Sunday, when I opened up one of my two TBHs -that survived my first winter with bees - this is what I saw: About four of five completely empty bars of comb, and two or three bars each filled only about 1/4 way with capped honey, left over from the fall. No bees hanging around these combs on the periphery on either end. (I have a center entrance.) I started scratching my head about why there were so few bees. Then I thought that this colony must have swarmed when I was away during the week. (I tried to prepare for this: I had set up 3 very lived-in nuc boxes as swarm traps with lemon grass and a little Bee Boost at various distances away from my now 6 colonies. Maybe they were too close - about 75-100 feet away.)
In this hive, I saw capped drone brood and nectar and several queen cells - one was capped, the other one had larvae and a couple of others - I don't know if they were old hatched out or being worked on. I don't have enough experience to tell. I didn't linger very long because the weather all day was very bad and the bees were kind of agitated and testy. I didn't see eggs or worker brood and I couldn't find the queen.
I have three questions, the most important of which is: 1) Does this sound like a post swarm colony to you?
2) I removed the excess bars of empty comb, took one of those 1/3 filled bars of comb with honey and closed up the follower boards. Is this a good move or do you think I ought to leave the empty combs inside?
3) Ought I remove some of the bars with the old fall honey too - or leave it to the "left behind" colony - if that indeed is what it is?