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Discussion Starter #1
Finally wised up and have been carrying a 12 bar TBH nuc with me so that I can collect them right into the hive they'll be staying in instead of into a box and then dumping them into a hive in the dark. Pretty much a textbook capture. I brushed as many of them as I could into the hive and closed it up, putting it right against the post they'd be clustered on. 95% marched right in during the 20-30 minutes I was there observing. Helps that there was a light rain. All I did was mist them with some really light sugar water before I knocked them in. Probably about 2#.

On a side note, does anyone have a good way of knowing roughly where the queen may be in a cluster? I've seen videos of guys hand scooping bees out of the cluster and into a box looking for the queen, but that seems daunting and overly disruptive. What other behaviors are there for bees around a queen? After I was putting the top bars into the nuc as I got to the last couple bars I noticed a "parade" of bees that were crawling at a good clip with purpose. They kept climbing over the ones in front of them. Most of the others were pretty calm, but these 50-100 bees were pretty excitedly running.

This is my third of the year. The first was "left overs" from a huge swarm and ended up with only a handful of bees that night. My last one started building queen cells on the open brood I gave them and have not built any additional comb when we looked. This one is about the same size. I'll put some comb with eggs/brood in tonight when I get them home. Hoping they have at least a virgin with them!

On arrival:
IMG_20140610_124832_920.jpg

Just after closing it up:
IMG_20140610_125650_771.jpg

After a few minutes:
IMG_20140610_125736_127.jpg

The tree they swarmed from, you can see the entrance:
IMG_20140610_130804_200.jpg

The homeowner wants me to do a trap out because he said in a couple of months he's going to have to kill them. His wife is scared of them. Says they have been there at least three years (who knows if constantly or not). Says there are "millions" of them sometimes.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Wow that is awesome. Wish I could find a tree like that.
I wish he didn't want to get rid of them. :( I'd be more than happy to put up a few swarm traps and trap the swarms coming out of it for a few years just to get the genes. I need to do some reading on trap-outs though. It's about a 45 minute drive from home so I don't want to make the trip a hundred times if I don't have to.
 

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Do yourself a favor and make a bee vacuum. It may have gone easy this time but when they don't march into the box you provide, which is the rule more than the exception, getting bees off a tree or other wrap around scenarios, is a pain. Brushing them off often kills a lot of bees and, in my experience, brushing makes them REALLY mad. A good bee vac can be made so your boxes are the receptical for the incoming bees and they will be "hived" as they are getting sucked up.
Good luck and think about putting in some brood and a queen excluder to make them stay put. I've neglected to do so after taking may that stayed for granted and lost two in a row.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Success!!

So the rest of the story. I went to pick up the top bar nuc that I got them marching into a few hours after getting them in there. They'd been on the fence post for 36-40 hours. It was cool and cloudy most of the day. It rained a bit... just enough to swell my top bars and caused the middle 5-6 to heave up and open the hive a bit. My heart sank when I pulled up. I pulled the shim and sat the bars back down. I peaked in the side really quickly... yep, there were still bees there.

So I made the 45 minute trip home hoping a bunch of the bees didn't leave. Got them to their spot, peaked in really quick (didn't want to waste a frame of open brood if there weren't many bees). So I decided not to waste my time and the strong hive's brood because I saw MAYBE a softball in the corner. I was upset and disappointed.

I ordered a queen for our week old queenless swarm, bought a second for our hive that's been struggling to raise a queen on their own. Two queens arrived today. I peaked into the nuc and there was quite a bit of activity on top of the baggie feeder. I worked my way forward one bar at a time and about six bars from the front the cluster started. The bees are covering about six top bars in a festoon about 3/4 of the hive wide. And in the middle? A piece of comb a little bigger than a deck of cards. They'd filled a bit of it with syrup. I strained and... EGGS! Absolutely floored. I have NO idea how the hive now has this many bees. I even had my brother look the following morning to make sure that I wasn't crazy. He sent me a video and agreed that the clustered looked only as big as softball.

Closed them up on cloud 9. Hope they can build up for the winter!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I caught a small queenless one at the end of May in Rock Island. They were left overs from what was a very large swarm.
 

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I got a call from the landowner again this morning. Same exact post. Saw the queen in this one, she looked very big. Seems strange that the swarm I just caught Tuesday (assuming from the same hive?) Has a laying queen with them. So maybe it is a swarm from another hive near by... if this tree has been throwing swarms like he thinks the last few years there has to be some colonies around.

 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hang a couple swarm traps on the post and save yourself some trips.
Unfortunately, the owner wants the bees gone from his tree. But there must be some more bees around there. I will be very curious to check on this last swarm after being gone for five days starting about an hour after I hived them.
 
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