Re: OTS - Treatment Free
On OTS vs. honey production --
What I've read Disselkoen to say is to start the swarm season with a pre-emptive split of the queen and some appropriately selected frames, leaving the rest of the colony in place. The queen continues to lay eggs and generate brood, just not in the same hive with the original colony. This compares interestingly with the "cut-down split" technique. I do not understand why it would not do what Disselkoen suggests, which is to leave the population of the home colony with the job of making replacement queens, a lowered brood population to feed, and therefore more foragers to resupply the colony (and beekeeper) with honey for a new-queen-fired attempt to push the world's bee population over the top.
From the beekeeper's perspective, this seemed to be a good way to propagate bees, generate increase and keep reserve nucs, as well as to harvest honey. By selecting productive colonies for multiple (in OTS, not hundreds of) queens from good producers, one should still be selecting for productive colonies. In the selection process, one would avoid feeding back notably swarm-prone bees into the apiary.
Have I misunderstood something important here? I'd answer the O.P. with a "Go for it!" It happens to be where I'm headed over the next couple of years. I'm building population now and starting to introduce queen (cells) from TF apiaries near me. Every bee gene I have on-site was new to me last year, so I can't say much about development patterns in my apiary. But I'm trying local increase, too, and OTS should be involved although I've just done "walk away" splits so far, letting the bees generate their own queens. Well, they already had started that, so I just endorsed, aided, and abetted them.
"I thought I made a mistake once, but I was wrong." (heard often from the late David Sebree) Still making them, myself