Just today my husband and I observed something we have not seen before. During the last few days I have heard swarms of bees flying around our house at various times if the day and as suddenly as they appeared they would disappear. This morning we found out where they had gone to.
We have an older lime tree outside our back door and there, out on a limb so to speak, was a living swarm of bees, one on top of another. At first we thought maybe they were beginning to form a living cell to create a hive. For brief periods part of the swarm would break away from the "living nest" and fly about only to return and be absorbed into the crawling live nest. This happened over and over again during a few hours.
My husband approached and photographed the swarm and took a close up of the actual bees.
As you can see from this photo, there are literally thousands of bees, each climbing over the other. Several hours passed and then, suddenly, as quickly as they appeared they started dropping to the ground apparently dying. In less than an hour all the bees had dropped off the branch and were laying on the ground.
My husband picked up a few bees, held them in his hand and took this close up photo.
We have no idea what their final goal was or if they were in fact honey bees. The honey bees of the island were decimated by Hurricane Mitch and it has only been recently, due to the diligence of some of the foreigners and islanders, that honey bees have been reintroduced onto the island. Those bees that were introduced, however, are at the Northeast end of the island so we were surprised to see this swarm so far from their actual nests.
Maybe someone out there has insight into this phenomena and can shed some light on this strange behavior.