This is my first year--I installed at the end of April.
I've been inspecting about every 8 days, but last weekend skipped and truly paid for it today: they flew (in front of me) up into our pine tree about 30 feet up. My dear boyfriend jerry-rigged a telescoping pole and a salmon net lined with a black plastic trash bag; armed with this instrument, I positioned as best I could about 9' below the swarm while he climbed the tree with a pole saw. This "drop in the bag" method failed on us twice--the queen either flew back into the air and resettled, or we didn't get her.
We stopped, had a late lunch and regrouped. It was decided that both of us should be up in the tree . . .
I climbed in my bee suit (not easy!) about 10 feet up while dear bf was in the next limb up with the saw. Keeping the net about 1' below the swarm we dropped 3 branches in until most of the mass made it into the bag. It was ridiculously heavy, as well as awkward, so I held on until I could be helped with "closing" the bag (tilting the net so the opening was somewhat closed). Somehow we managed to get the net and pole untangled from the tree as we climbed down, then deposited net, bag and branches into 2 meds.
Bees started dancing with their butts up (to my bf's amazement) telling all "she's over here!" Whew!
I put in one frame of honey and one of capped and open brood as well as 2 empty frames. After a few minutes I shook and took out the plastic bag and a few of the branches. The bees were all heaped into the corner of the box, leading me to believe they were surrounding the queen.
I believe quite a few bees returned to the original hive as well (I put an entrance feeder in for them).
Hopefully they stay put.
I really don't know what I'm doing, but I'm trying!
This may seem dumb, but is the old queen in the swarm, and the original hive queenless? (There is 1 queen cell, capped)
And should I now stick to 2 hives?--or at some point combine them?