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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been very successful rasing my own bees with the OTS method, however as many of you know this leaves a significant amount of time that the colony has no brood due to the new queen hatching and mating.

Has anyone done this:

Do an 3 frame split with the queen into a nuc, let the original hive develop their queen cells (do all of the OTS steps). Then after queen cells are set and ready to hatch start taking brood from the nuc and putting it with the original hive.

The idea would be to have a very strong hive with a brand new queen going right into the peak of nectar flow, again assuming the nuc would only be a brood factory for the production hive.

I have no experience with this method, just curious if anyone does. If not I may try it with one hive and see what happens.
 

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This thought has been wandering around in my head as well. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Just keep trading drawn comb into the nuc as you pull out full brood frames.
Only thing is you would need to be careful not to weaken your nuc to much.
 

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I think I get much the benefit you are looking for by pulling the queen with a two or frame split and putting her and the nuc above a queen excluder, a medium super and another queen excluder. This provides the conditions for raising in a quality emergency queen below and the split off queen having all the nurse bees she could possibly need to produce more brood and bees. When you have a queen laying below, Then again split the old queen off with a small split and your requeened parent colony is now past swarm season with a vigorous new queen. If the requeening fails, you recombine or try again. I am a believer in OTS but timing is everything and I often feel I hurt honey production because I time it poorly. This is my work around and go to swarm preventer.
 

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Hi Hack! Your idea would work, but why not produce queens and make nuc's as efficiently as possible instead? This depends on the size of your operation.

One or two hives? => Buying a laying queen or a nuc' for combining are better ideas in the main Spring nectar flow than anything requiring raising queens in your honey producers.

Over 6 colonies? => A separate, ventilated, 5- or 6-frame queen cell building nucleus box and up to 30 mating nuc's (run in two separate 22-day cycles of up to 15 queens per cycle, 11 days in the Cell builder nuc' and 11 days or even longer in the mating nuc's)

Over 20 colonies? => read Michael Palmer's thread, "My Queen Raising Methods".

I'm just basing this on optimal use of bee resources.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the advice. Vance, I may try that it seems like a great plan and timing is going to be my issue also. Question: Do you then put all honey supers between the queens? So you have one in the walkout and the other one in the penthouse?

KC, I'm considering buying a queen also but I like the idea of a brood break to help with mite control. BUT that also leaves a month with no new bees....but they also consume less because they are not raising brood.......I'm confusing myself....LOL

I'm really good at splitting and making bees, maybe I should stick to that. But I really want to see if I can produce a good crop of honey. :scratch:
 

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I can raise all the bees I want as well. I am still working on making a honey crop. Problem in my area is that the flow is really only about a 45 day affair. Yes there is stuff for them to eat on both ends of that but not enough to fill supers.
I was dreaming this spring of making up a couple “super hives” with capped brood from all my hive put together after I pulled the spring three frame splits. But I have two queens out of six that need replacing as they just aren’t getting with the program.
Anyway the way I thought it would work is like this.
Let the hives build up to just before swarm levels. Pull the three frame split from all hives. Select a couple hives and fill them to the max with capped and emerging brood and one frame of open brood for them to raise a queen on. Then make what spilts you could from the remaining brood in the yard.
Say you had four hives with 6-7 frames each of brood after pulling splits. Go through and pile capped brood and bees into two hives to give them 8-9 frames capped brood and then a frame of larva or queen cell
This would be the production hive. Then using what is left to make two-three frame splits using queen cells. Combine the successes and failures later on.
No idea how this would have worked as I have never tried it before.
I have been using OTS as well but have come to not like the disruption to my best colonies. My goal this year is to get a handle on grafting so I have queen cells early for splits.
I am fascinated with making bees. The honey crop just keeps the family happy and goes good on biscuits.
 

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Missing a month means not enough honey to share with the humans. Splitting is poor management. Adding a queen or a nuc' is far better.

Making LOTS of honey means moving bees from one nectar crop (best one you can get to) that week / fortnight / month on to the next. Bees sitting in the back yard would have to be exceedingly lucky to make a good crop. Got a flatbed truck? => got too much honey to get rid of.

It also means feeding them BeeSweet and MegaBee when they need it, and re-queening when they need it. It also means pulling the excess honey off at just the right time (the bees get to keep one box packed with honey!)
 

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another option is a snelgrove split then recombine once you pull the top box queen and a couple frames of brood for a new nuc.
 

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another option is a snelgrove split
With your goals in mind, that would be my choice.


