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One of the options when ordering packaged bees is for a clipped queen. What does this mean? I thought that the queen must leave the hive to mate before producing brood.

Thanks!
 

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Clipped queen means her wings are clipped so she can't fly and it is also a way to tell if she gets superceded in your hive because the new queen will have full wings. When you purchase a package the queen should already be mated so she will not have to leave the hive unless they are swarming or absconding.
 

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No...don't get them clipped. If you mark the queen you can tell if she is superceded and there is a better chance she will be accepted then with a clipped wind as the bees often view this as a queen being damaged.
 

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I don't like clipping them either. I like them marked. If they aren't, I have learned to mark them myself. If they are clipped and they swarm, the queen gets left behind.
 

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No they will not. Personally I think it's not a good practice to damage a perfectly good queen, but maybe some who do this can chime in on what the advantages are. If it's to keep them from swarming, well there are better swarming controls to use other than clipping your queen...IMHO.
 

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Maybe this is done to promote supersedure of a newly fitted bee package.

I had one hive do this. The (clipped) queen was weak and not laying a lot of eggs, however a week later I seen a queen cell on the top of a frame. Now they're fine. I'm sure this can be seen as a sneaky selling prop, however, the other side of the coin means to "ground" the queen so the hive workers will stay put.
 

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>Maybe this is done to promote supersedure of a newly fitted bee package . . .
Why would any package produce and/or beekeeper want there queens superseded?

>"ground" the queen so the hive workers will stay put . . .
Do not happen. Bees will swarm w/ or w/o the old queen.
 

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The way it's supposed to work. The colony decides to swarm. The clipped queen doesn't know that she can't fly. She blows out the entrance with the rest of the swarm and falls to the ground. When she doesn't join the swarm, they return to the original nest. In theory, you don't lose half of your bees in the spring. You can usually find the old queen on the ground with a small cluster of bees and always put her into a nuc as a reserve queen.

I've worked with people who do clip and it seems to work pretty well for them.

I don't clip mine. I figure that if they get the upper hand and swarm....they've earned it. On the other hand, there have been springs where I regretted it....but I still can't make myself do it.
 

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With the loss of feral colonies due to mites etc. I figure if I lose a swarm, it helps repopulate the wilds... I don't clip, but I try to keep them from swarming.
 
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