This is my first year keeping bee's (located in central New Hampshire) and we started off with two hives of Italians. One hive doing great and one hive seeming to be a little slower.
My questions and the advice I'm seeking is about the one doing "great."
I've been going into the two hives each Saturday or Sunday to inspect and see what each hive is doing. This past Wednesday 06/26 I went into the hives since I had a day off from work and I added two top bars (to the hive doing great) since they were filling each bar out nicely. I looked at each bar (in the strong hive; about 12 in all) and there were no swarm cells. Fast forward to today 06/30 and I have about 10+ capped swarm cells in my strong hive.
I've inspected the hive the best I can and haven't located the queen, but my guess is she's left since I was only able to spot larve on one frame that didn't have the appearance of being drone comb. I could be wrong here. Also, I'm not sure how much this matters, but the hive doesn't look like it's lost any bees. Compared to our weaker colony, it has a very high population. Could the queen of left by herself? Or could she have left with only a few thousand other bees?
My questions are how to go about dealing with the 10+ capped cells? Would it be smart to split the hive? I have two nuc boxes and it doesn't look like I've lost any bees but the thing I'd hate is to watch half a dozen after swarms take place and be left back at the starting gate (which wouldn't be terrible since they've already drawn lots of comb).
Would putting 2-3 frames in a nuc box with 2-4 capped queen cells be worth trying inorder to prevent the hive from completely swarming?
Thanks in advance for any and all advice!