I got my first swarm call yesterday afternoon around 4:30pm from a retirement community. I was told the bees had only been in the tree for about an hour. When I asked how high the bees were, the response was "oh about half way up". Not bad if the tree is 10 foot tall but this turned about to be a 40 foot tree. I only had a 16 foot ladder but needed an additional 2 or 3 foot to safely reach the hive. The property owner had a pick-up truck so we used the bed of the truck to gain the additional feet. I climbed the ladder to remove some branches that were in the way and while up next to the hive, I thought it would be a good time to show the audience how docile a swarm of honeybees are and proceeded to handle some bees barehanded. I had to do it twice because part of the audience was slow in taking pictures
. I came down and suited up because I did not want to take a hit to the face since I had a meeting to go to the following day. I contemplated about removing the limb but thought it would be easier to brush the bees into a 5 gallon bucket. I climbed the ladder with the bucket and used my hand to brush the bees into the bucket. After most of the bees were in the bucket, I came down and dumped them into a hive body. My audience kept asking if I got the queen. I told them if they re-orient to the tree then NO but if they orient to the hive body YES. About 5 minutes later one on my audience members said they were starting to swarm again. I told them to watch where they were "swarming". They noticed the bees were leaving the limb and then realized they were flying down and orienting to the hive body. That is when I told them I had the queen. I used a screen bottom board and there were a lot on bees under the hive body. I slid the top cover over to create a small opening and told my audience they would soon see the bees marching into the hive. 5-10 minutes later the march started and with about 10 minutes, the majority of the bees were inside their new home. What an exciting adventure and I loved that I was able to educate the residence of this retirement community about the benefits of honeybees and how they are very docile when they swarm. Here a link to the pictures my wife took: https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/sredir?uname=dean1929&target=ALBUM&id=5724749053128780449&authkey=Gv1sRgCKGQ39Xn0sfVRw&feat=email
I have my first solo cutout to do on Friday. These bees have been in the wall for over a year and were very active when I visited them last week but they were not aggressive. My first cutout was last year in Paisley with Hardwood and I a learned a lot on that trip. Hardwood is helping me again with this cutout by loaning me his bee vac but other than that I am on my own. Wish me luck.