A little background:
I am a first year beekeeper in Boston, MA. I started a package 5/3 in a foundation less 8 frame deep. I added two more deeps in June, and I think I messed around with the frames too much in trying to get them to move up into the new boxes.
On 7/3, as I was packing to go away for two weeks, a swarm came out and clustered in a tree in the yard, then went back into the hive after an hour or so, possibly because it was raining a bit. I had not looked into the hive in two weeks at that point. Oops.
I went through the hive twice and could not find a queen. Maybe she had already left, or maybe I just couldn't find her. Maybe I accidentally squished her. I did find 10 or 12 queen cells, so I pulled a couple of frames with brood and 4-5 cells (total, not each) and put them in a nuc with a frame of honey and an extra shake of bees. I gave them a quart and a half of 2:1 syrup and left for two weeks.
Yesterday (after two worried weeks of vacation), I came back and walked out back to check on things, and I found a swarm clustered about 8 feet up in a tree. I caught them and put them in a foundation less 8 frame medium (all I had). Today, another swarm left the hive and clustered about 60 feet off the ground, then headed south after a couple hours. Too high for me, so they're gone.
It seems that they must have made a second batch of queen cells pretty much right when I left. Was there a problem with the first batch? Did I take out too many for the nuc?
Are the bees so confident (or so unhappy with the landlord) that they decided to go through the whole process twice in a row?
How soon can I safely check on the newly hived swarm? How about the two week old nuc?
I'm a little nervous about opening the original hive. If there's a virgin queen in there, I don't want to hurt her or scare her off. Should I look? If so, what should I look for?
Steep learning curve, I would appreciate any thoughts, comments, etc.