Here is the quick lecture for those unaware folks who have been living in rural area in close proximity to the wild nature, yet fail to observe, understand and connect with it.
Message to humans: Don't be dangerous destructors !!!
The sight of swarming bees can certainly unnerve some people. However, it is a very natural and wonderful part of the life cycle of honey bees.
After bee colony has survived a cool winter, as the weather warms up, the colony expands. More workers are produced. When the crowd is so great, that not all of the workers have access to the queen, this induces within these workers the need to create a new honey bee queen. However, there is no space in the colony for more than one queen.
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Before the new queen emerges, the old queen takes off with part of the colony to establish a new nest.
You see, the whole activity revolves around the queen whose well-being will be key to the success of the migrating colony. During their quest of finding a new home location, they will occasionally pass through a town, village or a small human settlement. And their journey can sometimes take several days and cover several hundred miles. Once the swarm has left its old nest or hive, this is when we might see a whirling mass of swarming bees in the air, or a bee swarm settled on the branch of a tree (or possibly somewhere not so convenient like between our neighbors' mailboxes!). It is important to keep your distance from swarming bees, because if the bees feel threatened, then it is possible they will sting.
The queen is not the strongest of flyers, and so inevitably will need to rest regularly – at some point on a branch, fence or a mailbox. That's when the whole pack huddles around the queen (to protect her) and wait until she is rested enough to continue the migration. The reason a bee swarm looks like a clump of bees, is because all of the workers are gathered around the queen, hence forming a clump.
Meanwhile, ‘Scout bees’ are sent out to look for a suitable new location for the new hive. People report groups of aggressive bees flying around. And even call animal control for nothing. This is nothing but utter non-sense. These erratically flying small groups of bees are the scout bees scanning the area for suitable new homestead location. They are focused on finding a new nest, not on attacking. And don't worry, the location they will pick won't be where human's live. They don't need human disturbance.
As soon as they find the right location, these scouts will lead the whole pack to the right site to settle down and build the new hive. As long as "you" do not disturb them, they will be gone in half a day or one day latest. None of them are interested in you or any other human for that matter.
A swarm may stay around for a few days, depending on how quickly the scout bees find a suitable new home. This could happen very quickly, even within a day.
A FEW LAST MOMENT ADVICE:
Show no FEAR around bees. They can sense cortisol!
Do not wear floral perfumes around bees. They will think that you are a good source for honey!
And please leave them alone.
Chef J9 (Chef Janine)