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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have multiple beeyards including one in my own backyard, which is in a town.

I do try to keep my hives under complete control in my own backyard in order to avoid the issue of a swarm in the air.

However, I think that one of my backyard hives swarmed even with me aggressively controlling it.

My thoughts are to incorporate the trimming of a queen's wing in order to avoid her flight. My thoughts are that when she attempts to fly, she will fall to the earh thus causing the bees in the air to settle down over her. I know that it won't control the swarms led by virgin queens.

Has anyone tried this and what success rate did you find. I am looking at capturing the queen, trimming the wing and then putting her back into the hive. Did the bees consider the queen damaged and then replace her thru Supercedure?
 

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I have not tried clipping the wings of a queen to stop a swarm from going anywhere.

For my hives that are at my home in a neighborhood I now make sure to requeen every Fall. As long as they have the room this has been a fool proof way to keep the hives from swarming. I do have swarms that show up at my house (none this year though :( ) but they aren't mine as my queens are marked. There appears to be a commercial beek a couple miles or so away though. I also make sure to have swarm traps up and ready to catch any possible swarms that arrive.

Knock on wood, I have had no neighbor problems but I make sure to hand out imperfect comb honey chunks and honey bears to the nearby neighbors and am very proactive in minimizing the swarming risks.
 

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clipping a queen can prevent her from leaving but they can make a queen cell and have the virgin queen leave with the swam. Honey bees are going to swarm. its like telling a dog not to like bacon and leave a plate for him to watch ani't going to happen. Plus if you clip her your chances of them supersedure your clipped queen. I would do two things to prevent swarming 1 requeen each year. two if you find queen cells in your hive take them with the frames and make a split with them then your hive swarmed you have your bees and all are happy.
 

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About 2 weeks ago my hive tried to swarm. They all piled out and took to a tree (one they seem to comonly try to use anytime they swarm). I knew the queen was clipped so I tried to see if she was on the ground - no.
In about 5 minutes they all returned to the hive and I went in to make a split.
Found her in the second chamber. She never even left.

(From a one time experience) I would say clipping is a good idea when the hive is where you can keep an eye on it. Like was said - they will go with the virgin if you missed it. It is swarm control and not prevention so it seems to give you a second chance to keep the bees.

Mike


EDIT:
Wanted to add. The queenless swarm was a mess. They landed all over, coating leaves. Not like a normal swarm at all that balls up nice, they were everywher. Guess without a good leader things get messy.
 

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I requeened with several clipped queens. The supersedure rate was high. I painted some queens with a TINY dot of blue model airplane paint ( much smaller than the breeders use ). The supersedure rates were high on them also. Maybe some other kind of paint would work better ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone -- I will try some experiments as I created alot of nucs from Swarm Cells from my hives. Most of them created queens and I can spare a few to learn from.

I will be marking these queens and will observe them for a couple of weeks to see if supercedure takes place. If there is no supercedure, I will then clip one of the queens wings and then watch for supercedure.

If no supercedure, I will create the conditions to cause a nuc to swarm. I wiill be looking for the queen to fall down to the ground and hopefully for the swarm to return back to the hive or land on the ground.

I wonder how far the queen actually flies with a clipped wing. On some of these, I will place a deep with an inner cover that underlaps the landing board of the nuc that she is flying from. It would be interesting to see if the queen/swarm makes the deep their home.



MikeJ,

I found your observation of the queenless bees landing everywhere instead of in a clump very interesting. Last year, I had a similar situation occur, where my bees were in the air above the hive they were swarming from. The only thing I could think of in order to try to prevent the queen from leaving was to throw a fitted sheet over it. And my bees just landed everywhere including on top of me as they waited for their queen.
 

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Mike, my experience with clipped ( and marked ) queens is that they supercede many weeks or months later. Of course other factors might have been in play. I agree with Michael Bush on this one. I have no confidence in a clipped queen to stop swarming. I work very hard not to let it get to that point.
A clipped queen will probably try to fly. Unless you find her within an hour-or-so she will probably not survive. She is extremely vulnerable in the grass in front of the hive !
 

