Yesterday afternoon as I was walking back from skinnydipping in the pond I saw a swarm of bees. Concerned, I told the boss and we checked it out.
The swarm was about 15 feet up in the tree, and maybe 50 feet from the three bee hives we already have. Excellent location!
Well of course the boss wanted to see if we could capture the swarm and get them into a fourth hive. Neither one of us had doen this before, but he knew what to do so this morning we went to it.
First we set up the loader with a step ladder in the bucket, to try to get as close as possible. That was a bit too unsafe though, so we hooked up a rope to bend the branch lower to make it easier to reach.
The boss geared up and went up with a lidded box to capture the queen and her swarm. I pulled on the rope (from a safe distance) and he shook the branch, making the bees fall into the box. He checked the box to see if the queen was in it, but couldn't really tell. We left the box there for a little while, letting the swarm figure out where the queen was; and since the swarm stayed at the box that meant the queen was inside.
Then we set up a new hive next to the existing ones and lifted the swarm box up to it. He basically just dumped the bees into the new hive and then closed it up. It wasn't as hard as I had figured these things would be, and while he got stung 5 times I didn't get stung at all. Now we just need to wait a few days to see if the hive survives.