Hives come through the winter in varying strengths. Some are busting at the seams with bees causing anxiety that the hive is going to swarm. Then there are the weak hives. These weaker hives can go in a number of directions depending on the population of the hive. They may recover or remain weak all year or get robbed out or slowly dwindle away. If their population is large enough to have “critical mass” they recover. Your duty as a beekeeper is to provide them with that “critical mass”.
Most beekeepers have more than one hive. So you can relieve your anxiety that the strong hives are going to swarm by transferring one or two frames of bees and capped brood to the weak hives. First locate the queen in your strong hive, so you don’t transfer her by mistake. Set aside the frame with the queen and then select a few other frames for transfer. The bees emerging from the capped brood will give the weak hive a boost by greatly increasing the nurse bee population. This then allows the queen to increase her rate of laying.
Now it the time to perform this equalization. The main honey flow is still about a month away. The strong hive will easily recover. The population boost to the weak hive will give it a fighting chance to be ready for the honey flow and also lessen the chances of it being robbed. Remember to keep the entrance reducer on the weak hive in place until the hive recovers.