i meant, rather than weaken my existing, single hive - assuming it even survives the winter - by splitting it next spring, i would hold off on that particular experience until i have more hives already.
I think you are asking whether you should buy a queen (nuc) or let them make their own (split) then I'd say you should try both...but if you want honey, you will likely get a jump-start by buying a queen so there is no delay in buildup while the new queen is made, mated, starts laying, etc
If you have just one hive honey production is not a major concern for you. You will learn more and get a better queen if you raise your own. I suggest that around the first of May, if your existing hive is doing well, take a frame of eggs, a frame of emerging brood and a frame of pollen / honey and put them in a five frame nuc box with a couple frames of empty comb or foundation. By the first of June you should have a laying queen. As the colony grows give them more room. By Mid August you should have a strong two deep colony that may even produce a little surplus if you get a good goldenrod flow.
And if you do as Dwight says (about the time that he says to do it) your original hive should still build up quick enough and strong enough to provide you with a good honey surplus. This is assuming of course that the weather, pests, diseases and the price of rice in China all co-operate.
>My hive now has 2 deeps, what would a Nuc box really be needed or could I put the 4 or 5 frames into a new seperate deep with 5 or 6 frames of foundation?
If you want to give them a queen, you probably don't need one. If you want them to raise a queen, they won't be expanding until she's laying (24 days or so after the split) and for that time it would be less stressful to have a smaller box to take care of.
Another approach if you want your cake and want to eat it too is to build up your hive as strong as you can get it. Try to find out from local experienced beeks when you can expect your major honey flow. Make your split by taking all the uncapped brood except one frame with some eggs and very young brood along with the queen, out of the hive and putting them in a nuke or single hive body along with enough bees to cover the frames. Move this a considerable distance away from the original hive. Fifty feet would be great but I have done this with as little as ten feet seperation. Leave one frame with some eggs and very young bees and most of the capped and emerging brood in a single hive body at the old location. The field bees will all return to the old location and the young bees emerging from the sealed brood will start a queen cell. For the next month to six weeks there will be too many bees with no brood to feed and they will just store lots of surplus honey. The queen at the new location will be building up your split.
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