Last weekend one of my colonies swarmed (March 3rd! This colony was a swarm that moved into a bait hive I set out last year in early March, early swarmers I guess?). They divided into two clusters, a small one in my avocado tree and the larger group in the neighbors lemon tree. I was able to capture them all in two separate boxes. My guess was that the small one was queenless, so I opened the mother hive, pulled a frame with swarm cells and gave it to the small swarm. I also made another mating nuc with another frame with a nice capped swarm cell. I gave both mating nucs honey and pollen, and for the nuc that was not a swarm gave then a few shaken frames of nurse bees.
Of note, right after I got the lid on it started drizzling. The box with the big swarm was on top of a ladder at the fence between my yard and my neighbor's yard, about 8 yards from the mother colony. My neighbor and I were both working outside all afternoon, and neither if us saw a big cloud of bees take off from the box. My hope is that the original queen and bees returned to the mother hive because the weather was cold and damp. I checked the colony the next day to see if I could find her but was not successful. Her name is "Little Black Queen" and she's hard to find even when the colony isn't in full swing. There were still at least two capped swarm cells in the mother colony at that time. We added some foundationless frames into the two deeps and closed it up.
I also checked the nuc box with the smaller swarm but she wasn't in there either. The next day I could hear tooting and quacking, so perhaps the small swarm actually did have a queen after all?
My plan is to inspect the mother colony in another couple of days when it stops raining. If there is young larvae I'll know the original queen is still in there.
My questions are:
Have any of you experienced a swarm RETURNING to the hive it came from instead of taking off? I have spoken with a friend who has seen it happen but I'm wondering how common that is.
Have any of you experienced TWO swarms coming out at the same time? (Some members of my club suggested one was a primary and the other a secondary) I wouldn't have thought they would leave together like that.
If you can see a major flaw in how I handled it, I would appreciate feedback from the more experienced of what you might have done differently.