In Germany it’s swarm season just now. A beekeeper here, Henry Seifert, uses plastic drainpipe (“KG pipe” it’s called here) to get otherwise unreachable swarms high in tree branches. You can see his video, which includes shots of him using the contraption, here:
A friend and I used a three-meter version of this yesterday to grab a swarm that we otherwise would not have been able to reach.
Here are some more example images:
You just sort of gently run the tube into the swarm and/or along the branch. The bees come tumbling down in clumps. Henry uses a nylon stocking to catch them. You need the knot in it at the bottom so that you have a “handle” when tipping them into your swarm box.
Worked like a charm for us even though quite a few bees were still left on the branch. But as you know, where the queen goes (or lands) so goes the swarm.
Here’s a photo demonstrating how you can use the tube to bring a water sprayer into play before scooping:
We didn’t do this, but did end up wetting down the inside of the tubes first (because they were dirty). I think this was a good idea.
If you are really watching your nickels and dimes, you could buy the pipe pieces you need, catch a swarm, then return them to the DIY market “unused”.