Yesterday I was called to my out-apiary because of a swarm. It had settled in a tree right in front of the building where my elevated hives are kept. The swarm was about 10m up the tree; the hives are at a height of about 20m. There was no way to reach the swarm.
I collected a new swarm today from Helen, another low intervention bee keeper who has a Top Bar Hive near the John Radcliffe Hospital. She had kindly caught them in a skep with a sheet under it. Collecting it was simple: tie up the sheet and carry it all away.
The colony from which it comes has been untreated for 2 years. Before that it was intensively managed by a keeper in Wolvercote.
I have placed it in my out-apiary in a new Commercial brood box: Hive F. I'm using frames without foundation, with only the lolly stick guides.
I was called today to collect a late swarm from Barton. The woman who called me says that it is the 5th swarm this season to leave a nearby feral colony.
The feral colony is living in an air brick in a house about 30m from the apple tree where the swarm was clustered. The swarm emerged on Friday. Today is Tuesday. She'd expected them to disperse but there they were.
Collection was simple. Shake them from a branch at head height into a nucleus box. Leave for 5-10 minutes. Thank everyone and remove.
I was called a second time to Risinghurst by Judith who gave me my first swarm to collect. The same feral colony had cast a second swarm.
This new swarm was in the neighbour's hedge. Again it was at a low height and very easy to collect. This time I made no mistakes collecting it and then tipped it into the brood box of the hive.
From getting the call to being back at my desk took 2hrs 15mins. Not bad for a swarm catch.
I set up 2 hives a few weeks ago and registered with swarm officers. I've been waiting, but the weather has been relatively cold (air temp at 10am was greater than 15C only on 7th-10th and 12th May - source Radcliffe Observatory).
At about midday yesterday I was told about a swarm in Risinghurst. I took my swarm catching kit (bee suit; bee brush; cardboard box; gaffer tape) and found it in a very easy position. The swarm was on a hedge next to the pavement at chest level. I put the lip of the box beneath the swarm and gave a vigorous shake. In they went.