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taff.. 

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is the one thats not asked, or so they say.

please remember I am a novice. :)

why do some people clip the queens wings? I've read plenty that about queens being clipped and marked but no explanation as to why they are clipped.

Is it so that when the swarming impulse kicks off she cant actually fly away from the hive and so the swarm will just spill out of the hive onto the floor and walk away?
 

jimbeekeeper 

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Is it so that when the swarming impulse kicks off she cant actually fly away from the hive and so the swarm will just spill out of the hive onto the floor and walk away?

See you are not that much of a novice if you gave that answer!

But the key now is to reduce the urge to swarm, predict it or take advantge of it.
 

admin 

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Hi Taff,

Like you said if the queen is clipped she cannot fly,well not straight anyway.

Often a clipped queen who leaves the hive will be lossed in the grass for ever.

The swarm hangup in a tree etc and wait for her to join them before departing into the sunset.

BUT the swarm will return to the hive as they will not leave without her.

So you have now lost your queen but not your bees,yes its an accident but not a disaster.

You just need to requeen now and will still get a honey crop this year.
 

SteveH 

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So you have now lost your queen but not your bees,yes its an accident but not a disaster.

You just need to requeen now and will still get a honey crop this year.
Chances are a swarm would depart after capping over one or more queen cells. One of these queen cells could be used to replace the lost queen.
 

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oops,thanks Steve. :cheers2:
 

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Thanks Finman,just ordered some fishing line one handed scissors from ebay.
 

Hivemaker. 

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No not all beekeepers agree with this practice,quite often,but not allways it seems to be the one's who seem incapable of finding the Queen in the first place. But if you don't mind losing your bee's and most of any honey crop for the season(depending on time of season) from that hive,then who cares. This method of clipping is an essential part of any effective swarm control system. And if you intend to leave a Queen cell in a hive that has swarmed and lost it's clipped Queen,just think what can and often does happen when that virgin flys. If you don't manage to get the swarm that comes out of your hive,you may well get some of the varroa mites back,when they go live in a tree or chimney or some such place,and start to colapse from the infestation,so not all is lost.

Or perhaps you could by one of the new EGO hives as poly calls them,drone and queen prisons.
 
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OXFORDBEE 

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Just to go along with Finman...

>When you clip, cut only 1/3 tip from one wing, not boath. So queen wings are not in balance.

Asymmetic clipping of the queens wings will make her unable to fly. If both wings are symmetrical then she can fly a short distance. This can cause problems!

Another reason for clipping the queens wings is it makes the bees wait for the virgins to be more fully developed before issuing a swarm. This means you can have 11 days betwen hive inspections rather than 7 for unclipped queens.

I've also found that having clipped queens means I can juggle equipment around between apiaries. A clipped queen won't go anywhere and by knocking down queen cells I get that opportunity to move equipment between apiaries before having to sort them hive out at the next visit.
 
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Heather 

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Can you expand on that, Oxfordbee. The colony will wait longer to depart if the queen clipped... Do they realise her impairment?
This is the first I have heard of this, but may just be yet another gap in my bee knowledge:(
Heather
 

Finman 

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and by knocking down queen cells I get that opportunity to move equipment between apiaries before having to sort them hive out at the next visit.
Actually it does not help. If swarming prolongs, the colony will be quite confused.

When you have queen cells, it is best to make a false swarm and put it on foundations. If the colony has no larvae, it is sign that laying queen has gone.

If the queen has normal wings, the swarm can fly to sky even to morrow when the hive is full of brood and honey. And the queen leave only eggs into queen cell cups.

In Finland only under 10% clip wing from queens. But it is same to me what most of beekeeprs do. I have my own style and I change it if I consider it usefull. Beekeeping is so full of nonsence that I even don't want to know all that beekeepers have got into their mind. It makes me grazy.

In these forums beekeepers are not able to do else than kill mites and even in that job they use the most miserable ways, ....like calculating....and shaking ....:cheers2:
 

Finman 

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Do they realise her impairment?
This is the first I have heard of this,
I have convinced that they do.

40 years ago clipped wing before winter and I lost several queens during winter and there was virgin in spring. I read an Australian article that 20% of colonies do not accept clipped queen.

I start to clip wings next spring before swarming time and winter losses vanished. My colonies has been eager to renew their 1-year old queens and I think that reason is the wings.

I don't know the truth but I have done it this way 40 years and I will do.
 

taff.. 

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thanks for all the replies. :hurray:

See you are not that much of a novice if you gave that answer!
But the key now is to reduce the urge to swarm, predict it or take advantge of it.
:sifone:

I thought that was the obvious answer but thought there may be other reasons.

Chances are a swarm would depart after capping over one or more queen cells. One of these queen cells could be used to replace the lost queen.
by that do you mean you would physically cut out the queen cell and place it in with the swarm for them to look after? (presuming the swarm has been caught and placed into a nuc or similar)

May I add that not all beekeepers agree with this practice!
it wouldn't be beekeeping if morethan 2 beekeepers agreed :cheers2:

Or perhaps you could by one of the new EGO hives as poly calls them,drone and queen prisons.
I dont understand this at all, could you expand please?

Another reason for clipping the queens wings is it makes the bees wait for the virgins to be more fully developed before issuing a swarm. This means you can have 11 days betwen hive inspections rather than 7 for unclipped queens.
Is that the common practice with clipped queens or is that just the way that you look after your own?
 

Finman 

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Susan Colby or some famous queen breeder wrote that don't clip too deeply the wing because it is living organ and it has nerves and blood vessels.
 

Poly Hive 

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the 11 days rang bells with me and so I consulted my texts.

Mace does not really go into the timings but Sims does and talks about 9 days.

So colony swarms on day one and loses the Queen. If the cells are capped and ready to go then how long do you really have before they swarm again with the virgin? Certainly between one and 8 days. However if the colony is swarming with an unsealed cell then you have your 9 days or even more.

Clipping the queen is no guarantee of NOT losing a swarm. Inspections can indeed be extended to 9 days from seven but but but.... be very aware that strong colonies can shift amazing quantities of nectar in a very short time indeed so if there is a good nectar flow it pays to keep a close eye on storage space and super well in advance.

I have seen three sups filled in three days. True fact. and the brood box swimming in it too.

The answer to my question on the little observation hive by the way was that the first four inches of comb were drawn out, not much mind but enough got them to be laid up and the two inches below that were being worked on, so if a dinky hive can achieve that then the strong ones are awesome. this is what catches out beginners more than anything, the sheer speed that they can move at and the classic advice of three supers is rubbish. Ya need 6.

PH

PH
 
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tony350i 

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i don't cut wings off, i check very 7 days in the most swarm sensitive time of the year.
 
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OXFORDBEE 

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Ooops..

Maybee 11 days is pushing it a bit. Thinking about what Poly Hive said, 10 is probably OK when there are NO eggs in queen cells (in fact 10 days is ringing more bells than 11!).

As a bee management policy, if you can't get to the bees (for whatever reason) on regular 7-9 day inspections it is reassuring to know that you've got a few days in hand when the queen is clipped.

It takes time to find all the queens in spring, clip and mark them. However, they are very much easier to find than when they've been slimmed down to swarm and have not been marked!!

---------------------------

Metcalf (http://www.beedata.com/data2/spring_inspection.html) mentions:

Clipping wings also helps to extend the period between inspections for swarm control. It will not prevent swarming, but the queen will be unable to leave with the swarm and therefore give the beekeeper more time to take preventative action. If you have never clipped a queen's wings before, practice on drones when available, rather than risk fatally damaging a queen.
 
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