If you're trying to take a productive hive and make several productive hives for next year, you want to replicate those hive genes. Introducing outside queens isn't going to guarantee productive hives, although grafting cells from that hive isn't a guarantee of productive hives either, since the next generation of queens will lay workers with mixed genes from other drones.
"Too late" is completely up to your discretion. Will there be another flow to draw comb or will you be feeding all Fall?
it's not to late. last year i started beekeeping again after about a 15 year gap in my beekeeping adventures. i bought 3 nucs end of april begining of may. i let them build through 2nd week of july(end of early flow) it rained so much they made almost no honey. i then split them into about 15 nucs with queen cells i raised. i did a lot of feeding and i brought 12 successfully through the winter. i was intent on big increase last year and did everything necessary to get them through including puttin them down my unheated cellar for a week when the polar vortex hit. i'm curently splittin and raising new queens for the splits. i'm up to 24 now and every box is full of honey. as far as which route you want to take i think in your location you would want to go with the mated laying queen option it will give them more time to get ready for winter with the least effort.
j.kuder has a good answer but there is no guarantee that things will go as well for everyone. I split 4 nucs from 5 of 7 spring nucs and packages yesterday. I used mated queens from a long time ny breeder, time will tell. the other 2 got new queens. the only other hives in the immediate area come off trucks, they produce drones I do not want. no other local bees around until the trucks arrived 10 days ago. raiseing a queen is not appealing to me... another winter like last year would be bad, I am not in charge of everything. locally as I have talked to good experienced folks I am hearing that things were a lot worse than the public impression.
he's only talkin about splitin one hive. it all depends on on what he is willing to do i did it just to see if i could. it was a lot of work many times i questioned myself and weather i was going to fail but nothing ventured nothing gained. i'm questioning myself now i have 24 colonies and i am goin to make another 12 nucs in the next couple of weeks and i'm short on equip. but ya know i am enjoying every minute of what i'm doing.
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