I Hived this package on 4/20 on all new equipment with rite-cell foundation. I was very pleased with the lack of dead bees (only 4 or 5 total) and the apparent youth of the majority of the bees.
My initial plan was to split the package into 2 nucs and either dequeen 1/recombine or run a 2 queen hive after 6 weeks, as the local "guru" says that in 6 weeks each 2lb nuc should fully draw the frames and lay brood in ~3 deep frames, giving a total of 6 where hiving the entire package in a deep with a single queen would only have ~4 frames of brood. This seems pretty conservative to me but "when in Rome...."
One queen was DOA so I just hived them all in one deep with 6 frames and a foam follower to keep them tight. I fed them 1:1 directly on the top of the frames in two 40 oz. peanut butter jars with ~20-30 holes drilled in the lid and a full sub patty cut in half, I made a 2lb sugar block and set that on the frames as well. I housed this in a medium box and placed the inner cover over it all with the idea that the heat from the cluster would keep the smaller syrup feeders warm enough to use for longer in the day. It seems to have worked because I had to remove the follower after 1 week to keep them drawing comb, and now, after 6 weeks, I have 2 full deeps with 17 fully drawn frames and 3 with at least some comb drawn. 13 of these are brood frames with what I can only describe as a perfect brood/pollen/honey ratio, 2 more are almost all honey and the other 2 seem to be mostly pollen on both sides with a little honey. In addition, there are bees covering all of these frames and working in the medium that I just put on yesterday.
Our major flow doesn't usually start until the first of July, so I was planning on feeding until then, but I pulled everything out a week and a half ago so that I wouldn't have syrup capped in my supers. It seems we may be getting better early, small flows than is normal.
The daily orientation flights are massive for a single hive!
OK, now I'm just bragging
My question is, does it make any sense at all to split this booming hive onto bare foundation just to have it drawn and available for next year? I would have to let them make a queen as I don't know of any that I could buy right now. Or should I just smile that $16/lb honey smile and leave them alone and keep adding boxes?
I've never done this "pump and dump" thing with killing bees in the fall and replacing them in the spring so I'm unsure as to the advantages or disadvantages of a split at this particular time in the season.