Hive Splitting Question
It's been a few years since I last visited, but I have a question now. I've been beekeeping for several years (about 7) and have never "split" a hive. If I incur losses, I typically just suck it up and buy a new package in the spring or leave the hive vacant all summer in hopes that a stray swarm will take up residence. At +-$70 per replacement package, I'm getting a little cheap and want to try a split next year instead.
Can anyone give me the general guidelines for performing a split from a very healthy hive into a dead/vacant hive? Will I need to also provide a new (purchased) queen, or if I transfer a frame with an "active" queen cell will the transferred bees produce a viable queen?
Do I also backfill the frames I took out of the strong hive with new frames? I'm assuming I do, but place them on the outsides of the box.
Thanks for any advice you can give me.
Tim in Maine