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Yesterday one of my hives issued a swarm while I was in the bee yard. The flew around and started to condense on a fence post. After 15 minutes or so they went back and hung out on the entrance of the home hive, and shuffled back in.

I blind split the hive leaving a box of empty comb and a frame of brood in the home spot - the rest will go into nucs. The hive really wasn't ALL that swarmy looking - a few capped but not mature cells.

I've seen this before, but I wonder what it is all about?
 

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A swarm can leave anytime after the first cell is capped or may wait until the first virgin is cutting the tip of the queen cell off to emerge. If for some reason the original queen does not exit the hive with the swarm it will return. It will swarm later when the original queen is ready to fly, or when a virgin is emerged and ready to fly.

I have found the original marked queen balled, but not injured, on the hive bottom when a swarm issued and returned. Often I think that the queen is not reduced in size and is not ready to make long flights. I try to keep all of my queens clipped so that I can catch a returned swarm, all of the trees around my bee yards have gotten too tall to retrieve clustered swarms. My main yard is at my home so I am able to see if any swarm activity is occurring, and the hives at my out yard have landing boards that go to the ground, this way the queens can crawl back into the hive.
 
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