I've been back to the apiary once since Easter to see my bees and they weren't too bad - their behavior seems to be a bit erratic and unpredictable this spring. The last time I was there (a couple of weeks ago) it was poor weather but I managed to get though the bees; enough to see that they were doing really well and were potentially in need of splitting.
On my visit last weekend (30/4/17) I found that I successfully trapped the queen in Hive 1 in the deep and the supers are now clear of brood - although there are some drones kicking about above the QE. I might have to go back and shake these supers out in order to clear all the drones. So this hive is set up well - there were no sign of queen cells!
Hive 2 was bursting! I popped a second deep on a couple of weeks ago and this was pretty full of bees. I was half expecting this so I was prepared to make up another hive (thanks to Dave for preparing all the wooden-ware etc.). I went through the upper of the two deeps to try to spot the queen - no such luck; but there was brood, eggs and lots of bees.
I decided to relocate this entire deep into a new hive (Hive 4), frame by frame. My intention was to have them raise a new queen from eggs. I also gave this hive a partially full super. If the queen wasn't with the bees I moved and there are eggs, by next weekend (6/5/17) there should be some queen cells present and my work was successful, so far. If there are no queen cells in the new hive then the queen was in the group of bees I moved and there should be some queen cells in Hive 1. Not quite what I was planning but I think that should still be OK. Again, I saw no queen cells in Hive 1. So that's a plus too.
I didn't look though Hive 3 (Dave's original hive). I think I was pushing my luck by this time and so I decided to beat a retreat.