Just boxed up a pair of swarms today!
Got home from work and Laura e-mailed me to tell me that their hives had swarmed. I asked if she wanted me to come by (since I have tons of excess equipment and her husband was still at work). So, I grabbed a few hive boxes and tops and bottoms and my husband and headed over.
We managed to get the smaller swarm into the box fairly easily, by cutting the branches off the pine they had settled into. And they seem to be crawling into the box...we just hope they're going to settle in and that they have a queen.
The bigger swarm (which was buzzing about right where the school bus stops and right when the school bus stops) settled onto and around the trunk of a small pine. We weren't sure how to handle that, as we could not take down the tree to shake them into the box. So, I suited up, and set another box under the bush and went in. I tried to shake a bunch of bees onto frames and put the frames into the hive box. Then I shook the tree to get them out of the cluster and onto the ground. They would start to head into the box with the others. I shook and bothered the swarm off the trunk a few times and it seems that a lot of the bees ended up in the box...though there was still a decent sized cluster on the trunk when we left.
Now, it just a matter of waiting to see if the bees stay in the boxes. And waiting to see if they have laying queens. I'm worried that the smaller cluster is a part of the big cluster that broke off and so it won't have a queen and so it won't survive. But we figure if there are no eggs in a few days in one of the boxes, we'll just combine the two into one hive.
Maybe we've got a couple of free hives!
Maybe they'll take off and find a better place to live (maybe they don't like purple--the color of some of the boxes)
Maybe, maybe, maybe.
We will keep you posted and the pictures coming!