The tree had come down several weeks earlier. Imagine the huge fall they had taken when the massive trunk came down. The colony entrance had been way up high about the roof tops. It was a miracle the bees found their way back in. We couldn't imagine what would be left of the colony and honeycomb deep within.
I must say my husband was dead on.... he cut a wedge out of that huge sycamore tree, and after we removed it I carefully pulled the fragile combs of bees and comb from within the recesses of the tree while my neighbor strategically and carefully attached them to the ends of top bars with rubber bands, strips of cloth and hair clips. Finally we moved the top bar hive with the newly tied combs right up to what was left of the cluster area and hoped for the best.
A several day old story cut short.... the bees did move into the top bar hive (with a little help from my friend). We had saved the bees. After moving them to a faraway location for a couple weeks they are back in our neighborhood at my beekeeper friend's home doing great.... building up.... hopefully ready to throw a new swarm by next year!