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I started a thread on 8/12 about either a supersedure or swarm problem that I was having. The history is here: http://www.beesource.com/forums/showthread.php?t=245770&highlight=supersedure

This weekend I heard a loud electrical hum, went outside the garage and found that the sky was filled with my bees. My friend rushed over and as it turns out my hive was so populated that the swarm finally happened. The swarm landed on a black locust branch that was about 40 ft up. I grabbed my pruning saw, a 30 ft ladder, my truck and a new nuc box to put the swarm in. I know this was stupid but we backed the truck up, put the ladder on the bed, leaned it up against the tree, hooked up a top rope to the tree/ladder and grabbed the pruning saw. We took another rope and hooked it to the limb, cut the limb and tryed to lower it slowly but the swarm didn't like that and they moved to another section of the limb.

Attempt #2 included taping a box to the pruning saw, taping a whisk broom to a long stick and sweeping the bees into the box three separate times. We pulled off about 2/3rds of the bees. After that we tried the rope and pruning idea again but this time as the branch was lowering I let it down slowly by holding the end of it with the pruning saw while my friend kept pressure on the rope. Long story short, that was a success.

The 5 frame nuc was too small for all the bees so we transferred it to a makeshift hive (plywood and shims for a bottomboard with 2 medium supers). I found the queen outside the hive and then lost her but I'm pretty sure she made it in.

Yesterday was rainy and most of the bees stayed in the hive. They have on frame full of honey that I "borrowed" from another hive and if the bottomboard is any indication, they've been chewing away at that quickly.

The hive the bees swarmed from have no new eggs, just capped brood. I'm pretty certain they were overly congested and by the time I added a super the bees had already decided it was time to move on. At first I thought this was supersedure. I found a queen outside the hive about 2 weeks ago with 2-300 bees and broke them up with the smoker. At that time the hive inspection included young eggs, and queen cells but most of them broke when I pulled apart the brood chambers. I think the bees made more queen cells and the swarm either left with a 1 week old queen from a cell that didn't break apart or they left with a newly hatched queen.

After the swarm we did another hive inspection and saw a queen leave her cell. It was amazing. We put the frame back and I'm hoping that I know have 3 hives which make it through the winter. My guess is that both hives have 20-30,000 bees in them.

On a side note, when the bees swarmed a war broke out between my two original hives. I think there was some encouragement for robbing and I watched as dozens and dozens of bees battled each other between the two hives. I reduced the entrances and let them duke it out until they settled down. My guess is that I lost about 200-400 bees from that fiasco.

So now I have one makeshift hive that the bees need to draw out all the frames. I think I'm going to start feeding them with a heavy sugar syrup and hopefully they can build up to make it through the winter. I'll probably feed the hive they swarmed from too although they have an ample supply of honey. I will inspect the hives again next weekend to see if the queens are laying yet.

This has been quite the experience. When the bees call, everything else stops. As for the chimney, well that needs to wait until next weekend.
 

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Congrats! Always an adventure to catch a swarm, and a complete thrill to be in the middle of a swarm jumping off IMO. As far as the truck and ladder along with the other "questionable" methods you used to get them? I think most of us will tell you we have never done that. :rolleyes: Just like you said, when the bees call, everything else stops. I hear that!

C2
 
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