I was making my rounds in the park, near where the swimming pool once was, when I heard a vague “wall of noise” off to the north. What WAS it? The wind? It was hard to tell because someone in that direction was also making noise with a gas powered weed eater.
I went a few steps further and suddenly saw it right in front of me - a twenty foot high, fiercely spinning tornado of yellow hornets! Holy-moly! Some made random orbits like angry electrons. Some flung themselves out of the whirling cloud to search for interlopers like me. Hornets are very nasty creatures. Blunder into something like this and you could die, or at least have your afternoon plans severely altered. Or was it bees? They were yellow. Fortunately, I was too far away to tell for sure.
I cautiously edged around for a better view. If it was hornets they’d probably be associated with a hole in the ground. Find the hole and take care of the hornets later, if you know what I mean, but since I detected no motion toward a hole it must have been the relatively predictable (and tamer) honeybee.
After awhile they confirmed this. They did the bee thing by massing from the spinning cloud to a tree branch. I moved closer and saw thousands of bees crawling all over each other in a big wad. My boss later explained the queen bee was “absconding,” that is, looking for a new nest. The hive was cooling its heels on the branch while she did her search. I warned the nearby maintenance crew and by late afternoon the mass of bees was gone. Only a few lost individuals hovered around the empty branch.
All’s well that ends well. Another day in paradise without suffering either death or debilitation is fine with me.