I choked in the field today, and I'm now mulling over my options to best utilize what I've got to work with. Please weigh in.... I went into one hive today that looked like it was fixin' to swarm at any time. It was 4 mediums, very full of bees, with maybe 12 or so total swarm cells at the bottoms of multiple frames. Also, a couple cells seemed like they were hatched (open "trap door"), but most were still sealed. * My standard procedure would be to look for the old queen, and move her out to a nuc w/ a few frames of brood (I call this an artificial swarm). Try as I might though, I could not find the old girl; there were just too many bees, and frankly I'm surprised I didn't wear out my welcome. So, what to do? Just let it go, and put a bait hive somewhere in the vicinity? Or the other extreme- bust the whole thing up into as many nucs as I can, putting a frame with one or more cells in each? Just split it in two, and perhaps just the queen right side would swarm, taking just half the bees from that side (only 1/4 rather than 1/2 of the original total)? Then I could recombine at some point with no great loss? Just look again really hard for the old queen? I didn't really have the gear with me at the time to do #2, but I could go back tomorrow to do any of the above (if it's not too late). I did spot what I believe was a virgin queen on one frame with an "open door" queen cell. I snatched her and did move her to a nuc w/ a couple frames to hedge my bets. I really wish I could salvage this hive intact, as I think it might be a good honey producer this year. On the other hand, I don't want it to swarm one or more times and then limp along the rest of the season. -Dan * I thought I remembered that swarms usually took off prior to the swarm cells hatching. I'm sure that's not always the case, and it certainly didn't look like a swarm had already left this hive.