We now have 2 hives, and it seems to us maybe we are about to have a third, but we don't know if we are reading this right. We have two hive boxes set up - the first, which a wild hive was relocated to, the second, which we set up when a swarm split off from the first hive. A local beekeeper (who is almost impossible to get a hold of, and cagey even when you do) gave us an old hive box when we called him worried that we were going to lose the swarm, but the bees didn't like it, and they left. Then, 5 days later, a swarm moved into the new box. Did the swarm come back? The rains start here in June, that was the end of July - maybe getting into swarming time, maybe it could have been another swarm. My husband says what he's been told is that swarming usually happens here in September, because the big nectar flow is October and November. Anyhow, for about 5 days now, the second hive has sent a small cloud of bees out in the mid-afternoon, maybe a couple of hundred bees, that just sort of hang around near the front of the hive box, facing it like they are waiting for something. Also, during this time my husband also noticed that a bunch of bees had started hanging around the discarded hive box the earlier swarm had rejected. Today when we went to the lot, we saw that there were maybe 50 bees now outside the discarded box doing the same holding pattern kind of thing that the second hive had done. In this group we saw a couple of drones. The second hive didn't send out a swarm like this while we were there, they were foraging like normal. But the first hive also sent out a swarm a little later, a much larger one, i'm guessing 500 bees. Same thing, they all just weave back and forth near the entrance of the hive, watching it. These bees are an unexpected hobby, the result of deciding not to destroy the wild hive. We don't open up their hive boxes, we are just helping them along a little with their lives, and hope to relieve them of some honey once a year. Very loosely, we are following the Warre model. So, i can't say what is going on inside the hives. But what would this behaviour likely be? I suggested maybe there are new queens mating, but the discarded hive box is just a shell, my husband cleaned it up and prepared some foundation in it a couple of days ago, since there were bees showing an interest, but surely there isn't the infrastructure for a new queen yet, is there? And why would all three hives be doing this. The first two have lots of foraging activity, the third has none, which isn't surprising. We'd be very happy if they manage to set up shop there too, but it seems a lot to ask in such a short time. Although he didn't explain what he was doing, the local beekeeper took a section of the wild hive home with him when he moved it into the box for us, and charged very little for his work. We guess he took some queen cells and deducted part of the price of his work in return. Does all this add up to something? We don't understand it.