I stopped at a commercial beekeepers last week. His truck here is full of empty single hives. He will bring them to Texas soon. He already has moved several truckloads of live bees to Texas already. This empty equipment will be used for splits. He will start a new colony with a frame of bees and gives them a queen cell. He checks for a laying queen after three weeks of putting in the queen cell. If there is a laying queen that's great. No queen, he puts in a new queen cell. The queen that is laying early may have brood taken from it and moved to the later starting colonies to bolster their population. All the hives will be brought back to MN or SD in early May. Hopefully before the dandelions bloom, so the bees can get the free nectar and he won't have to feed the bees as much.
Right now they have fed the bees twice since moving them to Texas. Pollen patties will go on in January. The whole crew shows up in late January. It is full time work from the first of February until the bees are shipped back here.
Feeding, making queens, and splits. Making queens and four frame nucs to sell to his many customers. Besides making up 7000 colonies for his own honey production.
Down in east Texas there are beekeepers everywhere. There is a huge market for queen cells and frames of brood. A frame of brood with adhering bees sells for $20.00 a frame.