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Hi! I am in Southeastern PA and after all the snow and frigid temps, I finally had the opportunity to check my hives today. The one hive is entering it's 3rd year and is overflowing with bees! I was surprised at how many there were as I was hoping to move it to a new location while numbers were low (HA on me!). I went to see my other 2 (1st year) hives that are about 15 miles away. I knew one had failed in the fall but the other one was dead too. They had plenty of honey but few numbers heading into the winter. My idea is to take a super off the gang-buster hive and transport it to the other site and install it with a new caged queen. The 3rd year hive has 4 medium supers (one being a honey super). There were so many bees going into the winter and they were very upset with me trying to shorten the stack so I left it they way it was and they seemed to have flourished. I can easily replace a super with an empty honey super, they have plenty of honey in the hive. My main concern is they will swarm if I don't split. There are so many bees I think I could actually take 2 supers and stock both dead hives. Is this a crazy way to go about it? Is it better to move the old queen and re-queen the old hive? I can get queens (or packages) in April so I have time to come up with a plan, but not a lot of time. Any suggestions?
 

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Sounds like a plan. Make sure you know where the queen is, before you introduce a new queen to the split that already has one.

An easy way I've been doing splits, is to move most of the brood, food, and nurse bees to a new location and give them a ripe queen cell, leaving the old queen and field bees at the old location, with one frame of brood. They quickly rebuild the nest, meanwhile the new splits at different locations, soon have newly mated queens to continue their build-up.
 

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If your just coming out of winter and your bees haven't been raising a lot of brood then your bees are old. Late fall hatch. They'll start dying off pretty quick.

If the weather has been warm enough to raise brood your probably alright.

I've seen them come out of cluster real strong but lose a lot of bees before the spring buildup gets hatched.
 

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Your plan sounds good to me too. You did not mention how many frames of brood you found in the hive. If it is really booming with lots of brood frames you may be able split 3 ways and requeen 2 of them.
 
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