We have a very large swarm situated high up in a spruce tree, probably one of the tallest trees in the forest. It's the black blobby thing in the middle of this photo. Peter was convinced something was up as there were bees in the garage coming and going all day. They were out looking for a new hive and maybe the smell of the old frames in the garage attracted them. With binoculars we can see that this is a huge swarm but there is no way we can climb a tree that tall to collect it. So we are going to use "alternative" tactics. We have made a lure, a small hive at the base of the tree containing some old frames. Hopefully some of the bees will find it and communicate the location to the swarm. We need to get the queen into that box. To speed things up, we could fire a shot gun at the swarm in order to disperse it, but I don't want to be around when that happens.
The hot weather during the past few days has encouraged the hive reproduction instincts, ie to renew the queen and build a new colony. This can have a dramatic impact on the honey production as a new queen will take several weeks to produce brood that can eventually forage and by then the flowering season will be over.
UPDATE: Peter fired a shot gun at the swarm and it has dispersed. When things settle down we'll take a look at the hives. The swarm may have returned to the original hive: anyway, it has left the spruce tree.