I have come to the conclusion that watching drone cells is the best way to judge when to make a split. If a hive is not making drones they do not have resources coming in or it is to early in the year for a split. If the hives are making drones I think a split has a better chance of working. I dont have lots of years of experience to back up this method, but it seems to work and be reasonable as long as you dont have dragon flies eating queens or other environmental factors.
I have tried the "July 4th" splitting per the OTS writings several times.
Not working in my location.
They don't build up enough if left as-is.
These July splits should be recombined back for wintering (around the better queens).
With this consideration, heck, you can still split in July - but focusing on the new queen making.
So for about 2 weeks is still OK time to split for a stand-alone unit.
We are still well watered here for a change but it is plenty early here. As the man said, lots of drones being produced. If you feed and supply pollen patties, you can split after the honey flow dries us which it does for me in July in my dryland location. But I only get 12 inches of precipitation including snow here.
6a high desert Sisters Oregon- I successfully over wintered a August 15th swarm in 1/2 of a resource hive (about 1.5 pounds of bees). Dropped 3 full deep frames of honey over their heads, fed ProSweet throughout fall, insulated, pushed them up against a boomer and fed fondant. Figured their chance was better with me then in the wild that late.
For my overwintering nucs, I'm going for sometime in July, probably late since it's such a late year. As another poster mentioned, after the summer solstice. Will be using resource hives again. I've heard MP talk about making these up. You don't want too much build up.
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