Having made our scion we next needed to put it in place. Some simply put the scion on a pole or hang it from a tree branch and still use a ladder to reach the swarm, content with having the swarm at a reasonable height and accessible location. Others avoid ladders entirely and throw a rope over a branch to raise and lower the scion. We opted to build a rudimentary scaffold and use a rope and pulleys.

We used treated lumber, which may make some nervous but we assured ourselves that the bees will not be spending much time on it and the treatments are much less toxic than they once were.

We had planned on using lumber with the usual bodger’s two-by-four dimensions but in these times of irregular supply chains we had to settle for one-by-eights.

The arm need not be too long, just long enough to discourage bees from overflowing the scion onto the upright. For us, that was a two-or-so-foot piece of our lumber. We overlapped one end of it with one end of the eight foot upright, forming a right angle, and attached with one and one quarter screws. We had some problems finding sufficiently short deck screws.

The one advantage of using such wide boards is that we need not worry about attaching a diagonal support to prevent the arm sagging.

We then flipped the assembly and added some screws from the other side. This may not have been strictly necessary but with such short screws we felt better having some holding from each side.

Next we cut one more short piece of lumber to cover the arm and butt up against the upright. We attached it with the usual decking screws along the top. Along the bottom we positioned two pulleys, one near but a little away from the upright and the other near the end of the arm.

We threaded our plastic rope through the pulleys. The rope needs to be of a length that allows the scion to be in the bucket while someone comfortably holds the other end. That is roughly twice the height of the scaffold plus the length of the arm. Our is somewhat longer and we could not be bothered to cut it shorter.

At the end that would hold the scion, we tied a carabiner for quick connection to and disconnection from the eye screw in our scion. We attached a rope cleat on the upright edge opposite the arm. This was to allow the person doing the lowering, if not in a bee suit, to be a little further from the scion.

Scions seem to often be positioned in front of hives, presumably to better get a swarm’s attention, but that would be a windy location for us and require us to solve the problem of anchoring our scaffold to the ground. Also, the swarms we have caught had bivouacked behind our hives. Instead we looked among the carnage wrought by our last capture, hoping for a straightish tree trunk to which we could attach our construction, and found a suitable clump of two trunks we had cut to a few feet in height. Between them we cut a rude slot into which we jammed the base of our scaffold and stabilized it by running a pair of those long bolts used to fasten landscape timbers through one trunk, the scaffold held vertical, and into the other trunk.

We attached our anointed scion to the carabiner and raised it, winding the rope around the cleat. We had far too much rope to fit so we tied the rest around another stump. With the arm pointing into the woods, the scion is somewhat protected from wind by the surrounding trees. And now, with the scion visible from several windows of our house, we wait and watch.