I heard from someone stopping by my house last week that he thought one of my hives had swarmed. I went in 3 days later (Friday) and found an unmarked queen in the hive which is certainly new since I had a marked queen. There were still a bunch of queen cells in the hive, but I left them all figuring they would sort this out on their own and the swarm was presumably already gone. Fast-forward two more days to today (Sunday). I'm cutting the grass 15 feet from the hive and I notice about a dozen bees on the new cut grass. Among them was a queen. I picked her up, initially assuming she hadn't made it back to the hive after an orientation or mating flight. When I set her on the landing board, several bees already there followed her but did not seem to sting or otherwise harm her. She fell into the grass next to the hive, crawled under and that's the last I saw of her. Meanwhile the dozen or so bees that were with her 15 feet from the hive were still crawling over the same spot I had picked her up from. 30 minutes pass and I check the hive, hoping to find her again, realizing I may have just lost a chance to start another hive and what do I find but a MASS of bees blanketing the entire front of the hive, most of which were fanning their nasonov glands. I also noticed some were feeding each other. All this on the outside of the hive. Realizing there was nothing I could do at this point, I left the scene and returned in an hour or two to find every single bee gone from the front of the hive and fairly normal activity in and out. Anyone have any thoughts on what was going on? If they were getting ready to swarm again, would there be a bunch of bees on the outside of the hive fanning? I've heard when the swarm, they exit en masse, not hang out in front of the hive. Does the queen leave in advance of the swarm and if so, is it possible I happened to find her and foiled their efforts? Maybe it was another queen that hatched and only took a few bees with her in a doomed effort to start yet another colony? I am reluctant to do another full blown inspection so soon after the one on Friday, but I am very confused as to what may be happening. Any thoughts?