I had the privilege of seeing a swarm of bees from my office window yesterday. Imagine a large cloud of bees milling around in an area about 30 feet in diameter. Over the period of about an hour it settled down into a ball about the size of a footbal attached to some vines over an arbor outside. I showed some people in the office and people were generally concerned about it.
"We should call Animal Services!"
"No way I'm going outside!"
I tried to educate people a bit about swarming bees. How they are all doped up on honey and don't sting, and are only looking for a place to create a new nest. People weren't convinced. Nonetheless I enjoyed the experience. I went out later and took a look at the ball. I wonder how the Queen breathes in there!
I've only experienced it once before when I was living at home in Victoria. I was sitting with my mom in the backyard when this buzzing sound kept getting louder and louder. I looked up and the sky was a swarm of black dots. We went inside quickly and called a beekeeper for advice. He was very happy to come by and take care of it for us. He arrived within an hour and promptly used a stick to lightly dislodge the 'ball' of bees into a canvas bag. Put the bag in his car and went home to create a new hive. He told us that if the remaining bees didn't dissipate then he likely didn't get the Queen and to call him and let him know. They dissipated and we got a good story to tell.