I have been poring over the inspection photos of my recently split hive and now that I can scrutinise them it looks to me like there is very little in the way of open cells. There is a ton of honey, nectar and pollen and any other cells appear to have brood in various stages.
Continuing to learn as much as I can about swarm control, I have been rereading Wally Shaw’s field guide on the subject. He makes a statement that the 8 frame box provides less than the space needed for the laying potential of most queens and that it is critical that every frame in the box ‘pull it’s weight’ in being available for the queen to lay. ‘To achieve this aim the frames should contain a minimum of honey and pollen stores’, he says. If I understand his recommendations correctly, I should be looking to move a couple of the outer frames which are full of honey (after piercing the cappings) and pollen into the middle of the central frames- say either side of the most central frame. He says they will be quickly emptied out by the bees who want to maintain the integrity of the brood nest and will make room for the queen to lay.
Could someone confirm if all that sounds right? After going to the trouble of doing a split I don’t want to neglect something and end up with a swarm anyway.
Just before I posted this question I did a search for ‘open the brood nest’ and in one of the threads Michael Bush suggested using a completely empty frame rather than even drawn comb. If I was to use foundation instead I could move a frame of stores across to the much less populous hive with the old queen (which I was planning to give to a friend getting into beekeeping) as that hive does not have much in the way of stores of pollen at all.
Currently Frames 1 and 8 look very much like this, except 8 is exclusively capped honey with no pollen.
Frames 2 and 7 look much like this.
Which pair of frames should I move into the centre of the brood nest flanking the below frame which is in 4th frame position? Or am I better off just using foundation/empty frames?
If, after reading all this (many thanks if you have!) you think I am overreacting and there is no issue with the laying space, please don’t hesitate to say so. I welcome all advice that can help me make a good decision.