I went out to view my hive yesterday and saw what looked to be an orientation flight going on. As I sat and watched it got bigger and bigger. This was the biggest orientation I had ever seen. Then I noticed that bees were flying in a cloud over the house and it was clear this was no orientation flight. They were swarming!
I followed the cloud out into the front yard where they settled on a branch of a tree. I figured I would attempt to recapture them but before I could gather my veil and gloves and a box to put them in, they were on the move again. I watched as they moved around and then after about 10 minutes they resettled at their original branch location. I still needed to find a ladder, so I went to a neighbor to borrow one. By the time I got back with the ladder, the bees were on the move again and it seemed like the front yard was filled with bees.
This time, the bees were aggressive and I hadn't yet dressed out in my gear :( I took a sting on the cheek and one on the ear before I retreated into the house. The bees were up over the roof again. By the time I had performed some quick first-aid to my head and gone outside again, I had lost track of them.
No sign of them in the front yard. With proper gear on now I went out to the back yard to look for them, and saw that the hive boxes were covered with bees. It looked like the queen had returned to the hive. Within 15 minutes the bees had all gone inside and were calming down. At that point I set up an empty brood box a few feet away in hopes that if the queen tries again she'll pick the empty box for a home.
Has anyone else seen a swarm return to the hive like this?