A swarm of bees is frightening but not necessarily dangerous

Lots of bees swarming a tree in the backyard can be frightening.  However, swarming doesn’t necessarily mean that the bees are angry.  It is the honey bee’s way of handling colony reproduction. The existing queen and approximately half of the worker bees leave the old nest and look for a new home, typically in the spring.  To begin this process, certain worker bees start to scout the surrounding areas for a good nesting site well before the swarm departs the original colony. A departing swarm is made up of a large number of bees flying in a cloud.  Most people are frightened by a mass of five to twenty thousand bees, but they are unlikely to stink. The queen is within the group, no leading them. Within a hundred to two hundreds from the original hive, the bees land and form a cluster.  Some of the bees leave the cluster to collect water and food, and a few scouts go looking for a potential new home for the swarm. When the scouts return, they pass over the cluster to communicate the location of the new site. The swarm appears to get agitated but are actually quite docile.  They will not get defensive unless attacked. Honey bees look for cavities to nest in which offer plenty of space and an easily protected entrance. The love hollowed-out trees, but will nest in walls of houses, in chimneys, shrubs, barbecue grills, beneath the overhang of the roof and just about anywhere. Once the swarm takes flight to head to the final destination, the scouts guide the path.  The bees then form a cluster around the entrance to their new home and enter slowly.