silly question, is this common practice

fairy_toadmotherSeptember 13, 2005

i was reading in _________ magazine about honey and beekeeping. i have never read this here, but they mentioned a beekeeping practice and my curiosity is up. it stated that some keepers cut the queens wings or kill the queen if she isn't or no longer produces(larvae) up to par and/or quota.

really, i am not trying to start any wars with p***, just curious...


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txbeeguy(z8 TX)

What you describe is fairly common practice. Queen honeybees are "livestock" just like any other swine, cattle, chickens, etc.
Clipping a wing is used to mark/identify the queen and her age. I don't do it anymore but when I did, I used sharp baby fingernail scissors. Frequently nowadays a coloured paint mark is placed on the queen's thorax to identify her age. There is a different colour for different years so her age is known to the beekeeper.
A queen can live for four or five years but she is most highly productive during the first year or two. After that, many beekeepers will remove her and replace her with a new young vigorous queen. This is done in consideration of the overall health and welfare of the honeybee colony.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 10:07AM
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amymcg(z5 MA)

Definitely a common practice. Beekeepers re-queen anytime they don't like what's happening for the most part. If they feel the workers are too aggressive, they will re-queen to get different genetics. If she's not laying properly, she gets replaced. Some replace as a matter of course every two years for optimal brood rearing.

Wing clipping is for ID as well as preventing her from flying away with a swarm. Sometimes however the workers will see a clipped wing as a defect and replace her with a new queen themselves.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 12:09PM
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very interesting! thanks to both of you for the info.
may your hives always present a heavy yield :)

    Bookmark   September 14, 2005 at 9:22PM
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