Yesterday I had a hive swarm. I’m wondering if I actually had two swarms cast from this hive. In the first photo you can see the swarm(s) resting on an apple tree in my yard. I presumed it was a single swarm and moved it into a hive. The second photo shows the bees fanning at the entrance of the hive – it looked like I had the queen.
However, a smaller percentage (I guessing the smaller cluster to left) returned to the apple tree. I just went with that they were stragglers and would eventually make it back to the hive. Later, when I went to check on them, I found the smaller cluster still at the tree. It was late afternoon and I figured they would return to the hive in the evening.
This morning I went and checked on them. The bees I hived were nicely clustered when I peaked in (it was 43 degrees). The other cluster remained at the apple tree.
I was originally going to scoop the cluster at the apple tree up and drop them in the hive. However, it really looked like they were a second swarm. So, I grabbed another nuc box (last photo), gently swept some in, and all the others followed quite quickly (last two photos).
So, my questions are: 1) Is this a multiple swarm and I got a two for one with the capture? 2) If not, why the behavior and 3) Since I have them in two hives can I just introduce a queen or a queen cell into them if either appears queenless (and in how many days should I expect to be able to verify this)? Both hives have some foundation and some foundationless frames.