The bees are still here! It's not a bad thing...yet. From what information I've been able to find swarms like this don't generally sting unless the core (where you can find the queen) is threatened. These are separations from established hives. A new queen was born and she and her devoted followers left to establish their own colony.
On our last escapade I thought briefly about keeping a hive of bees. Just briefly. I don't relish the idea of getting stung or buying a bunch of new equipment. For now I'm happy to buy my honey at the store. Although I do recall the taste of the little bit of honey that we managed to save from our last wild bees. It was delicious.
While in this "holding pattern" scout bees are searching the area for likely hive sites. That's when it could become a bad thing. When they find a suitably enclosed area they will begin making honeycombs, new bees, and honey. They can become more aggressive in attempt to protect the hive against perceived threats.
If they find a way to get in a wall of a building (I hope they don't find the holes in the wall of our separate garage!) it can get really messy. You may be able to destroy the colony by pumping poison in there. If the poison reaches the center and manages to kill all the bees then bee moths can eventually damage the honeycombs. The honey drips out and does severe damage to the walls.
We've all heard about the strange virus that's affecting the commercial hives. Maybe these three swarms I've personally seen or heard about here in Bakersfield in the last week (the one in my tree, the one I drove under as they were flying, and the one in Roberta's yard) is a sign that the bee population is making a comeback.
I still don't quite understand why a bee keeper wouldn't want to take a bunch of bees for free. Roberta said in her April 14th post one bee keeper they contacted said it was simply not cost effective to try to capture them--it was easier to buy them. I suppose if you were a lazy bee keeper that would be true. After all it took Jeff, the guy that took our last wild bees away, several days to gather up the bees.
Apparently Jeff is not a lazy apiarist. (This is just my humble, uneducated opinion.)
Now, can you find the bees in the tree in the first picture? They are the dark mass at the top center of the photo.
Here's hoping they find a new locale (not in my garage walls) soon!