I was on one of our reserves the other day when I noticed a large number of insects flying around in front of me. As I approached I realised they were a swarm of honey bees. Presumably the queen had landed because as I watched, the swarm began to land on the trunk of a Birch tree
I am told that bees rarely sting when swarming but due to public access, as a precausion I called our local beekeeper to come and collect the bees.
I believe a swarm is formed when a queen decides to leave the hive and find a new home. Scout bees are sent out to dry and locate a suitable home and the rest of the bees follow the scouts waiting for then to return with a suitable location. Hopefully Robin (Treewright) will correct me if I am wrong.
Alan the beekeeper a nice coiled basket which had been locally made, to collect the bees in. He swept the majority of bees into the basket (ensuring he had the queen)
He then proped the basket up, turned upside down on a cloth and all the remaining bees graually moved into the basket and they could then be taken away.
To find out more about honey bees take a look here BBA