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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Cell starter, cell builder questions......

Within the next week I am going to make my first every splits. I have a nuc with a compartment I built at the bottom with screen wire sides to use as a cell builder. I have 3 strong hives that have a couple deeps nearly full of bees, one hive that has more than a deep full of bees and one slow hive that I will be using as bees in the splits after the queen cells are finished. I would like to use a full deep for a cell builder but don't feel that I need to rob enough bees from the 3 strongest hives to fill a deep with enough bees to make a cell builder from. Is a nuc with 5 or 6 frames of bees on 4 frames of capped brood enough to build out 10-20 queen cells, and make good quality queens? I plan to use the OTS notching system to make the queens.

Now for the other question. Do I leave the frame of eggs/larvae in the cell starter until they are capped? I have seen videos where some have a cell finisher hive. The hive that I am going to split up is in one deep. They have nothing in the upper deep besides some nectar and honey that they are putting in it now. If I need to make a cell finisher, I am going to put a queen excluder on top of the lower deep, then put the bees from the cell starter into that hive. That would give that hive 15-16 frames of bees in addition to what will be emerging from the capped frames from the cell starter.

If I need a starter and finisher, how long do I leave them in the starter hive?

For those of you who OTS, is one frame of eggs/larvae enough to produce 10-20 queen cells (that can be separated) to put into 10 nucs?

Is a nuc large enough for a cell starter to get quality fed queens?

Any advice is definitely appreciated. I don't want to screw up and I'm nervous since this is my first attempt at doing this.
 

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I watched a video and read an article on OTS Queen building...believe the instructors name as Dielssen or similar. I understood he was using the system to makes
List so they would raise their Queen. He notched a couple of places with eggs or very young larvae...kept a couple of good cells and squashed the others or transplanted into another nuc. He didn't seem to use it for general Queen production rather as a means to get a nuc to build their own Queen.
I guess it could be used for general production.
I have never raised Queens...have been looking into it with hopes of trying to raise a few mid May.
Good luck...let us know how it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies. I have read the website and watched the videos. I don't think I'm ready to try grafting yet but I wanted to take advantage of the cell building and finishing with the crowded and numerous nurse bees that a cell starter and/or finisher would provide. I was wondering if anyone used this method with a cell builder hive and cell finisher hive like they would in a grafting situation.
 

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Brad- OTS is only meant to raise a few queen cells to split the hive 3 or 4 ways. To raise a number of queens
you need a method which uses starter and finishing hives.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Brad- OTS is only meant to raise a few queen cells to split the hive 3 or 4 ways.
Thanks for the reply. I know with the OTS method that some of the cells are built together and can't be separated. So I guess OTS is out if I want to raise enough queens to make 6-8 splits?

I guess I could use the cell punch method, or cut rows of cells out and put them on the queen cell frames.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have 5 hives and I'm trying to get to 10-15 hives by the end of June. I promise I MIGHT not ask so many questions, once I get over the initial uncertainty of doing a split. :)
 

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Know the feeling. Wait until your hives are good and strong, one week before your avg.
swarm season starts which might be close. Take the queen and two frames of brood out
and put in nuc and move them 2mi away. Now, notch the remaining brood frames in each hive
and wait one week. Then make 2fr brood splits from remaining frames. You should have enough
to make 3 per hive, giving you 15nucs plus the original 5 hives, that makes 20 nucs to grow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
They are strong and swarm season should be here about now. I want to try and do my splits, all with my weakest hive so that I can still get a good honey crop with my 4 remaining hives. Our main flow should start in the next couple of weeks. I guess I could pull the queens from all my hives when the flow starts and let them raise their own. That would give me 5 nucs with old queens and I could probably pull 5 more nucs after the main flow.
 

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OTS is versatile. If you want honey, do like you said, remove old queen and notch one fr and let them make
their own queen. While they are doing that during the flow, I'm guessing you will get 100lb of honey. Then
at the end of the flow they should have 6fr of brood to split 3ways. That's 15 nucs. Now take the original
5 hives with the old queen, which should have 8 frames of brood, and split that 4ways into nucs.
That's 35 nucs to overwinter, nice problem?
 
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