clipping queens

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by ronsin, Jun 27, 2012.

  1. ronsin

    ronsin New Member

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    on a recent visit to one of our oldest and well respected asscociation members apiary he was demonstrating how he marks and clips his queens wings.i noticed that he clipped both wings very close to the body.i asked him the reason for this thinking that .it may cause the wings to bleed.he reckoned tha they do bleed a little but didnt appear to effect the bees in anyway. he maintains that if you only clip one wing on occasions hes known bees to swarm carrying the queen .with them.anyone else agree with this theory
     
  2. PerryBee

    PerryBee New Member

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    That's first I've heard of it but them I'm pretty young. I bought a queen with a clipped wing once and haven't since. When the hive threw a swarm, I caught it and hived it. When I went back into the original hive to check things out, I found the old girl still there (obviously, she couldn't fly). I felt bad about it and because she was such a good queen and I didn't want to take a second chance I started a nuc just for her.
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    it is thought by some (me included) that mangling a queen in any fashion encourages a hive to replace a queen sooner rather than later. the standard way is to clip the back edge of one wing to limit the damage to the queen and in this fashion she can still fly but poorly.

    I don't much like to clip queen myself but do buy queens (in some number) that are clipped and marked <these typically go into nucs that I sell. A queen clipped in the fashion you describe I would reject outright... I have done so on very infrequent occasions. I am not a slave to "the queen's color" or how perfectly the dot is painted on her back or if she is perfectly grown out when they put her into the introduction cage.... but at the very least such mangling of a simple job suggest the queen was treated roughly by very very inexperienced hands.
     
  4. jim314

    jim314 New Member

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    Me either after the queen was superseded in short order.
     
  5. efmesch

    efmesch Active Member

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    NOt commenting on whether it is good or bad (my experience with clipped queens is mixed) but it seems to me that spotting a clipped queen is easier than a non-clipped one. She simply stands out against the background of the other bees better, because of her asymetry.
     
  6. BjornBee

    BjornBee New Member

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    Queen will usually still try to fly off the front of the hive for swarming after being clipped.

    Unless your checking the bee yard everyday, this means the queen may end up in the grass a few feet away, many times being found with a small ball of protective bees around her. But it also means that a rain storm, a skunk, or any other things may doom her.

    Some beekeepers will suggest that they "check" everyday to make sure that this does not happen. I supposed if you have one or two hives in the bakyard, that may be true. But that also means that the hives are easily checked throughout swarm season and finding swarm cells prior to this happening is something that should take place.

    Clipping queens, as an alternative to good beekeeping management, is not a good thing.

    We know that mites vector viral and disease by the the fact the mites chew holes in the bees. And while most mites never get the chance to drill holes in queens as they are constantly groomed and cared for, why would a beekeeper open wounds, and make a queen bleed, for some trade off of what a clipped queen provides? Which to me is little.

    And I agree, while some queens go on to be great layers with clipped wings, or even a bad leg, I do not need to give bees any reason to supercede queens.

    I find no good rationale on clippin wings.
     
  7. riverbee

    riverbee Active Member

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    ronsin said:
    "he maintains that if you only clip one wing on occasions hes known bees to swarm carrying the queen .with them.anyone else agree with this theory"

    i disagree with that theory.

    bjorn said:
    "I find no good rationale on clippin wings."

    my opinion as well.
     
  8. Omie

    Omie New Member

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    Just seems unnecessary and icky.
     
  9. Tia

    Tia New Member

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    I'm with Omie. I feel that my job as a beekeeper is to help the bees in any way that will keep them happy. Clipping the queen's wings doesn't make them happy so I don't do it.
     
  10. gunsmith

    gunsmith New Member

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    I don't know ALL the pros and cons of clipped wings, but I agree with Omie. If a queen wasn't meant to fly, she would have hatched without wings.
     
  11. ronsin

    ronsin New Member

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    thanks for all your comments guys and in future will leave my ladies unmolested