I decided to run out to Sutton to check the hive there. It's been a couple of weeks. Since I needed to add a super on my backyard hive, I took over a super and 10 frames just in case (I live 25 minutes away, so I have to pre-plan what I need and take it with me. In this case, you'll see I didn't plan enough).
Took out the first frame, and they are doing great at collecting nectar/honey:
And there was a great brood pattern:
There is even some drone brood in some burr comb on the bottom. That means they have plenty of resources.
BUT... then I saw this!
Aack! There were 2 or 3 frames with multiple swarm cells on them, and they were capped!
I also saw a couple of frames with supercedure cells:
There were plenty of bees, so I didn't think the hive had swarmed. But try as I might, I couldn't find the queen. I looked 3 times - frame by frame, and nothing!
So here I am with an opportunity to do some splits, and no extra hardware with me! So I closed up the hive, and drove back home to pick up a couple of empty Nuc boxes, and then back to the hive. By this time it was close to 6:30PM, and I was worried that the bees would be a little angry. But they weren't.
I pulled out 2 of the frames with swarm cells on then, and put one in each Nuc hive. I checked for the queen again, and didn't find her. I also added a frame of honey/pollen, and shook a frame of extra bees in each Nuc.
I left the frames with supercedure cells in the main hive. So now I have 3 hives, and each appears to be queenless, but with queen cells in them.
I'll check in 2 or 3 weeks and see if there is a viable hive. According to bee math, from capped queen cell to eggs is about 20 days. So a 3-week check should be sufficient.