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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My first year hive survived the winter and is going gangbusters. I've already spun out 2 frames and likely will have a full early harvest in a week. I started with a 5 frame nuc into an 8 frame deep. It's now 1 deep and 2 medium brood boxes with a deep honey super. All boxes pretty full. Mediums have most of the brood, the bottom deep has a lot of pollen and nectar in it. I'm going to go to a medium honey super after the deep but I'd like to split. I can get a carniolan mated queen now, local bee supply has them out of California. I'd prefer a local but don't think I have time to wait another couple of weeks. Guess I could throw another medium brood box on. Thoughts?
 

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If it was me I would wait for local queen for better overwintering properties, but our climate is different, you may be OK with imported one. Make sure they don't decide to swarm on you before you split, it is the right time for it... Have you seen any swarm/queen cells anywhere in the brood chambers? I opened one of my "weaker" hives with a "grandma" queen (I believe 2016/7) and found over 10 capped queen cells (both swarm and supercedure), did not find my old queen, but saw some young larvae still... I'm not looking for any more splits for now, so if they decide to swarm I will let them this time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Saw several queen cups, no larvae or eggs in them. Definitely no sealed queen cells and they definitely haven't swarmed yet. My neighbor 3 houses down had 2 swarms in one day. Both times they returned to the hive though. Maybe the queen couldn't fly, not sure.
 

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Saw several queen cups, no larvae or eggs in them. Definitely no sealed queen cells and they definitely haven't swarmed yet. My neighbor 3 houses down had 2 swarms in one day. Both times they returned to the hive though. Maybe the queen couldn't fly, not sure.
OK, in that case you are probably safe and can be in charge of their direction. Do you have other hives or just that one? If just one, then split by all means, but there is no need to hurry anytime until end of June (in our locale at least) is still plenty of time for them to build up. If you like your bees, then make them raise their own queen, don't purchase it- lookup up "walkaway split", you only really need 3 frames at this time for decent split, judging from what you have your hive can afford it...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
OK, in that case you are probably safe and can be in charge of their direction. Do you have other hives or just that one? If just one, then split by all means, but there is no need to hurry anytime until end of June (in our locale at least) is still plenty of time for them to build up. If you like your bees, then make them raise their own queen, don't purchase it- lookup up "walkaway split", you only really need 3 frames at this time for decent split, judging from what you have your hive can afford it...
It's my first hive so I'm super paranoid about screwing them up. I would rather continue this queen's line, these bees are great! I don't want to do a blind walkaway as I'd like to keep the queen with the main honey hive and not brood-break it. In this case I need to find the queen so I know where she is then move a box of brood to it's own new nuc.
 

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It seems like you have run into the classic beekeeper's dilemma. Wanting honey or wanting more bees! If you split out the queen into a medium or something, your old, big hive still has a massive workforce to make honey with even when the queen isn't there. Do you know what months your primary nectar flow are in your area? If you split, say today, you would still have emerging bees until June 8th, and the queen would probably start laying a week later. This method is of course, free. If you want to reach into your pocket and spend $35US on a local queen, go for it, that is the highest chance of success. I would be wary of California queens in a Canadian environment. Don't worry about messing it up, producing more bees produces dividends down the line!
 

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Saw several queen cups, no larvae or eggs in them. Definitely no sealed queen cells and they definitely haven't swarmed yet. My neighbor 3 houses down had 2 swarms in one day. Both times they returned to the hive though. Maybe the queen couldn't fly, not sure.
Another way to determine how close to swarming they are is look closely at the edges of the cups; if you see white wax on the edges, they are readying that cup for an egg.
 
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