ray, i feel sure they're bees that absconded because of hive beetles and i always wonder if the lack of aggression is what lets the beetles take over. i'll move them to a nuc and baby them but that queen will be the first one out of the gene pool come spring. it's fun to do a cut out in a tee shirt with no veil but i'll take stings over beetles any day.
Rob, The colony I just gained had been on that limb since June. Sounded more like a swarm than an abscond. I don't know for sure though. I'd see how it went. I just combined the cut out with a hive that I feel the queen was not up to snuff, not building up for winter. I still have the questionable queen, I hate to just kill her, she looks good, nice and large. I'm gonna put her in a small nuc and see how she does. Just to see if it could be russian traits. Still have a good golden rod flow. I have 5 colonies honey bound. I'm going to add drawn comb supers to each today.