Clip or not clip?

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Nannysbees 

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Hi just wondering who clips their queens and who doesn't. Next inspection we will be looking for a queen in our hive which was split and then swarmed. Our error was to leave them alone but they made at least seven queen cells and when we looked most had hatched leaving one unhatched which we are now hoping will be the new queen. What would your advise be to mark and clip? Just mark or don't bother, don't want to risk upsetting the hive.
 

Beekeeper Brownie 

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I do, I was recommended the process by a lot of people at my local society and have carried on with it. It certainly makes it easier for sorting out swarms and I think it gives you another one or two days before they decide to leave the hive after the q cell is capped. When they do decided to swarm the swarm is normally on the floor of the underside of the hive or on the stand or in the grass in front of the hive. Either way it's significantly easier to sort out than a swarm 10ft plus in a tree! If you get behind swarm management/inspections/ splitting it's a useful insurance.

The photo is of one on the underside of an OMF pre getting shaken into a poly nuc. I saw this hive swarm into a high oak tree and then realise they had not got the queen with them so they returned for her and settled here.

Swarm.jpg
 

Erichalfbee 

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I don’t but believe you should if you keep bees in your garden and have neighbours
And by the way, bees including queens emerge ( or eclose if you are a purist). They don’t hatch.
 

Erichalfbee 

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Don’t blame me !
 

pargyle 

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I don't...but it's one of those personal preferences that we will have another long debate about (theres been a few over the years) as there is no hard and fast rule ....even with a clipped queen you still need to manage your bees during the swarm season and if she swarms and can't fly theres every chance she will end up a few feet from the hive . If you are not on top of things then theres the possibility you will lose the queen anyway... lost in the undergrowth ....pros and cons...
 

Nannysbees 

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I don’t but believe you should if you keep bees in your garden and have neighbours
And by the way, bees including queens emerge ( or eclose if you are a purist). They don’t hatch.
Thank you I'll remember that
 

hemo 

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I clip but not always in the same year, I have some pretty decent calm bees so I like to save the queens if I miss a swarm or cockup. Even with brambles and longish grass in front of them they seem to be able to reform and cluster on the under side of the floor mesh( in my case UFE's).
Also mine are all in garden locations so saves some grief.
 

masterBK 

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I got fed up climbing up trees to recover swarms so for the last 20 or so years I now clip queens in their second season (queens less likely to swarm in their first season) when I see them in late spring. It is important to get some practise in picking up, holding and clipping using drones before moving on to queens (bear in mind that drones unlike queens don't tend to stick a hind leg up at the wrong moment so be careful not to cut part of of a back leg off). Also practise on "unwanted" queens before tackling those precious queens you can't afford to lose. This year I have so far clipped ten queens and unusually lost three of them, one being balled in front of my eyes and in the other two cases I found emergency cells at the next weekly inspection ! I am left wondering what I did different this time compared to the hundreds of times I have clipped queens in the past without mishap. It might well be related to the current conditions of poor weather and forage making the bees a bit edgy.
 

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Repwoc 

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I had my first go at Q clipping a couple of weeks ago. Failed miserably. How do you get from holding the Q by the wings in pic 1 to holding her by one wing in pic 2? And how do you stop her flapping her wings? And how do you put your gloves on while holding the queen? :)
 

Repwoc 

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I thought I might take a CO2 bottle next time - get the Q in a travel cage then sedate her with CO2. Should be a lot easier clipping a sleeping Q.
 

masterBK 

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I had my first go at Q clipping a couple of weeks ago. Failed miserably. How do you get from holding the Q by the wings in pic 1 to holding her by one wing in pic 2? And how do you stop her flapping her wings? And how do you put your gloves on while holding the queen? :)

The tightly fitting nitrile gloves are put on before you start . Years ago we used to use bare hands but that risks leaving your sweat scent on the queen with risk of her getting balled. The introduction of nitrile gloves prevents that and still allows a good deal of touch sensitivity. I use fly fishermans scissors (I am left handed and these can be used by either hand as you squeeze them to make the cut). The queen with the missing bit lof leg was clipped by one of my "students" at one of my training sessions. I am holding it by the wings so that the leg can be clearly seen (using the other hand to hold the camera and take the photo).

