Results 1 to 17 of 17
  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Lake County, Illinois
    Posts
    29

    Default Michael Bush says...

    I like that guys comments but want to understand something.

    He states that clipping a queen doesn't prevent swarming as the bees will just wait for a virgin and run off with her instead anyway. (Paraphrase)

    My question is, isn't it still a strong benefit to clipping a queen? I mean, if you're going to have a queen depart, wouldn't you rather have an instantly viable hive with your mated queen ready to go instead of losing ( potentially if you can't capture) your mated queen AND your bees, you'd just lose your bees?

    It seems like clipping would save at least 28 days of precious productivity at minimum, maybe 38 days maximum, until a Virginia hatches, breeds and gets laying?

    I don't clip currently but this seems like a sound reason to clip.

    This year I started two hives. At present I have 3 hives. NONE of my purchased queens are with me anymore because they all got rolled or swarmed. Hence, this clipping would seem to have helped me get a modest harvest instead of none because I'd have gained another month of hive productivity.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Bell County, KY, USA
    Posts
    383

    Default Re: Michael Bush says...

    A clipped queen may attempt to fly anyway, then fall to the ground and be unable to get back home.
    The swarm will return home briefly, but it will soon try again—often taking off with a recently hatched virgin queen.
    In addition, clipped queens are often superseded more quickly than those with whole wings.
    Clipping can end in disaster, especially if the beekeeper accidentally nics the thorax or snips a leg—so leave your queen intact and find some other way to reduce swarming.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Nelson, South Island, New Zealand
    Posts
    532

    Default Re: Michael Bush says...

    I agree 100% with what scorpianmain has said

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Mtn. View, Arkansas, USA
    Posts
    1,270

    Default Re: Michael Bush says...

    If you fail to detect that the colony is ready to swarm, and you are able to check your bee yard at the time of day they usually swarm, clipping the queen can be of benefit. When the prime swarm occurs, the queen will either jump off the landing board, run under the bottom board, or remain in the colony. The queenless swarm will often cluster for a short time but it will return to the parent colony. If you are there to see the swarm leave and return, you can then make a split. You will find the queen on the ground in a small group of bees that will cluster around her. If you can't find her the returned swarm can still be used with swarm cells.

    If you are not able to check the bee yard at the time swarms usually leave clipping is of no use other than to mark the queens birth in odd or even years.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,691

    Default Re: Michael Bush says...

    We are of the opinion that clipping is one important part of swarm control. Along with other measures, it gives you a "get out of jail free" card. In cases where inclement weather delays the normally scheduled inspection, you will typically have numerous failed swarm attempts in the yard, and a few two queen hives. We have seen NO evidence of successful swarms in the first round. If you are careless, they can restart the process and swarm on the second round.

    It is your call. Clippping is another tool, are you talented enough to use it?

    Crazy Roland

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Rader, Greene County, Tennessee, USA
    Posts
    6,076

    Default Re: Michael Bush says...

    I don't have a dog in this fight. But here is what Michael's web site actually says regarding clipping the queen:

    In my experience they will still swarm. It may buy you some time if you're paying attention (like the hives are in your back yard and you check everyday for swarms). They will attempt to swarm and the clipped queen won't be able to fly. They will go back and then they will leave with the first virgin swarm queen to emerge. Counting on clipping to stop them from swarming will end in failure.

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

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Lake County, Illinois
    Posts
    29

    Default Re: Michael Bush says...

    Yes, but the points seem misguided.

    Why are swarms good?

    1. Free bees
    2. Duplicate queen for a brand new hive
    3. Split opportunity

    Why are swarms bad?

    1. You may lose your proven queen

    2. You lose your workforce

    3. (Biggest reason) you have a perfectly good, fully drawn hive with a not yet laying virgin costing you a month of production

    So it seems to me, the thing one should care most about is retention of a viable, mated queen. A virgin swarm is better because they have to draw comb anyway so there is no measurable productivity loss because the queen has no place to lay for a couple weeks anyway.

    So for the reasons above, I ask why there isn't more emphasis on keeping the mated queen in her hive and letting the Virgins swarm for chances of a split or catching a swarm back.

    Is my logic broken?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Washington County, Maine
    Posts
    2,860

    Default Re: Michael Bush says...

