At first it didn't look like much, but as we worked we discovered that there was a long fissure in the tree and the bees were filling the gap inside the trunk. These are just the fellows left on the outside. Hmmm...now how will we get them out of there? Capturing a swarm takes a bit of creative thinking, as no two are ever alike. Patrick and I conferred and decided that we would set some bait (a honey frame) and try as best we could to gently encourage the bees into the nuc (a small bee hive).
You can see to the left of the tree there is a full frame of honey, and the grey nuc box is just below where I am working. The bee brush has extremely soft bristles and it is important to use a gentle sweeping motion across the bees. You don't want to hurt anybody. I brushed them into my left hand and then shook my hand in the nuc to release the bees.The bees came willingly, and we were no time getting them all gathered up in the nuc. When we checked at suppertime, they were happily playing in their new home. This "bridging" indicates a happy group of bees, so we felt confident we had captured the queen with the swarm even though we hadn't seen her at that point.
We started going through the frames one by one and Patrick spotted her right away. Can you see her?