I now have 4 hives, two in the same location as last year (queen ann) and two in west seattle- different properties.
Last sunday was decently warm so I checked all 4 hives...saw eggs and brood in all four, and got a visual on the queen in the von veyville hive (property name). This one I was particularly worried about since I received a call last week saying ALL the bees were outside the hive. Upon my arrival I found a big cluster of bees hanging out beneath the hive, sitting on the cinder block which I used to support the hive.
I gently scooped most of them in a bucket, but quickly realized that the majority were UNDER the hive, down in the cinderblock, not just on the outside of it...this was likely where the queen was. I feared that I would kill her in my scooping, but had little choice. I eventually took the hive apart, off the cinderblocks and got them all dumped back in the hive. I assumed I got the queen as they stayed in the hive. Thankfully, having gotten to see her this past sunday confirmed I didn't squash her in my bee rescue.
This was a time that it would have been good to have one of those bee vacuums my mentor had used for swarm catching. AND, It just so happens that a fellow condo dweller threw away one of the 5 gal watercooler bottles needed for a beevac. I will convert it after some thrift shop scavenging for parts.
Here are some pics of the hiving of the admiral hill hive- my friend's boys are pictured as I am telling one of them to shake the bees out of the package/cage.
Shake Shake Shake!
Dumping the bees out of the cage
The queen's cage
Putting the queen's cage in- left in for a day so the bees get used to her pheromones.