I guess I should summarize. If feel you need to split them more three week before the honey flow and you want to maximize the yeild and you don't mind spending the money on a queen, then buy a queen so they don't have to lose another brood cycle they could have reared. If you can wait until about two weeks or less before the flow then I would just let them raise their own. It will save money and actually free up more bees for the harvest who don't have to care for brood.
>I would prefer to stay with two hives. from my studies I would think I will have a swarming issue this spring.
You answered your own question, stay with two hives and let them swarm. Both you and the bees will be doing what you both want to do.
Im not going to mess with ordering another queen. last year my package never arrived from Mr McCary due to bad weather. Im gonna do it the first way, and let the old hive raise its own queen. bees around here are already hard at work, Im probally gonna have to do something by mid-march, I cant get a queen here till mid-april, by then they will be raising their own.
very great repplies indeed. If I had to place a bet, I think I would put my bet on a huge cloud of bees leaving your hive in the spring. That is a big overwinter cluster.
Another option would be to buy several queens, make a few nucs and sell them for a little seed money.
One thing is for sure, you be having plenty of honney at the end of the summer.
You can always split first and combine later.
Richard Taylor(my favorite bee writer)wrote
"The How To Do It Book of Beekeeping".In it you will find lots of practical tips including splitting,nuc making,swarm prevention and lots of other good stuff.It will explain a lot of what your options are.
You can always make monster 2 queen hives divided by a double screen or nuc board.This is tricky ,but can accomplish swarm prevention and then tremendous honey production.(Better get busy building supers if you try this!)
I'm right up the road from you in Carnation (end of NE 60th ST). There's a few of us beekeepers in the area. I joined the local bee club, Northwest District Beekeepers Association. It's a fun, laid-back club with informal meetings. We have guest speakers from Washington State University sometimes and some of our members have been keeping bees for ages. Here's the club's web site address if you're interested. Meetings are the second Tuesday of each month. - http://www.nwdba.org/
I checked out the site you meet in my home town and the church my Grandparents attended. Small world. I go to a few PS beekeepers meetings and network with a few people.