Should I order my queens clipped? What are the pros and cons?
Should I order my queens clipped? What are the pros and cons?
Pro's... I can't think of any.
Con's... It is damaging the queen so the bees may supercede.
It throws off the balance of the queen...so the bees etc.
It doesn't keep the hive from swarming, though the queen won't get far so it will be one of her daughters that swarms and she will be sitting in the grass in front of your hive.
I wouldn't do it. But since it is offered by many queen producers I guess someone is using it.
Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid.” John Wayne
I don't clip mine. alpha's pretty much on. Those I've seen that do, when the bees try to swarm, the clipped queen doesn't know that she can't fly...so out the door she goes. When she fails to join the swarm, they return to the nest. But, since the conditions driving them to swarm still exist, as soon as they get the new queen laying and start some new swam cells, away they go with the first swarm queen. As a result you have brood production interrupted twice during the flow. In my opinion, it's a poor substitute for good swarm management.
Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards
don't clip. If that hive swarm atleast it has a chance of surviving if she isnt clipped.
clip one wing for odd years, clip the other for even years, is how it used to be done in order to know the queens age and to see if she had swarmed or not, and also to sometimes be able to retrieve the queen if the hive attempted to swarm. Now we mark them instead. I myself would not clip queens, but marking does give advantages, such as knowing if your queen has been replaced, keeping track of age, and quicker to find her on the combs during inspections.
20+ years with bees and still learning. Currently near Marysville, CA, 95901
I wouldn't want it done for reasons stated above. I didn't think people did it much anymore.
clipping queens serves no purpose. if any bees can and some time reject by starting cells. I have had queens in same hives for more then 1 yr some 3-4 its like cutting off your legs the try to climb a rock wall. need them for balance.
clipping will stop queens from swarming.
We dont clip either...for all the above reasons and more.
A government large enough to provide everything you need is strong enough to take everything you have. T. Jefferson
I've never ordered, or had my queens clipped before. I also understand the cons to them listed above. However I am reading up on my beekeeping books, trying to get a better general understanding, and in Miller's "50 years among the bees," the author talks about the need to clip queens. Not only for queen marking, but the necessity of doing so in out-apiaries in order to prevent swarming.
Now, I understand a clipped queen may not be accepted, but apparently beekeepers have been doing this for along time, over a hundred years ago it was accepted practice. How were they able to reduce supersedure rates but modern beekeepers weren't?
What advantages (other than supersedure rates) does marking have over clipping?
If clipping may prevent (or even foreshadow, as you can see the bees trying to swarm with a queen that doesn't fly so they return to the hive) swarming, why not do it? I understand that it won't stop them from swarming, but neither does not clipping. If you don't clip, they will swarm. If you do clip, they MAY swarm.
Or do I have a misunderstanding of the subject?
I like clipped queens. If the queen is handled roughly during the process then she may be superseded. Only one third of a wing needs to be removed to prevent her from flying out with a swarm and this has no affect on her balance.
If colonies are not checked every nine days for swarm cells during the swarming period or if the colonies are not viewed every day for evidence of swarms then clipping would be of no benefit. Clipping does not stop swarming, it just gives the beekeeper a chance to retrive a prime swarm or make a split before the swarm issues. If the attemt to swarm is not detected, and the old queen lost in the grass, then the swarm will leave with a virgin.
Cutting right wings for even years is better than marking the queens for ID purposes. Paint wears off but wing tips do not grow back. Marking dark queens that are "runners" helps with finding the queen, but hobby beekeepers should check their hives often enough to become proficient in locating queens.
I have seen more damage to the queen from being marked than Clipped
have introduced marked queens and some bees just don't like it about a week after induction i will ck and make sure she is out an laying Several time have found a ball of bees, guess what that was where the queen was, she like a 3 year old queen wings were tattered from the tugging and pulling and a bee was on top trying to get all the marking off, the queen was shrunk up because the bees were not feeding her good. and she did not lay well after this treatment.
I will clip just the tip of the long wing just enough to see the clipping.
mainly do this on a queen for special purpose like use for breeding ether for grafting on drone rearing. This lets me know I have the same queen for my selected purposes.
When you pay any where from a $150.00 to $500.00 For a breeder queen you don't want her flying off with a swarm. When she is in the grass you can start a nuc with her by using some frames of bees from the hive she came from.
We went ahead a clipped them b/c he can see the hives from his house and if they swarm he can p/u the queens.
I will clip a queen if I am asked to do so. It is pretty easy to do so. Remember there are 4 wings. So clip 1/3 of the longest wing on the right side for even years. Agree with Arkansas that it doesn't do any good unless you are going to look at your hives daily during swarm season. If you do you should see the swarming queen on the ground or nearby. You should be able to rehive that swarm (like a shook swarm) and be ok.
Otherwise let them swarm. I plan to mark a few and clip a few to see which way works best. If I clip them I will also mark them because of the time it saves in finding them.