Wanting to increase his apiary size Grandpa Jack has taken a different path. He likes the idea of propogating local survivor bees and dislikes buying packages. Here is what he did.
He took one of his strongest winter survivor hives which would probably swarm this spring anyway. Back on April 22nd he removed the queen with several frames of bees and brood and placed them in a nuc. Essentially this nuc was a free package of bees. He still had a strong hive which was now queenless.
On May 3rd he inspected the queenless hive. In the ensuing 1 1/2 weeks the hive had raised and capped 4 queen cells. Grandpa Jack then removed enough bees and two queen cells and started another nuc. He will keep a watch on the hive and 2nd nuc to verify the queen cells successfully emerge and mate. This should be complete in 3 more weeks. His fall back plan is to requeen these hives with locally raised queens if necessary.
So now he has the original strong hive plus 2 nucs without investing any money for packages plus he has the satisfaction of propagating local survivor bee genetics. Good for his wallet and good for the bees.
ECWBA beekeeper Al is also following this program. He started the process on May 2nd when he did a queenless split of his only hive.
This process is commonly called a "walk away" split. All that it takes is confidence that your bees will do what is natural and raise a new queen plus a backup plan if they don't.