Sterilization

Gamma Irradiation Program. 

Hi Everyone, during the spring each year we will be facilitating a beekeeping equipment sterilization event at Sterigenics, 75 Tilbury Road,  Salem, NJ 08079.  As a larger group we are able to combine pallet loads to meet feasible volumes for more efficient biosecurity controls.  Current pricing from Sterigenics is US$282.40 a pallet with a minimum service run of $2500.  The 2023 seasons date has not been set yet, however we usually try to schedule a spot in March.  Turn around is usually about one week.  We usually start to accept wrapped equipment to combine loads from the 1st of March with a cutoff date the day before delivery to Sterigenics. Any questions please contact Tim@extractandbox.com

For reference on how to stack your pallets please visit https://www.montcopabees.org/Irradiation

About Gamma Irradiation

Gamma irradiation is a short wave length high energy form of ionizing radiation, it is an effective sterilization utilizing the industrialized radioisotope Cobalt 60.

Gamma rays are photons, they travel at the speed of light and have zero charge or mass.  Gamma rays have enough energy to detach electrons from atoms or molecules in the matter in through which they pass, therefore ionizing the atom causing a reaction with the cells of organic matter. 

Cobalt 60 is created by charging natural Cobalt 59 slugs with a single neutron, this is done by introducing the slugs into a nuclear power reactor for up to 24 months where the Cobalt absorbs the additional neutron.  As an unstable atom, Cobalt 60 emits electrons and gamma rays.  This energy release is not high enough to become reactive, yet strong enough to be an effective sterilizer.

The level of ionizing radiation absorption is measured in gray and defined as joules over mass, represented as kGy. The Gamma irradiation program was established to meet the sterilization level of 10kGy to inactivate American Foul Brood.  On completion of the irradiation service we receive a certificate of processing, where we can provide a copy toeach participant for their records.  The March 2021 irradiation recorded dose was 16.5kGy and the March 2022 irradiation recorded dose was 21.2kGy

Our current literature search is listed below.  Not all the infections listed below are related to beekeeping, however they are of interest in explaining gamma irradiation as a sterilizing tool.