Re: Tactics for making splits
The methods that Brian described in the op will most certainly work and is quite commonly done. Its a bit more turmoil than I like in a yard but sometimes nucing involves a lot of turmoil no matter how you do it. Of course we do things somewhat differently (I can hear the surprised gasps all around). In my mind a perfect scenario is never handling a frame more than once. If its a double I split it before even pulling a frame and usually look downstairs first. (more surprised gasps and someone in the back whispers "but the queen is usually upstairs") Don't worry I'm just taking a quick inventory, if there isnt much there I will begin setting it up for a nuc and then begin dropping the good stuff into the lower box, starting from one side frame feeder, honey, brood, open brood, brood, brood, (if there is a lot) extra bees, then fill it out with empties. If there is brood downstairs I leave some making sure there is at least some open brood and usually honey needs to be dropped down from the upper box, and ration out pollen frames equally. I spend 10 seconds or so looking at each frame of brood for the queen as I progress through both boxes. When I find her (warning graphic language) I kill her. I keep an empty box near if there is extra brood to begin making a third nuc up. Set the new nucs onto a pallet and lid them always keeping an eye out for robbing. We keep a forklift handy and at the first sign of drifting we just start moving pallets around to neutralize it. After the yard is done we have lots of 1 high pallets of bees a few with queens that we miss but it isnt usually more than 10%, meaning typically something under 5% have queens. That evening or early the next morning we move everything out to a new yard and let them fly for a full day. When the new yard is set out it should ideally look like the person running the forklift should be ticketed for a DUI. Scatter and alternate angles as much as possible and put in a few "firebreaks" if there is room. Anything but lined up neatly in a row. The next morning we even up bee populations as needed, sometimes by simply trading places and also by pulling frames of bees out to bolster the hives that are short of bees and then install a queen cell down on the brood to prevent chilling on the occasional cold night. On checkbacks 3 weeks later those missed queens are usually wall to wall brood and we use that to rebuild the misses. We also occasionally make up additional nucs in split boxes and transfer those into some of the "misses" as well. So there ya go, a bit of work for sure and a few more steps than most take but worth the extra work in my opinion.
"People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe."- Andy Rooney