FRAMEshift ~ Thank you for sharing your method of doing an artificial swarm!
I don't know who invented this method. It wasn't me. What I described is similar to what Michael Bush outlines on his website.http://www.bushfarms.com/beesswarmcontrol.htmhttp://www.bushfarms.com/beessplits.htm#cutdown
With all of this, I am beginning to be concerned about this new hive swarming, and I have a few questions . . .
1) Should I go ahead and remove the queen cups? (I couldnít tell if there were eggs or larvae in them.)
No. It doesn't help to remove queen cells (or cups). If the bees are committed to swarming, they will swarm even if there is no queen cell left behind. All you accomplish in removing the queen cells is a queenless hive.
2) It also looked like the bees were beginning to backfill the small broodnest with sugar syrup and nectar so I stopped feeding them. Was this the correct thing to do? Or is the syrup what will eventually induce them to begin drawing out comb?
If they are backfilling the brood nest, they are preparing to swarm. At this time of year the bees have a reproductive swarm urge. And these bees were already on the edge of swarming. That's why I like to separate the queen from the foragers. Placing the queen in a much smaller population of bees slows down the swarm urge.
3) Since the hive is so packed with bees (covering all ten frames), should I go ahead and add a second hive body to give them room even though the first hive body has about 7 frames that are not drawn out?
Any help would be appreciated!
Assuming that the queen cells in the other hive are still intact, I would swap your queen for the queen cells. That will stop the swarm urge. Put the queen in the hive that has a small population and is not excited about swarming. You probably have only two or three days to do this because the virgin queens will emerge very soon.