Need to replenish a dead hive.
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.
Re: Need to replenish a dead hive.
The thing that has me concerned is "although small in numbers"...having said that I would not split this hive but would get a package or nuc to populate the dead hive. You should have little to no drifting issues with 6 foot between hives. Yes, just put your new bees in the old hive as configured.