Swarm Control and Honey Production

Virtually all swarm control methods involve some loss of honey production but this must be weighed against the loss that occurs if a colony is just allowed to swarm, the prime swarm makes good its escape and so do any cast swarms. If this entirely natural sequence of events is allowed to proceed unchecked, most of the honey production will be lost. The following management options are listed in order of their increasing impact on honey production.

a) No swarm control - the colony goes the whole way through the season without attempting to swarm. This is the option most likely to realise the maximum honey production potential of the hive. The likelihood of a colony not attempting to swarm during the season are greatly increased by good comb management; ensuring the queen always has room to lay and there is plenty of space for the storage of honey.

b) Pre-emptive swarm control – splitting the colony before any queen cells are produced (eg. Snelgrove`s Method I,described in Part 2) comes next. If this operation is carefully timed in relation to anticipated nectar flows and the quantitative balance of the split is nicely adjusted*, there will be little loss honey production. There can even be a slight increase if thesplit is made early in the season and results in two fully functioning colonies by the time of the main flow. Pre-emptive splitting is certainly a good option for bees that are to be taken to the heather or have access to some other late nectar flow. Uniting the splits can be used to produce a large colony with lots of brood and headed by a young queen in anticipation of the flow.
http://www.wbka.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/The-Many-Uses-Of-A-Snelgrove-Board-by-Wally-Shaw.pdf
 

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I'm trying Snelgrove boards this year. I am about half way through the swarm season for this area without any swarms.
The author, Snelgrove, wrote, "The queen, encouraged by the presence of a little
unsealed brood, continues to lay as though nothing
had happened, but owing to the absence of the nurse
bees the development of a new brood nest is rather
slow." I found this statement to be untrue in my case, this season, with these bees. I became concerned that maybe the bottom boxes were becoming weak, so I had a look. 11 of 12 Queens appeared to have not slowed down at all. I guess a lot of the field bees stayed in the hive to help rear brood, giving the appearance of weakness from an outside observation.
I took all of the capped brood out of the bottom box that would fit into the top box. Now if the flow will just pick up some speed this just might work out.
Snellgrove also states to not rely on specific calendar dates and # of days for each of the operations. Believe it.

Alex
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Missing a month means not enough honey to share with the humans. Splitting is poor management. Adding a queen or a nuc' is far better.
Kilocharlie,

"Lots of honey" is subjective, I think that we may have a difference of view on that. I just mean I've only ever harvested a frame or three of honey no supers or anything like that in 5 years with bees.

But I do have a question, you say missing a month means not enough honey to share. I assume you mean during the queenless period? But the Author of the OTS book says you still gain honey during a brood break because the bees are not using it to raise brood. Is that incorrect? I don't know myself, I'm just trying to learn.
 

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I found that although they put on some "extra" honey while the new queen was being raised and mated it all disappeared when she started laying. They become short on foragers for a bit and use the stored honey as the fuel to keep them going. By the time you finally have more foragers again they have eaten all they stored during the queenless period. That's my limited experience with it take it for what it's worth. best of luck
 

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Hack- read Ormond Aebi's book - he and his father set a single hive record many years back - their entire focus was making ideal conditions for a colony to really pack on the honey. From not delaying anything the bees needed to idealizing locations, to how they supered the hives - they stayed on top of things. If they had added mobile beekeeping to their repertoire, just imagine how much they'd have made!

I want a powerful colony - the division of labor is highly stacked in favor of large, healthy colonies - and I want them where they have tons (literally) of nectar to get just a short distance away, and I want them to stay in the peak of the Gaussian bell curve (time as abscissa and nectar mass as ordinate) of each nectar flow throughout the season.

You might also check out a rather poorly organized book by Dr. C.C. Miller, Fifty Years Among the Bees. He held the record for per-hive-average for over a century.

Also talk to honey-in-the-comb producers. They really have to know their stuff 10 times better than ordinary beekeepers. They do a tightrope balancing act between too many bees in the hive (=> swarm losses) and not quite enough bees (to completely fill out the wooden squares to the corners). They get one chance a year to make a crop, or it's all much lower paying chunk honey in jars with liquid honey to fill. They live for idealization.

My take is that a laying queen means more bees all the time, and thus a maximum honey harvest for that potential population. The beekeeper must also perform at a peak, knowing which day to move off avocado and onto orange, whether sage will pop on the amount of rainfall from the recent winter?, when to go the buckwheat, etc., all season long.
 
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