Killed more than half the swarm. Sorry long post.
Well I learned a lot today and welcome any constructed criticism as to what I could or should have done different as it might help the next newbie. Got my first swarm call this morning. Well I asked some of the questions my mentor had advised me to ask such as: How big was the swarm compared to a football? Have used this since most are sort of oblong in shape. How high they were how far from the road, etc.
Wes said he thought the swarm was a large as three footballs and would fill a 5 gallon bucket! Of course I thought he might be a bit excited and his eyes building them up some. Well he was right it was a huge swarm! Larger than any swarm I had seen pictures of or you tubes videos of. The swarm was only about 6 feet high covering a three tree limbs. I easily lifted my cardboard box under the swarm and racked three to four pounds of bees into the box with my dustpan and still had as many left on the tree as in my box. Sat the box down below the swarm and used my bee brush to fill and refill the dustpan and transfer them to the box.
Was quick, easy, had just two bees sting me, closed up my box and loaded it the truck for the short, about 20 minute drive home. The box was about 4 inches deep in bees with many more on the sides of the box. Once home quickly setup the hive box and in less than 30 minutes from closing the box till getting to the hive body more than half, maybe ¾ of the bees were dead! The cardboard box has screen wire on one side and I thought plenty of air. While there might have been enough ventilation the sheer number and weight of the bees had smothered thousands of bees, and of course I am just sick about that.
Still was able to house a large number of bees in the hive with drawn comb, a frame with brood, and some sugar water but have no idea if the queen is alive or not. I just hate what happen and still not sure what I could have done different. Hindsight I would have carried a hive body with frames with me and poured the bees from the box to the hive body before leaving the tree. Maybe if I had thought to use two boxes they would have had enough room, maybe if I had …….., or maybe if I had …… .
Anyway if someone can learn from my error(s) or some of you want to unload on me than somebody else might not make the same mistakes that I did. I now wish the bees had left before I got to them but I can not undo it now and am trying to think of what to do next. My plans are to leave them alone for 3 to 5 days and see if there are any eggs or other signs of the queen being alive. If I can not find her or any signs of new life I think my three best choices are: 1) If there are enough bees left alive my mentor has offered to give me a newly mated queen. 2) Pull a frame with eggs from one of the other hive I have and see if they will make a queen. 3) Or if I feel there are not enough bees left to establish another hive combine them with another hive by trying the “newspaper combine”.
Sorry so long but I have been beating myself up all afternoon and hope others can learn from the mistakes that I made today and help someone else to not make such errors as I did.