What would be the fastest way or best method to get up to 50 hives from 10 1.5 story ten frame hives?
here is what Ian Davidson wrote in the Brittish Beekeepr forum :
Buzz: making splits early can seriously increase your honey yield as well as reduce swarming.
Earley splits can be made at the beginning of April with imported queens. I find that an average size hive can be split into three nucs one with the existing queen. A good advantage at this time of the season is that queens are readily accepted.
You do miss out on the Spring flow but recent seasons this has not been a huge loss. You have managable size hives building up through the main swarming period and good size hives to take advantage of the main flow.
If you want to feed forget about the candy it will not stimulate the colony.
I also find that feeding pollen is a waste of time in many areas. In this country and even in rural areas we have an abundance of earley flowering plants. In fact I see pollen coming in all year long.
If you wish to start feeding say in earley/mid Feb do so with a thick Syrup, with the rule little and often. Towards the end of the month a thin syrup will simulate nectar and stimulate the hive. Never over feed at this time of year it should be on an as needed basis clogging the hive may do more harm than good. A hive full of syrup can cause problems with a prolonged cold snap.
Once you have made your splits feed little and often to build and stimulate. Sticking a gallon of syrup on may seem like a good idea but does little more than take up space the queen could lay in. The idea is to try and simulate a slow steady nectar flow.
Learn to do your own queen rearing and carry some extra queens/nucs through the Winter. These extra hives will also give you the ability to do so. If you want earley queens try Norton and PM him he has some excellent bees.
Please remember with all the above weather will play a part and you will have to judge the conditions and your area.