A new bee club member had a friend with bees in the siding of a house, second time in two years. Asked for some help because he'd never done one before, and the owner was willing to do the necessary demolition work to help out.
So we pulled the vertical siding off where the bees were going in and found a decent sized hive, although small for the number of bees flying, only honey, no brood. While we were selecting comb to put in frames, we notices that the bees were vanishing down the bottom of the cavity, and found a hole into another space. Went into the basement (all the work so far was outside) through the convenient walk-out door 'round the corner, and sure enough a section of wall is humming.
Wall was finished with plywood siding, so it was easy to get into it, and the owner had a long roll of plastic sheeting we hung with tape to keep the bees confined to the room. Still no brood comb, so I'm starting to wonder what's going on. Owner is insisting the bees have only been there a week, but even then I'd expect some brood or at least comb with eggs. Nada, only a small amount of old drone comb.
However, there was at least 18" of hive trash, wax moth cocoons, and assorted junk -- including the insulation originally in the space -- at the bottom.
We eventually scooped and brushed as many bees as we could into a deep on a base and into a nuc, but still had way to many flying and no real signs of them heading to the boxes, so I offered the nuc to the bees outside. The bees in the nuc promptly started walking to the hive location -- no queen!
So I had my brother smoke them out of the basement space and started using some cardboard to scoop them up off the wall and cross-bracing and depositing them in the nuc. After a few scoops of bees they started marching into the nuc like they are supposed to, so I got the queen at last.
In a couple hours they were nearly all in the new hive -- moved them into the deep, nuc was too small.
It appears this was a huge swarm, and they had not really set up housekeeping yet. The newbie beekeeper will come back late this evening and pick them up, and the owner will put the house back together.
A fun afternoon, not quite what I'd planned, but we stuffed all the hole and the owner will seal up the siding to prevent another "infestation". He's fascinated by the bees and wants hive, his wife does not......