First swarm; didn't go well.
Just trying to figure out whether I did something wrong - I'd appreciate any feedback.
I got a call about a swarm today, and was able to get to it about an hour later. The swarm was at the top of the chimney - they'd been flying into the chimney, apparently looking for a home in there. Anyway, the homeowner wasn't impressed with that idea, so he started a little fire to chase them out about 45 minutes before I arrived. When I got there, there was what I think was a very small small swarm up at the top. I was able to get up on the roof and access the top of the chimney and use a paintbrush to get a handful or so into a box, but there were so few that once they hit the box they took off again, and I couldnt keep more than a few dozen or so in the box. I then noticed that they seemed to be congregating on my beesuit (which I got used and is covered in propolis/honey/etc and probably smells like a hive). I swapped into my newer half-suit and put the old suit into the box, hoping the bees would congregate on it. This idea worked slightly better, but after maybe 30 minutes of brushing and coercing, I only had maybe 5-600 bees in the box. There were few enough bees that I felt like I should have been able to see the queen, but I never saw her and they weren't in a very tight cluster - there was a main cluster, but there were a couple other smallish groups of bees clinging to bricks that werent in the main group.
The only way I think I could have done better was to make a bee vacuum for next time, but my experience wasn't much like the videos I've seen. Is this normal? I got the impression that there was no queen around, maybe she had gotten nabbed by a bird or something, does that seem reasonable?
I ended up leaving with only that small group of bees in the box (less than 1000, i think). Any suggestions for next time?
Thanks in advance,
Last edited by bsquad; 06-21-2012 at 11:55 PM.