I live outside of Richmond, Virginia and am entering my second year as a beekeeper.
Today, a friend called regarding a 'swarm' that they had in their backyard. I have never retrieved a swarm before, but was amped to get a shot at it so early.
On the phone, they mentioned that it was 'on the ground', but I figured (based on my reading and talking to other beekeeper's in the area) that they probably meant it was on a low hanging limb or 'close to the ground.'
When I arrived, I found that it was indeed right square on the ground. A pile of bees. After looking around, I noticed a hole with bees coming in and out of it some 50' up in the tree.
Not sure what to do, I took my Deep of foundation (I really do not have any spare drawn comb to use at this point) and placed it on the ground, with the front just a hair from the side of the bee mass. I then took a frame of honey and nectar (I stole one from my strong hive) and placed it a little off of center in the hive and stood back.
In seconds (literally) the bees started marching into the hive. First a few, and then by the droves. They were moving as a mass. This was about 6:50 PM. I had a dinner engagement with my wife at a friend's house, so I left the hive there and figured I would pick it up after our get together.
Now to the problem. When I arrived back (circa 9:30 PM), probably about 2/3's of the bees had gone into the hive. A smaller mass still existed (what appeared to me to be the 'other side' of the bee mass from the edge of the hive body). A few bees were all bunched up between the ground and the edge of the bottom board.
I am not sure what is going on. I left the hive and will check back tomorrow. I played with the idea of trying to scoop the remaining bees up and placing them in the hive (would this have been a bad idea?)
Why didn't the other bees go in? Wouldn't all of the bees stay with the queen (i.e. if she is outside, why didn't the rest return to her, or if she went in, whey didn't that mass go join her?)
Any suggestions on a plan of attack would be appreciated.