In pic 2 the beekeeper (not me ) is holding the queen by the legs. I actually prefer to hold a queen during clipping by the thorax as I don't want tp risk harming the tarsal glands that produce footprint pheromone. To pick up a queen I use a finger of the left hand to impede her movement allowing me to pick her up by the wings using the thumb and forefinger of right hand, I then transfer her to the left hand holding the lower half of her thorax by the ball of the thumb and tips of the first two finger of the left hand with the upper thorax and wings ex;posed and the abdomen sticking out freely (important not to squeeze the abdomen containing her repro gear).

I then raise one forewing up slightly using the lower blade of the scissors (held in right hand so have them handy. I actually have them held in the palm of my right hand while I am holding her by the wings ) and when I am sure there are no hind legs in the way I close the blades clipping off a third of that wing. I release the queen onto a comb and check to see if she walks around OK without being assaulted by the workers. If they do ( a rare event normally) she needs quickly rescuing, caged and introduced back using fondant release.
 

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gmonag 

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I don’t but believe you should if you keep bees in your garden and have neighbours
And by the way, bees including queens emerge ( or eclose if you are a purist). They don’t hatch.
The larva ecloses from the egg (the egg just morphs into a larva)
The adults emerge from the cell
 

gmonag 

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I clip my queens, not give me more time between inspections but to give me a chance to recover the inevitable swarm that I did not see coming, without climbing a tree in my neighbours garden.

I use a one-handed queen catcher, which holds her in the perfect position and prevents her sticking a leg up.
Clipping a queen.jpg

Edit: Better photo
 
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Repwoc 

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The tightly fitting nitrile gloves are put on before you start . Years ago we used to use bare hands but that risks leaving your sweat scent on the queen with risk of her getting balled. The introduction of nitrile gloves prevents that and still allows a good deal of touch sensitivity. I use fly fishermans scissors (I am left handed and these can be used by either hand as you squeeze them to make the cut). The queen with the missing bit lof leg was clipped by one of my "students" at one of my training sessions. I am holding it by the wings so that the leg can be clearly seen (using the other hand to hold the camera and take the photo).

In pic 2 the beekeeper (not me ) is holding the queen by the legs. I actually prefer to hold a queen during clipping by the thorax as I don't want tp risk harming the tarsal glands that produce footprint pheromone. To pick up a queen I use a finger of the left hand to impede her movement allowing me to pick her up by the wings using the thumb and forefinger of right hand, I then transfer her to the left hand holding the lower half of her thorax by the ball of the thumb and tips of the first two finger of the left hand with the upper thorax and wings ex;posed and the abdomen sticking out freely (important not to squeeze the abdomen containing her repro gear).

I then raise one forewing up slightly using the lower blade of the scissors (held in right hand so have them handy. I actually have them held in the palm of my right hand while I am holding her by the wings ) and when I am sure there are no hind legs in the way I close the blades clipping off a third of that wing. I release the queen onto a comb and check to see if she walks around OK without being assaulted by the workers. If they do ( a rare event normally) she needs quickly rescuing, caged and introduced back using fondant release.
Good explanation. Thanks.
 

Erichalfbee 

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The larva ecloses from the egg (the egg just morphs into a larva)
The adults emerge from the cell
Ok. At least the adult doesn’t hatch
 

Newbeeneil 

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I clip my queens just to make sure I don't loose a swarm if I miss a cell.
I clipped one yesterday and she played dead as I put her back. I thought I had killed her but after about a minute of no movement she jumped up and disappeared between the frames.
 

Nannysbees 

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I wish I had your confidence and experience. A lot of very interesting information thank you masterbk
 

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