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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.

Questions:
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.
 

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Aylett, VA 10-frame double deep Langstroth
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Welcome to the world of afterswarms. Timing is right for the queens that emerged from the cells you saw earlier to take flight. Give the original hive, the split, and the caught swarm another week before inspecting. They are all on the same timeline. Watch the entrances for bees carrying pollen. I expect a virgin swarm to have eggs within two weeks and a primary swarm within just a few days if placed on drawn comb.
 
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