My hope is to do a split of my existing hive and providing a mated queen for the "other" half. Since I'm also getting a package of Russians I thought I would provide them with a couple of frames of drawn comb w/brood to help them get started. I was thinking of doing all the manipulations at the same time. ei taking a couple of frames from the existing hive and installing the package, then removing the existing queen and 8 frames into a new 8 frame hive(i'm giving 8 framers a try for comparison) at a different location. Then providing a mated queen for the remaining half of my original hive at the original location. My concern is the early date that I have to pick up the package(april 11th) from Warm Colors apiary in MA. Obviously every year has different weather, so I'm asking for generalized recommendations. Is this too early for my locale?
Thanks in advance.
One day is enough as long as you leave the moving of the one hive until evening. Net it or plug the entrance with hardware cloth so the bees can still breathe. since you want to do it all in one day then do your package release and split in the AM. You want the bees to be without a queen for several hours at least before requeening so I'd wait and put the queen into the hive just prior to moving the other hive.
Use the frames without stores for your package if possible as the original hive and split are going to need the existing stores.
I'd put the old queen into the hive I planned on moving as this would more closely mimic a natural swarm. Put some empty frames into the brood chambers on both splits. The split will go a long ways on preventing another swarm but putting empty frames into the brood chamber will do even more as bees building comb in the brood chamber don't usually swarm. Note Usually.