Yesterday evening it walked out to the bee yard and saw a lot of activity under my biggest hive. When I got close, I saw two balls of bees about the size of an egg and a lot of bees fighting around the hive. Also there were a fair number of dead bees on the ground near the two balls. I found two queens in the balls, one looked like a virgin/new queen the other was quite a bit bigger and older and was obviously not a virgin. I caged both queens and put them in a screen topped mason jar with a few of the clinging bees. The fighting stopped almost immediately and most of the bees went back into the hive. This morning, both queens were still alive and it appeared that the clinging bees were feeding them through the cage. I went out to the hive and took a quick peek. All seemed normal, still full of bees. They have one super on that is about 40-50% full. All my other hives seem normal as well. I talked to Velbert Williams last night and he seem inclined to think it was an attempt by an external swarm to invade the hive.
Has anyone had any similar experience?
I am a bit concerned since there were two queens being balled. This hive was started in the third week of April from a package on fully drawn comb. They have exploded and currently occupy 2 deeps and one shallow super. I saw no signs of swarm or supercedure cells at my last inspection about 14 days ago. They had about 4 - 5 frames of brood in various stages in each deep and the rest of the frames in the deeps were mostly sealed honey. All the frames in the deeps are completely covered with bees. The super has about 4 - 5 frames of sealed honey with the rest of the frames being partially drawn foundation. The frames in the super are generally not quite as densely covered in bees as the frames in the deeps. Each night there is a softball sized cluster of bees crowded around the upper entrance (about a 4" x 3/8" slot in an Imre shim), which is about the same as my other hives. They are currently bringing in some pollen, but the super has been at a static stage for the last two - three weeks, so I don't think there is much flow left, which is quite typical for my area this time of year. It seems unlikely that they would decide to swarm this late, but I guess not impossible.
I have decided to try to keep the queens alive until this weekend when I will check the hive for signs of a queen.
We do have AHB in the area and this time of year is the beginning of their summer swarm/absconding season. Could be an attempt at takeover by AHB, but the two queens still seems confusing to me.