Fernando in Whittier called the Bee Rescue Hotline when he spotted a swarm hanging from the front of his garage. David and Kristy (below) are new Backwards Beekeepers who hadn't caught a swarm before. I went along to give some pointers.
Before calling us, Fernando had "smoked" the bees with some burning newspaper (not recommended, by the way), causing them to find their way up into a soffit just above the garage. David got started with a pry bar and hammer.
Here was the strangest part of the morning: after David had been extracting nails and banging the pry bar for a couple of minutes, we suddenly noticed that all the bees had disappeared. All of them—not one to be seen.
We walked around the house a couple of times, thinking the swarm might have moved to a nearby shrub or tree. Then, as I was standing under the garage, I suddenly saw one bee fly back to the soffet—followed by three, then 50, then 100. In less than a minute the entire swarm reappeared and ran back up into the soffit. Damndest thing I've ever seen.
So we went back to work with the pry bar.
David gave it one last pull...
...and we had the swarm revealed. It was actually pretty small.
Kristy sprayed the bees with some sugar water to keep them from flying and give them something to do.
David took a plastic scoop (a water bottle modified by Backwards Beekeeper Maurice) and scooped the main bunch of bees into a box.
We were pretty sure we got the queen into the box when we saw bees fanning from the edge of it.
Kristy checked that we had collected all the bees we could.
Now two new beekeepers have bees (and are ready to teach others), and a Whittier family didn't have to call an exterminator. Definitely a win-win.