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We have a hive that over-wintered very well and now has brood in 5 medium 8frame boxes (we run all 8 frame mediums) plus a honey super. We are trying the OSBN method (with frames of partial foundation) this year on our hives but I still suspect this big hive will swarm. We aren't looking to increase our hives at all but would rather get 2 good hives out of this one rather than lose a lot to a swarm. So splitting seems the logical step and I'm leaning towards the fly-back split method. My main question on that is what to do frame-wise in the hive where the original queen remains. We have plenty of drawn comb but Lauri promotes using mostly foundation to encourage the colony to draw comb. Y'all concur? And if so, should we just have foundation (I'm thinking this hive will be 3 medium 8 frame boxes after splitting)? Or should we checkerboard drawn comb and foundation?
Other suggestions on split techniques? Or ways to not split and not have them swarm?
 

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All beekeeping is local, but I wonder if you are not over-thinking and proposing to over-act.

I over-winter in 8-frame deeps in North Dakota, but never have witnessed brood in all three (3) deeps when spring beekeeping starts. Usually the bottom deep is empty of stores and bees, and we often do walk-a-way splits: the queen’s box is placed on a clean bottom board and the empty bottom box is placed immediately above the queen’s box forming that year’s honey-producing colony; the other populated box is placed on another bottom board, making sure eggs or day-old larvae exist so they can produce their own queen (hence the name, “walk-a-way split”). When this new split exists, you can also add another box to prevent it from becoming honey-bound (and new comb also results).

Due to our reduced growing season, another alternative is to first secure a mated queen which will be timely introduced into the new split (watch for rejection of queen or new queen cells). This means elimination of the estimated 21-25 days of waiting until the mated queen shows her stuff (and the possibility of no mated queen surviving).

Rarely are either hives likely to swarm - both colonies attempt to build up, and putting in empty frames (or even another box) will always encourage drawing new comb. This process encourages honey production for the old hive, and a new prolific queen in the second hive which will result in that newer hive being used for next year’s honey production.

If you do not want too many hives, simply dispatch the oldest queen after honey harvest to maintain that optimal number of hives (consolidating bees if appropriate). Or you can attempt to over-winter both hives because you are likely to have some winter losses anyway.

This is year seven as a beekeeper, recently running 8-12 hives each year, but no swarms have occurred to my knowledge, and generally I can get honey off the walk-a-way split too. My advice is to let the bees do their thing - beekeepers just make sure there are more frames and boxes available as needed.

Another benefit from a walk-a-way split is that the bee effort may turn into two (2) or three (3) new 4-frame or 5-frame nucs if queen cells are found on different frames (no need to cut out queen cells; just timely manipulate the frame division to create nuc-sized hives, each with virgin queens).
 

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After I posted, I remembered one (1) exception to extra-ordinary amount of brood. Last year I prepared to split a hive (3 deeps/8-frame) by inserting a queen excluder between box two (2) and box three (3). The idea was that the queen would be on either side of the queen excluder, and four (4) days later a purchased mated queen would be introduced into the box(es) where there were no eggs.

To my surprise, there were eggs in all three (3) boxes which means there were two (2) mated queens in the hive. I found both queens, and the third box received the purchased mated queen. Those three (3) hives were my best honey-producers last year.
 

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Follow Lauri's advice. See how it works for you in your location. Don't mix it up with other stuff until you know why she does what she does and how you need to modify it for your location. She is very good at what she does and gives solid, detailed advice. Good luck!
 
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