I picked up an old swarm yesterday, six months old. The lady of the house told me they were noticed last October! So, no telling how old the swarm really was. The swarm was 30 to 35 foot up in a huge Oak tree and had built 10 combs into a nest larger than a beach ball, about 18 inches or more in Diameter. Anyway, with a 14 foot step ladder on a 3 foot high trailer using a 14 foot pruning saw I cut it down and hived the bees. Don't know if I got the Queen but there were a LOT of bees, I filled 8 frames and discarded a bucket full of broken and empty comb. Captured enough bees to pretty well cover those frames lightly.
There was one ripe Queen cell so maybe that will give a new Queen. Sure would like to keep the blood line because they are real survivors.
There were a few, maybe half a dozen SHB there so that may be a problem. It is coming into spring and they shoulg grow into a strong hive able to kick out the beetles.
Anyway, first swarm for me after 20 years of not keeping bees. I post here as I have only one time before seen bees build a large nest in the open. It has been a mild and somewhat dry winter so that helped them, but even at that, we have had some hard rains.
Now I have to determine if they have a Queen.
Anyway, that is my story...
Julysun elevation 23 feet. 4 Hives, 2 years.