Two of the hives contained queen cups (cone-shaped nests) with larvae which suggested they could swarm any day soon.
So P decided to take pre-emptive action by creating a "false swarm". This involves splitting a hive into two colonies. A brand new hive is installed in the same place as the old hive that contained the queen cups. The frames with queen cups, and some frames with larvae (drones) and food are put into the new hive. The old hive with its queen and other bees is moved to a position 5 metres behind the other hives.
The flying bees from the old hive move into the new hive because it is now in the same position as their old hive. One of the queen cups will produce a queen who will destroy all the other queen cups thereby becoming the queen in that hive. She then leaves the hive, mates and returns to the hive to lay her eggs (lots of).
In the old hive which is now in a different position, new bees are hatching to continue that colony.
We now have 7 hives in the same clearing in the forest above the cabin.
When P. moved the trays into the new hive, he removed some of the "wild honey". These are combs that the bees have built themselves in a gap below the Langstroth frames. It's a sticky process but at last we were able to get a taste of some of it. It is almost completely translucent but the taste is incredibly strong.
We also removed some of the drone larvae: big, fat, white grubs - which we gave to the neighbour's hens. These larvae attract varroa destructor which is why they are removed. And the hive doesn't need a surplus of drones.