Well, we waited too long to make the splits and both hives swarmed. In trying to allow the bees to build up as large a colony as possible in advance of the main honey flow, we carefully monitored how much available space there was in each hive and worked to make sure the bees had plenty of space. Our mistake was that, without sufficient drawn comb, to fill the extra space, the bees would still feel crowded and want to swarm. We should have been less reliant on management techniques and should have been quicker to split. While Steve was out of town for the week, the bees apparently swarmed.
The net effect is positive though. In overall numbers, perhaps because the weather was cool when they swarmed, neither queen took a large number of bees with her. There are now 2-3 nice queen cells in each hive that with some luck will hatch out, mate and successfully return. This will leave the colonies with new fresh queens. We can also be content with the knowledge that some of our bees are now in the wild, adding to the number of honeybee colonies in the area. Because the swarms that left were small, we will need to be watchful for the possibility of after once the new queens emerge and be ready to split the colonies.
In other news, a swarm of bees has taken up residence in the soffit of the sanctuary near the nave on the right side as you face the altar. You can see them as you walk in from the parking lot if you look up at the gutter. Where they are at, they do not seem to pose significant potential for conflict with people. The plan is to remove this new colony next weekend. It is possible that this swarm may be some of our bees.