|Rydingsvard's handiwork at YSP|
Following the instructions of my satnav I arrived at the school and spotted (well okay couldn't miss) an area of immaculate lawn with a number of saplings on it that'd been cordoned off with cones and red and tape. There was a dark mass near the top of the middlemost tree which I guessed had to be the bees. I wandered into the school spoke to a couple girls on reception, one asked what I was going to do with the bees. I told her I was going to pop them in a box, take them home and keep them in my garden, at first she thought I was joking. :)
I'd guess the tree was about 5 metres tall, possibly the tallest of the set but not by much. One of the caretakers helpfully lent me some steps which I put near the tree so I was able to reach the bottom of the cluster. It was actually a very big cluster I suspect if I'd brought a 5 frame nuc it would've been a tight fit and with the 6 frame nuc they'll be a little congested. When the swarm was flying it must've been quite a sight.
|It's one big cluster..|
I cut almost but not quite through the branch so it hung downwards from the uncut edge. Holding the bit with the bees on in one hand I used a sharp coping saw, also loaned by the caretaker, to cut through the rest and carried the branch and the bees down. At this point some bees took flight, regrouping on other branches, but the majority stayed in the together. The important bit was to not lose the queen who should be somewhere in the middle of the mass. Holding the bee covered branch above the nucleus I gave it a sharp jolt downwards causing the bees to fall to the Nuc floor, filling it a couple of inches deep. At this point they got pretty noisy but there wasn't any mass exodus from the open box. None of the videos I've seen of people catching swarms manage to do the noise justice, it's something you really need to experience first hand.
|Spot the new one...|
|Mystical Stone of Orientation|
The next day there were noticeably more bees flying in the garden particularly near the 6 frame nuc. I guess the new bees were taking orientation flights. Being a swarm they're probably all mature bees anyway unlike a regular colony where only about ten percent of the bees are going to be flying, plus in an established colony the flying bees will be going away to forage and returning straight to the hive rather than milling about outside so you'd probably see fewer at any one time anyway.
This weekend I'll hopefully have a look in the hive, see if the Queen is marked or not. I've got no idea where they came from but going by the size of the swarm they must be from a pretty healthy colony. Going to have to make some decisions about which Queens to keep when I start uniting colonies very soon.