It’s definitely been a long stretch of rain in these parts. But, I believe I saw my bees doing a practice swarm yesterday, now that I’ve read this post - thanks @Dee! I caught sight of the air above my back yard just filled with a bee vortex, it was like nothing I’ve seen so far. Definitely not mass orienting, even though that’s a quite feasible thing after bad weather.
Anyway, they seemed to disperse, or move off out of view, and I assumed they clustered elsewhere and I’d missed them. But, today while I was at work, my husband texted me that they were doing their wild vortex again, and a little later sent a pic of a huge cluster hanging up high in a holly tree just behind the hives.
The branch was up about 20 feet, but luckily my hub is an arborist He and our son got two ladders & two pole clippers, son pinch anchored one end of the branch and held it while dad sawed the other end. Bees were rather disturbed but the cluster was fairly intact – until it got bumped on the way down
The branch still had bees on it, but clearly the queen was not among them because in a few mins they had flown back, all the back up to where they were. The guys did the same procedure again…and then lost grip and the cluster came all apart, vortex in the air, then amazingly they began flying back to their hive and marching back in!
So my son and I did a split. Hopefully we did it right, and I have a new colony and no imminent swarm in the old. No time to sit back though, because the other colony looks like it’s getting ready and I ran out of time to inspect today! The rain for past week plus really has me behind in all outdoor pursuits