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I have to go with what MikeJ saw. Except without the mess. We had a scheduling problem one spring, and got out to the yards late. We witnessed several attempted swarms that day. Since all the hives where from packages, and equal strength, we think all of the bees returned to the hive .Of cource, all hives that day where inspected for remaining cells.

We clip our queens on the second round in the spring. It is a right wing year. This allows us to judge the age of the queens without marking them. Left wing clipped is last year, No clips are new for this year. We also record when the queen is clipped, and have found no significant supercedure increase after clipping. We did have problems when I pulled garlic mustard, and then clipped. The clipper must NOT handle odoriferous substances.

So yes, it an be part of swarm control.

Roland
 

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I haven't heard of any increase in supersedure from clipping or marking - it has been being done a long time. That in itself does not mean it may not but I would imagine there would be a lot more people noticing this since clipping and marking is so common.

As I said, and I think PAGuy said, it is not thought to be preventing swarms, just a possible second chance to hang on to the bees. As was also said, it probably wouldn't be much good unless you keep a good eye on them - since they will leave with a virgin.

Since I have so few hives I do not find marking needed, but I do prefer to clip. My records will remind me how old a queen is if I don't remember and if I find a queen with all it's wings intact I know they superseded (though I would hope I would have seen it coming before finding it that way).

Mike
 

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I requeened with several clipped queens. The supersedure rate was high. I painted some queens with a TINY dot of blue model airplane paint ( much smaller than the breeders use ). The supersedure rates were high on them also. Maybe some other kind of paint would work better ?
I've used airplane paint and nail polish with poor results. I had one queen "disappear" after I painted her the day before I was to do a presentation at a gradeschool. In hindsite both of them downright stink. I went to using the type of marking paints that are sold via bee supply companies and I've been very pleased with the results. They seem to dry faster, are easier to control and I don't smell them. I'm certain they have a smell but relative to how overpowering the other paints I've used are, this is a vast improvement.
 

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Yes, clipping may help in swarm control. NO, it has no effect on swarm prevention. They will swarm, just not successfully the first time. Although they may swarm with a Virgin, we have seen no evidence of that in first time swarms.

Roland

P.S, The "Right Wing" is a both a threat and a promise, he he he.(some of this blood was on Bunker hill)
 

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THANKS D, I like the idea of marking my queens. Some of these bought queens look like they used a stencel brush on them. You only need a very small dot. I like the blue because there is very little blue in a bee hive, whereas there are yellows, reds, and oranges. It shows up well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Now, I have to ask, is there a special tool to clip a bees wing. What do you use. Does clipping a queen's wing require two individuals?

P.S. I thoroughly enjoyed the comments about it being a "Right" wing year and am still chuckling over it. :thumbsup:
 

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Somewhere, I'm thinking Dadant, I got these great scissors that are short and have finger holes in them that worked better than anything I've tried. Some people use manicure scissors but I've had trouble with the wing just bending instead of cutting...
 

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...I got these great scissors that are short and have finger holes in them that worked better than anything I've tried...
Maybe what we use. If you have anyone in your home that sews, look around in their stuff (of course after asking)...
You will usually find a nice little pair of scissors - kind of small, but very sharp.

I suggest washing them when done - you will want to be allowed to use them again. :D

Mike
 

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We have a "science surplus" store in town that sells them. If you have big fingers, test them first. NO, it is not a two person job, but not a good job for someone shaky , or with tough fingers from welding alot. You need thin skinned , delicate "wimp fingers".

Roland
 

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I don't like getting stung and wear a vail when I think it is likely. Who knows, maybe I have "wimp fingers". I've been stung everywhere there is ! Between the nostrals was the worst.
 

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My point was that with calloused hands from welding, etc, it is difficult to feel the queen and not squish her. When clipping, I wish I had wimp hands.
No insult untended.

Roland
 
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