My daughter came in this afternoon around 2:00 and said "Mom, your girls are out on the tree!" I ran outside and sure enough, they were swarmed on a tree branch. The swarm was huge.....bigger than a basketball. I can't say I was surprised, really. I thought the hive was getting a bit crowded and I cut out a queen cell a few weeks ago which I later found out was a mistake.
I called around to some other members of the local beekeeping club to see if I could get some help catching them. Luckily, one of the members was available and he came over within about 15 minutes. We cut the branch but then promplfy dropped it and it was bee-mania for a while there. Bees everwhere! Unfortunately, my friend was stung a couple times but I came away sting free.
This is where it gets a little weird. Most of the bees went back to the hive and were bearding on the front. Some of the bees were forming a new cluster on the tree. We let them settle down then I cut down the new cluster and put into a screened box then transfered to a new hive. I never saw a queen so I don't know what happened to her. I went out about an hour later and there were no bees in the new hive at all. I peeked into the original hive and the population was definately low so I assume they swarmed again and are now gone.
I added a super to each hive although its obviously too late for the one. I also noticed about a dozen bits of pollen on the ground out in front of the other hive....the size and shape you see in the pollen cups on foraging bees when they return to the hive. I wonder what that's all about.
Ugh....this really sucks. I can't wait until September 17th when my club is having a hive inspection day at my house. I really need some knowledgeable eyes on my hives.