Being allergic to bees, I bravely called my neighbor and he came over and walked down to the beehive for a closer look. Now that is brave!!! What did he see...thousands and thousands of bees on top of each other. I called a beekeeper who explained that what we have is a BEE SWARM.
"Swarming is the natural means of reproduction of honey bee colonies. A new honey bee colony is formed when the queen bee leaves the colony with a large group of worker bees, a process called swarming. In the prime swarm, about 60% of the worker bees leave the original hive location with the old queen. This swarm can contain thousands to tens of thousands of bees. Swarming is mainly a spring phenomenon...."
After I explained that the next day six painter guys were going to show up AND I was allergic to bees AND I had six kids that were scared to go outside she said she would hurry on over and take care of the situation.
She was a wonderful lady and a mother to eight kids herself (plus she homeschools) and so kind and knowledgeable. She walked up to that beehive with no fear. She actually explained that the bees that are part of a swarm are very happy bees and won't bother you. Apparently they are drunk with honey because before leaving the old hive they fill themselves with honey not knowing when their next meal will come.
She went right up and put a bee box on the ladder and then hit the tree branch hard so that thousands of the bees would fall into the box. I guess the worker bees are just looking for a new dark hollow spot to call home and so she was creating that new home for them.
Within a couple of hours all the bees were in the box and early the next morning her husband came and took the colony home to add to their collection. A bit later in the day the kind bee woman brought over a jar of honey as a thank you.
I was a wild and cool experience!