Unlike Jeff, this is only my third year of beekeeping and this is the first year I installed my first package of bees. My first year of beekeeping I bought two Nucs, starting my second year I had one hive left and was able to split it and capture a swarm. I went into the winter of 2014 with 3 strong hives. Unfortunately like many beekeepers I only had one out of three hives alive this spring. I wanted to grow my apiary and package bees were my best option.
If you capture many swarms you will learn a few things are always true: 1. sometimes the swarms leave before you get there; 2. they are not always going to be honeybees; 3. and sometimes the swarm is just to high in they tree to reach easily. Its the facts of chasing bees, not all of them want to cooperate or land in a easy spot for us to capture. We have seen swarms on all kinds of things: cooling ducts, fences, trees, light fixtures, the ground and even cars. These wonderful insects dont always cooperate but here is a simple trick to get the ones up high.
This is a common question that is very hard to answer. We recently found a deadout and filmed our investigation.
The home owner had closed off the area with stakes and plastic ribbon. The air was filled with a lot of honeybees and we were concerned they were getting ready to leave. Apparently this swarm was here for 2 days before we finally got the call late on the 3rd day (two of those nights were in the cold low to mid 40's). The home owner explained to us that it started out on the side of the tree, then moved to a limb and finally flat on the ground in the grass.