Oh dear. I was determined not to have any swarms this year after half dozen or more last year but the bees had other ideas. This one came from a colony I split two weeks ago and was from the half with all the brood but without the original queen. Just over a week ago I reduced the queen cells from 22 to one (or so I thought) but I must have missed one. When I see photos of swarms they are always hanging on a single branch, waiting to be cut off and dropped straight into a box but mine are never like that. This one was spread along several branches of a spindle shrub in my neighbour's garden, about 3m from the hive.
Minutes after it emerged there was a heavy downpour so I didn't think they would be off in hurry, giving me time for a cup of tea. Here is a small group of bees after the rain.
The only way to get the bees off was to pick them up in handfuls. I took a nuc box and put them straight in, as many as I could get off the branches.
Within minutes they were fanning at the hole in the crown board
and a few at the entrance.
I collected more stragglers from the bush and there was more fanning, suggesting that the queen was in the box.
Once I was optimistic that I had the queen I put on the roof and left them to settle.
An hour later there were no bees in the bush and a few flying from the nuc entrance. I went back at dusk and brought them home. This wasn't the biggest swarm and must have been lead by a virgin queen. I'll let them settle down but I'll probably unite them back to where they came from in a few weeks. My neighbour Gill is very obliging and after last year she is quite used to me turning up on her doorstep dressed in a bee suit. Last year I didn't take any honey and so had none to give her but she'll be top of my list when I get some this year.