One of my two hives died over the Winter and the other, although small in numbers seems to be doing well.

I've thought of ordering a package, but would rather split the one I have since I know their disposition and their ability to over-winter.

So, living in Cincinnati, when should I think of doing this? M. Bush's rule of thumb is a month after capped drone cells. Any other advice? Do swarm cells need to be capped before I split or should I do it as soon as I notice them?

Also, the hives are only about 6ft apart, so what can i do to minimize drift?

Lastly, each hive is 3 mediums right now and on the dead hive the bottom box is empty, the middle box is less than half full of capped honey, and the top box is almost completely full. Should I leave the hive configured as it is and put the split in the bottom box? In the meantime, I've just been letting the remaining hive rob the dead one for whatever they may need to strengthen up.

Lots of question i know, but thanks for the advice.