First swarm call of the year - Northwest, PA
Received a call today from a lady asking if I did honeybee "cutouts". I told her I do pick up swarms but have never done a cutout. I asked her if she had a cutout to do or a swarm to catch. She said "I don't know. They are on a pine tree branch." I confirmed it was a swarm and took off work early, grabbed my equipment and went to the swarm.
There it was, two feet off of the ground - one swarm at least the size of a football on several branches. I got the hive underneath (it just fit) and shook the branch. Instantly, there were bees in the air - flying everywhere. (I've seen the video's of swarms that one or two shakes and the whole clump falls into the box and stays there.) Why is there a cloud of bees everywhere?!?
I pulled the hive from under the branch, quickly put in the frames I had taken out, put the inner cover on (noticing that bees were fanning) and put the lid on. Wasn't sure if the bees were fanning because the queen was in the box, or because they smelled the lemon grass oil. (I had to take my one swarm trap apart to steal this box, frames, and foundation.) Bees were fanning at the entrance - so things are looking better.
I talked to the couple that lived there and found out originally bees lived in a camp across the street. Several years ago, the owner of the camp did a cutout, but before he did, they swarmed and it went into a hollow tree on these people's property. Apparently that is where this swarm came from. As we talked, the cloud got smaller and smaller, and finally, no bees were flying around at all, except a few right in front of the entrance.
I'll go back tonight, block the entrance, bring them home, put another hive body on so they have lots of room, and open the entrance.
So, first swarm pickup today - from Worthville, PA 15784 which is in Northwest PA.