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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Johnson City, TN
    Posts
    217

    Question Queen Clipping - Advice

    I need advice on the practice of queen clipping. I know clipping the queen will not prevent swarming, but does it make capturing a swarm easier? All my swarms come out of the hive and head for the top of the tallest pine trees on the property…too high for me to capture. They ignore bait the hives. I’m wondering if a clipped queen could barely fly to a low object and that would make swarm capture easier?
    Bee just and just bee

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Brown County, IN
    Posts
    2,027

    Default

    I think it would be nearly impossible to clip a queen so she could just barely fly. More likely, she would be unable to fly and the swarm would leave with a virgin queen. I don't think you have much control over where the swarm will land.

    I'd suggest reading up on bait hives and traps. Maybe there's more you can do to make them more attractive.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Ludington, Michigan
    Posts
    638

    Default bait hives

    I made 2 bait hive's out of 12" Sona tube bought at lowes for 7.00 I cut them to 22" long plugged both ends with frame rests on the inside. Put 4 old deep frames and old comb in them with a shot of lemongrass oil and had a swarm in each by the end of the week. The really nice thing about these are they are light and with frames all you have to do is remove one end, slide the frames out and put them in a box. Next year I will make 1 doz of these

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Johnson City, TN
    Posts
    217

    Default

    What did you use to plug the Soma tube ends with?
    Bee just and just bee

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Barry, TX USA
    Posts
    861

    Default

    I'd only use Nuc style swarm traps so that it is easier to hive them. I've saturated my area with swarm traps and had great luck catching swarms. Are you using swarm lure or lemongrass oil? Black comb is also attractive to swarms but it is also attractive to wax moths.

    I never clip queens. Like you said, it doesn't prevent swarming and I think it leads to supercedure of the queen. Why interfere to that degree when it doen't really accomplish much?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Chillicothe, Ohio
    Posts
    102

    Default Beyondthesidewalks

    Can you tell me what swarm lure is and where I can purchase it?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
    Posts
    829

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bee Draggle View Post
    I need advice on the practice of queen clipping. I know clipping the queen will not prevent swarming, but does it make capturing a swarm easier? All my swarms come out of the hive and head for the top of the tallest pine trees on the property…too high for me to capture. They ignore bait the hives. I’m wondering if a clipped queen could barely fly to a low object and that would make swarm capture easier?
    Bee Draggle

    I always clip all my queens (the wings on one side half) and this for more than 20 years. If a clipped queen left the hive she can’t go high up in the trees. She fly in a cycle not more than 2 meter (6-7ft) up and the bees follow her. It is very easy to catch the swarm.
    This way a swarm trap is not necessary…. I don’t even have a trap.

    Bees never left her queen alone and flying back to the hive, only if you remove the queen from the swarm.
    If you are not removing all queen cells (except one… or maximal two side by side) the colonies will swarm several times and at the end the hive is almost empty.

    How to catch a queen from a swarm?

    Shake the swarm in front of a box with a frame inside and a queen excluder on the entrance. The bees going inside but the queen and drones can’t and you can catch her.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Barry, TX USA
    Posts
    861

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosies View Post
    Can you tell me what swarm lure is and where I can purchase it?
    I got some from Dadant. It comes in little plastic vials that you can store in the freezer until ready to use. I hung them on a staple in my Nucs. I also used lemongrass oil and I think it works just as well. You can search for it on the web and find it very easily. I'd find a source near me for lower shipping cost or even in your town so you don't pay shipping at all.

    I made little lures for the lemongrass oil that were 2 inch sections of straws from a fast food store with cotton stuffed in them. Saturate the cotton with the oil and it lasts a long time. I stapled them in my Nucs as well. I've even started using them in hives when I can a swarm or do a cutout. Seems to help the bees stay home.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
    Posts
    5,385

    Default

    I avoid clipping my queens wings - the thought produces a mental image of a queen attempting to leave with a swarm and being eaten as she flounders on the ground. Not a nice reward for her hard work, even if she is flying off in an act of betrayal.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  10. #10

    Default

    I've clipped queens in the past. Its really a good idea, in my opinion, if you want to reduce your swarm losses. Many of my clipped queens were unable to fly at all. They, of course, don't realize it. So, they leave the hive and fall to the ground. Most of the swarm eventually returns to the hive and frequently a small cluster remains with the queen. If you visit your hives daily you should be able to save the old queen and nearly eliminate any bee losses. For the beekeeper its a 'win-win' proposition.
    Having said all of that, in recent years I've taken more of a position somewhat like Joseph Clemens. I can't exactly explain it but my thinking is that when my swarm management fails (often) I want the swarm and queen to have the best chance of survival. In some weird way I figure I'm helping repopulate the local feral bee population and at some level improving the drone sources for my virgins. I know its foolish and a bit silly but I no longer clip my queens.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    lewisberry, Pa, usa
    Posts
    6,080

    Default

    It should be noted that there is a difference between a 40% clipped wing and a 80% clipped wing. A couple years back, I bought some rather expensive breeder queens and the wings were clipped. I would think less than half the wing was clipped off. Never really thought about it until they swarmed and she flew off, rather well at it.

    I do not clip wings, and do not even offer to clip wings. I would rather use management to stop swarming prior to allowing it to happen.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,035

    Default

    I'm with Bjorn on this . I work to PREVENT swarming. If they swarm anyway and are uncatchable, wish them good luck out there! Having a swarm hobbled so that it can be more easily recaptured still leaves the beek with a post-swarm hive and the loss of productivity swarming causes
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

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