At apiary #1, my home apiary, I had one more hive left to harvest honey from. It was my strongest and was in 7 medium supers, the bottom two were nearly solid with brood and there was some brood in supers 3 and 4. This was one colony where I hadn't used a queen excluder. As I prepared to harvest from them I decided they were a good candidate for a split. Once I opened them I could see the remnants of many swarm queen cells. Apparently they had swarmed sometime earlier and from the brood I found in the hive it appeared that they probably have a new queen with a very strong start (10 frames half-solid with eggs and larvae less than 4 days from hatching, the remainder filled with honey and pollen), and another 14 frames with sealed brood and emerging bees. I removed 3 full supers of honey and divided up the brood and remaining honey between two sets of double-medium supers and filled any empty spaces with frames of foundation. During this evolution I was unable to locate the queen, whom I planned to locate after they had settled into their new respective colonies. My reasoning was that in a few days the queenright colony would be the happy one with eggs and not creating emergency queen cells.
Surprise: The next morning I found a medium sized swarm in a peach tree adjacent to the apiary. I coaxed them into a swarm capture box and was planning to unite them with the queenless portion of the earlier split, however, when I went to do this I discovered that the swarm had departed. Next I opened box 2 of the split (the one placed on its own new stand) and discovered where the swarm had come from. Apparently box 2 had absconded in the manner of a swarm. Curious, they had only left about a dozen bees behind and the majority of those that left were very young nurse bees just barely flight age, and, of course their new queen. They abandoned 12 frames of brood
which has perished. To circumvent the wax moths which had already moved in I gave these empty frames back to the parent colony. C'est la vie. Now, instead of 2 new colonies I have one that is queenless.