More and more, free bees
Well, there I was, in my queen rearing/mating apiary, under the shade of a large mesquite tree, when a swarm, coming from other than my hives (all my hives have many cordovan workers and most of their drones are cordovan), and none of the swarm bees were cordovan. I watched as this "invading" swarm moved in to one of two mini mating nucs I am running as a test. They took over the one which I had just removed its current queen from and had replaced her with a ripe cultured queen cell. I do not yet know if they have a queen with them, or if my queen cell has emerged or been destroyed. I'll check that out tomorrow.
Soon after this swarm arrived, two others arrived almost simultaneously, one landing on a branch of the mesquite tree and the other on one of the bottom rails of my nuc benches. I forced both swarms together in one empty nuc box, after isolating them from their queens, which I caged and relocated outside the area. I gave these swarm bees a caged queen of my choosing.
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I thought that was good, but then, this morning a nearby neighbor called on me, in person to ask if I were interested in a colony of bees that had recently taken residence in one of a stack of empty, used, cardboard moving boxes. The box was about the same internal volume as a 10-frame deep, plus a 10-frame medium. It was quite heavy as I carried it back to my house. There were six combs about the size of the cross-section from the center of a basketball. The combs were all built of very soft and fragile white wax. From the attachment at the top of the box, there was about 2-3 inches of honey, then pollen, and finally brood that was just beginning to be sealed. No drone comb, anywhere. The combs were too soft and fragile to handle, let alone tie into frames. The bees were all of a uniform color, similar to Italian, but somewhat darker than most Italians I'm familiar with. They were very gentle and I expect they did not originate from any of my hives (all my hives have many cordovan bees, but these had none), though I haven't yet had a chance to find and ID their queen (hoping to do that tomorrow). This neighbor was two doors down and across the street from my place - a two minute walk. I think I'll give the neighbor a jar of honey as soon as I get enough to harvest.