I started beekeeping last April with four small cell NUCs in 8-frame hives and they all made it through this winter. In February and March, I openned the hives looking for queen cells and two weeks ago I started seeing some. Then came the decision whether or not to split the hives as I have four more NUCs on order which should be ready for pickup in another couple of weeks. My goal is to have around 10-12 hives total, but I was in no rush to get there.
Then, three days ago, one of my hives swarmed to a peach tree and I was able to capture the 3 lb group, moved them about a mile away into another yard I have, quarenteened them for 24 hours and am feeding them 1:1 sugar water as they pull out their "new foundation" frames. The next day, a smaller 2 lb swarm from the same hive landed on the same peach tree and I did the same as I did with the first one. Then yesterday, a third 3 lb swarm from my other hive in that yard landed on a different peach tree, of which I then captured and moved to the other yard using the same process. Now I have 2 smaller but healthy hives in one yard and 5 hives in another yard and 4 still on order, bringing my potential total to 11 as of right now.
My question is this. It seems more natural to catch them as a swarm than to manually split a hive, give them a queen cell and see if they make it. I understand why you do splits, and I'm all for it, and I'm definitely not trying to start an argument about their pros and cons. But, since I'm in no hurry to increase my hive count anymore, it just seems letting my hives swarm (and subsequently capturing it) would be the better of the two options for the bees. Is that a valid assumption or is there some other reason performing splits is a much better approach for the bees?