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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Pinehurst, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    226

    Default Clipped Queens and Swarming

    So through unknown reason about I ordered one of my queens clipped in a package I got last spring. The hive overwintered well and spring build-up has been going excellently... too excellent apparently. I opened up the colony yesterday to find many swarm cells. I only pulled a few frames, but one of the swarm cells I found was already capped. It will be Friday before I can work the hive again. What should I expect to happen when this clipped queen tries to swarm and can't? Could I prevent them from swarming by splitting? I had already made arrangements to split the colony, and it will be 3 WEEKS before my new queen arrives. Thx, guys.
    ...This, and my heart, and all the Bees
    Which in the Clover dwell.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Snowmass, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    2,497

    Default Re: Clipped Queens and Swarming

    Wait..back up. Split the hive now BEFORE they swarm. You don't need a queen if you have queen cells. Pull those frames that have the cells, put those in your split box and let it bee. The absence of the queen cells plus the loss of three or four frames of brood will knock out any inclination of swarming from your hive. Unless you are looking for some special type of queen by ordering one, you have a bunch ready in the hive now. You can save yourself the cost of that new queen, keep your hive from swarming and keep the production of your original hive up.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid. John Wayne

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Dexter, Maine
    Posts
    1,037

    Default Re: Clipped Queens and Swarming

    Quote Originally Posted by NCSUbeeKEEPER View Post
    It will be Friday before I can work the hive again.
    Swarming bees wait for no man!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Bristol,MA,USA
    Posts
    719

    Default Re: Clipped Queens and Swarming

    It may be better to put the old queen in one of the splits to make sure that they get the idea that they have "swarmed" and leave a queen cell in the original hive. If you see a pile of bees laying in front of your hive or one of your splits it will be the clipped queen which tried to swarm anyway covered by the little swarm. OMTCW

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Galt, CA
    Posts
    881

    Default Re: Clipped Queens and Swarming

    Quote Originally Posted by brac View Post
    Swarming bees wait for no man!
    ISN'T THAT THE TRUTH! When they want to swarm, we are on their time, they are not on ours. Perhaps like when you're just leaving for work like mine did last week.

    C2

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Suffolk, VA
    Posts
    2,545

    Default Re: Clipped Queens and Swarming

    Absolutely split now. In these situations I always pull the old queen and put her in one of the splits. Make up several nucs giving each nuc a frame with queen cells. Shake enough bees to manage the brood. Give the parent colony some foundation and of course leave them a frame with queen cells.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    dadeville, alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,163

    Default Re: Clipped Queens and Swarming

    I have never believed clipping a queen bee's wings. If I clip one of your arms off, you will not function well, right?? A clipped queen will try to swarm anyway. You will find her crawling away from the front of the hive were she will usually end up as ant food. Then the colony will swarm with the first virgin that emerges. Thus defeating the purpose of a clipped queen. TK

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Pinehurst, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    226

    Default Re: Clipped Queens and Swarming

    I'm going to split them on Friday afternoon for sure. Most of the queen cells I found were uncapped. With that and the fact that the queen is clipped, I think it will take a while to coax her out of the hive. Here's to praying they will wait till then.
    ...This, and my heart, and all the Bees
    Which in the Clover dwell.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    dadeville, alabama, USA
    Posts
    1,163

    Default Re: Clipped Queens and Swarming

    If you are in two deeps and since you have cells present. You can split them in to six frame colonies as long as each of the splits has a new queen cell present. As for the queen, I would not even bother looking for her. Just be sure that all three splits are equal in strength and each has a queen cell present. Your bees that swarm early are your best, most productive and most resistant bees. This how we split and I am a commercial beekeeper. TK

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Pinehurst, North Carolina, USA
    Posts
    226

    Default Re: Clipped Queens and Swarming

    Well I've had my girlfriend checking on my hives daily while I was out of town (they're at her house). So far she claims that they're behavior has been normal. But then again, she's no apiarist. Today's the big day. Hopefully when I go to make my split I won't find that half the bees are gone. I'll update later this afternoon.
    ...This, and my heart, and all the Bees
    Which in the Clover dwell.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Pueblo, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    673

    Default Re: Clipped Queens and Swarming

    So clipping a queen's wings will not stop her from trying to swarm... I really thought it would keep her at home

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Galt, CA
    Posts
    881

    Default Re: Clipped Queens and Swarming

    Nope she'll just walk out of the hive and crawl on the ground.

    C2

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,894

    Default Re: Clipped Queens and Swarming

    She will leave, she may or may not find her way back, depending on the configuration of your hives. They will swarm anyway with the first virgin out.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,664

    Default Re: Clipped Queens and Swarming

    We clip and have not found any evidence(from lack of bees) of swarming after the initial requeening that replaced the clipped queen. On rare occasions. she will be found residing under the bottom board with a group of bees. To each his own.

    Crazy Roland

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Shoshone County, Idaho
    Posts
    567

    Default Re: Clipped Queens and Swarming

    I clip all my queens because I work a fulltime job and have a lot of outyards, which would result in lots of bees donated to the wild or other beeks.
    When they swarm the clipped queen/swarm is usually under the bottom board or pallet and makes it easy to brush them into a nuc box.
    I have also watched the swarm leave the hive and cluster in a nearby tree to shortly realize the queen did not follow them (clipped wing) and soon they would all return to the queen and me waiting with a nuc box (makes things a lot easier).
    Remember to just clip the tip of one wing and not the entire wing or your arm off!
    Doesn't hurt a thing and saves you lots of time to run more colonies instead of climbing trees!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Dexter, Maine
    Posts
    1,037

    Default Re: Clipped Queens and Swarming

    Got a pic of how much you clip off?

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,894

    Default Re: Clipped Queens and Swarming

    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Shoshone County, Idaho
    Posts
    567

    Default Re: Clipped Queens and Swarming

    I clip approx. 1/4-1/3 of wing from the tip!
    Sorry no pics from me, but thanks to Michael Bush for posting one!

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