron price list (2 passes @ 15 kGy):

All items are placed on a conveyer tray that passes through the irradiation unit two times at 15 kGy irradiation levels. Pricing is partly based on an item’s footprint area when placed on the conveyer tray.

How to package your items: Your equipment is hand loaded/unloaded four times. Please keep this in mind when you prepare your equipment – make sure items are snuggly wrapped, well taped, and impressively labelled.

How to mark/label your equipment in preparation for sending to the Iotron

No waterlogged equipment: This will make a big conveyer tray mess during processing. Dry out the items before wrapping. Similarly, if your equipment has pests in it (i.e. wax moth) ensure that your packaging will keep all the nasty stuff contained. Iotron has been quite pleased with the efforts that CRBA members make to send well wrapped equipment – let’s keep up the good work!

No supers of honey: Supers full of honey frames are too dense to be sterilized by Iotron. They are also brutal to manually load/unload in the cargo truck and are usually a sticky mess, so we just can’t take them. Full supers of honey will not be loaded on the truck, but you can send honey frames as 2-frame packages; see the FAQs [4].

No live insects or rotting materials: Please no decomposing larvae, animal infestations, etc – the facility requests tidy, self-contained equipment.


Frequently asked questions