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Thread: queen catching

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Sacramento, CA, USA
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    Default queen catching

    Today I took out 2 queens from their mini homemade cages into another split hive. One I caught by her 2 wings and
    another one by her front right legs. The other 2 caught also by their wings.
    So I was wondering how does one normally catch the queen bees while she was on the frame?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona, USA
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    5,408

    Default Re: queen catching

    I usually catch them by both wings from behind, then quickly put her against my thumb and gently grasp her by at least three legs on one side, often more. At least that's how I like to do it when I'm marking them. If I hold her firmly enough, but not too firmly, I can often hold her safely until her paint has dried well. If she frees too many of her legs, where she might injure herself, I will release her legs and hold her gently in my closed fist, until I have confidence her mark has dried, then return her to her colony.

    If I'm catching her to cage, I just grasp her by the wings and gently poke her head into the cage opening, then cup her abdomen with other fingers to help encourage her to completely enter the cage. All done as gently as if she were a drop of explosive.
    48 years - 50 hives - TF
    Joseph Clemens -- Website Under Constructioni

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Posts
    1,748

    Default Re: queen catching

    I have a hard time catching them by the wings. I gently pin her down to the comb and pick her up around the thorax. I feel like I have more control over her. If I'm going to mark her I do as Mr. Clemens catch her with my right hand then grab her by the legs with my left hand and mark with my right. Make sure you have a hold of several legs before you let go of her with the other hand. Once you release her with the right hand she is going to start flapping her wings and will break off one of her legs if you only have a hold of one. Don't ask how I know that one.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utica, NY
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    10,150

    Default Re: queen catching

    It sounds like you do this bare handed. Even though the queen can sting several times she doesn't when she is trying to get away? How about all the attendants, they don't mind you taking their queen away?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Montgomery County, NY
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    1,995

    Default Re: queen catching

    Yes you have to be bare handed to catch queens. Well to catch them on a production stand point. They do make those plastic queen catchers.

    I found the best way to catch the queen is right by the head. Be gentle but its the hard part and it doesnt get tore off easily like a leg or wing can get tore off.

    How about the attendants? You should catch a few of those as well and place them in the cage with the queen to take care of her needs.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    brownwood, TX, USA
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    862

    Default Re: queen catching

    Quote Originally Posted by Acebird View Post
    It sounds like you do this bare handed. Even though the queen can sting several times she doesn't when she is trying to get away? How about all the attendants, they don't mind you taking their queen away?
    I think I remember reading from Michael Bush's book, that he had never been stung by a queen. A queen sting must be a rare event.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Jacksonville, Florida
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    Default Re: queen catching

    Yes, you have to use your bare hands. I can't feel them with the gloves on. So far I haven't been stung by a queen. Now the attendants that's a different story.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    Utica, NY
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    Default Re: queen catching

    So you got to like stings then.
    I have a plastic queen catcher but I can't see how you can use that too effectively with gloves on. Are there any other devices used to catch queens besides the plastic hair clip?
    Brian Cardinal
    Zone 5a, Practicing non-intervention beekeeping

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,710

    Default Re: queen catching

    Lazy shooter has a good memory! Here is Michael Bush's comment:
    Can queens sting?

    I've been handling queens off and on since 1974. Since I started rearing queens in 2004 I've been handling hundreds of them a year. I've never been stung by a queen.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesfaqs.htm
    Graham
    USDA Zone 7A Elevation 1400 ft

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Stokesdale, North Carolina
    Posts
    45

    Default Re: queen catching

    I use the plastic clip. Just open and hold over her letting her walk in it. Then I shake her into a queen marking tube from brushy mountain. If Im making splits I might keep her and some friends in the tube for a few while I make the split.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,742

    Default Re: queen catching

    To catch a queen with your fingers, I make a tent with my thumb and forefinger. Pin her to the comb. Roll your finger and thumb so you have her by the sides. If you want to make, just paint her in the gap between your fingers. Practice on drones. A lot.

    Or use a queen clip.

    http://www.bushfarms.com/beesqueenre...m#Queenmarking
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

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