We got a call about a swarm last Thursday, and it turned out to be a whole wild colony living in someone's barn, in the cavity of the wall.
The film shows just a short amount of the time we spent collecting the colony; we had to revisit twice to finish the job. We had to remove part of the wall to get to them, then came a long process of moving comb and bees to our OSB hives. Eventually we succeeded however and they are now settling down in a new apiary! At the moment they're the only ones there, which is perfect, as we can quarantine them without too much hassle.
In the film you can see us collecting comb, shaking the bees into a bucket, and placing most of the old combs in a pile, which later was scrupulously cleared up and is now waiting to be destroyed. We kept some of the comb (in frames covered with chicken wire to keep it in place) to encourage the queen to stay in her new home, but will replace it with new stuff as soon as the brood has hatched and she's started laying in some nice new comb.
The process would have been much easier if we'd used a vacuum cleaner arrangement, but we don't have all the right equipment so we had to do it the hard way! We'll be building up all our equipment over the winter though so hopefully if a similar situation arises next year we'll be geared up and ready to go.
It was such a treat to get this as wild colonies are so rare now in the UK - in fact there are almost none, and they die out over the winter 99.9% of the time (or there abouts). So it was a big thing to get these bees. We also took their honey - we can't spin it out, so we'll have to melt it, which means we can't sell it, but we'll still be able to feed it back to the bees, give it away as Christmas presents and use it for our own consumption.
The bees are now settling in fine. I have some more footage that I'm trying to figure out how to edit to make a proper little movie...when it's done I'll post it on here. In the mean time, check up on the bees' progress at the main blog, http://arfellian.blogspot.com/.
Happy beekeeping! =] Flo