    The biggest reason for not letting a hive swarm (around here) is that you can just about write off any surplus honey production from the remaining colony. Now if you are fortunate enough so as to capture the swarm, let it build up and then combine it with the parent colony before your flow, you'll have a very productive colony. And you get to choose your queen!
    Master Beekeeper (EAS) and Master Gardener (U Maine CE) www.beeberrywoods.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    longton, kansas USA
    Posts
    601

    Default Re: Michael Bush says...

    i really see no benefit to clipping a queens wings. other than a power trip by the beek. im sorry to be blunt but im just being honest. if you cant check for superseding, swarming or other upcoming events with the queen then maybe you A) shouldnt be beekeeping or B) should check more often or try outyarding closer than a million miles away. sorry, clipping and cropping animals is just a pet peeve of mine and my wifes. and clipping the queen will not stop swarming. once the swarming alert hits the hive there really is no stopping it. ive even split hives that are ready to swarm and had both splits swarm hahaha.

    just keep an eye on whats happening in the apiary.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Michael Bush says...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rookhawk View Post
    Why are swarms bad?
    3. (Biggest reason) you have a perfectly good, fully drawn hive with a not yet laying virgin costing you a month of production
    One of the biggest reasons that conscientious beekeepers try to suppress swarms is that they may become a hazard to the beekeeper's neighbors. In the wall of a house or business, a hollow tree by a sidewalk or playground or any other number of places where they can be a problem.
    Having said that...I'm with MB on this....clipping doesn't work.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,593

    Default Re: Michael Bush says...

    If I were unable to prevent an initial swarm for whatever reason, I would prefer to lose a good queen to the trees than to have her die in the grass.
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Murray County, Georgia
    Posts
    213

    Default Re: Michael Bush says...

    There's nothing more disheartening than having 2/3 of your bees in the top of a tree. I've been around beekeeping long enough to know that 70% of your hives will swarm no matter how much empty equipment is sitting on top of them. Most bees swarm 5-6 days before the virgins emerge. Clipping buys you a week of production even if you do nothing. It is likely that less bees will leave with a virgin than will leave in a prime swarm with the old queen. Clip that queen before the end of march. There are two wings on each side. Clip the wing on one side at least as short as the shorter inner wing and preferably a hair more. If you clip her too short she can still fly. She'll probably be superceded by the end of the summer but at least your bees won't be 90 feet in the top of a tree. You'll either find her on the ground in front of the hive or lose her altogether eventually and then you'll have to figure out what to do with a hive full of queen cells. There are lots of options...just don't cut all the queen cells until you are sure you have eggs or a live queen.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Michael Bush says...

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim B View Post
    I've been around beekeeping long enough to know that 70% of your hives will swarm no matter how much empty equipment is sitting on top of them.
    If adding more equipment is your primary form of swarm management...then you are probably underestimating the number that will swarm. I believe that if all I did was add supers, I'd have close to 100% in the trees.
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Menomonee Falls, Wis.
    Posts
    2,691

    Default Re: Michael Bush says...

    Well, it appears we have been doing things WAY wrong for years. Can't say we have proof of a successful swarm in years, and clipping is one part of our technique. Maybe it is the rest of the technique that is more important than the actual clipping, seeing as how it is just a "get out of jail free" card. .

    So you guys do as you wish, we'll keep clipping queens and clipping our finger nails(how much different is it?).

    Crazy Roland
    Linden Apiary, est. 1852

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Big Stone Gap, VA
    Posts
    966

    Default Re: Michael Bush says...

    Quote Originally Posted by scorpionmain View Post
    A clipped queen may attempt to fly anyway, then fall to the ground and be unable to get back home.
    The swarm will return home briefly, but it will soon try again—often taking off with a recently hatched virgin queen.
    In addition, clipped queens are often superseded more quickly than those with whole wings.
    Clipping can end in disaster, especially if the beekeeper accidentally nics the thorax or snips a leg—so leave your queen intact and find some other way to reduce swarming.
    Nicely put scorpio.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Michael Bush says...

    Quote Originally Posted by Roland View Post
    So you guys do as you wish, we'll keep clipping queens
    Just goes to show you that there's no 'one size fits all' method of beekeeping.
    Is it your opinion Roland that by clipping your queens, that once they've attempted and failed to swarm with the original queen....they won't try again?
    Dan www.boogerhillbee.com
    Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    46,104

    Default Re: Michael Bush says...

    IF I were home all day everyday it might be worth clipping the ones in the home yard as I could check for swarms and retrieve them from the ground or intervene. The problem is since I'm not, I don't know they are trying to swarm and they swarm anyway, so I don't see any advantage.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads