I like marking, so I can tell if a queen's been replaced and there's a stranger in the nursery . Clipping doesn't seem to hold much attraction; doesn't actually prevent swarming, and may provoke supercedure as Alpha6 noted.
I agree with the others...clipping doesn't really help that much...and I personally don't want my queens clipped. On the other hand, marking is helpful in locating the queen and telling her age. You see, many queen suppliers mark their queens according to a color chart that tells you what year you got them in. So, in that way it can help. Note however, I've had queens that the paint was groomed off of them and sometimes you can't be sure if that is your original queen or not because the marking has been removed by the bees. In most cases the mark stays put. I listed below a color chart that many queen producers go by. I hope this helps.
International Queen Marking Color Code:
Color: For Year Ending In:
White (or gray) 1 or 6
Yellow 2 or 7
Red 3 or 8
Green 4 or 9
Blue 5 or 0
Never marked, always clipped. We record when they are clipped to note if there are any subsequent problems. No trends where noted. We DO make sure that the clipper does NOT touch any garlic mustard or other odoriferous items when clipping. This year is a "drivers side" clip. During the first inspection of the year, the age of the queen and number of frames with brood are noted on the back of the brood chamber.
I don't want them clipped. However, I was taught, if you're a beginner, don't get her marked yet. Learn to find her on your own. If you train yourself to find her without her being marked, when you do start marking them, if the marked one left, you'll know how to find the new unmarked queen.
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