Free bees for the brave
The bees hung in a big cluster from a corner of the deck, hanging, waiting. Eventually, on some subtle cue, they took to the sky and headed off into the trees. I discovered them a while later clustered in one of the large manuka trees. I thought that was that.
Next morning the air was thick with bees and they were back, attempting the roof once again. This time there seemed to be less of them... Towards the end of the day they once again got airborne and this time headed for the orchard. I found them this time in a low apple tree.
This was my chance to catch them. Why? I'm not sure....
I found what I though might be a suitable box with sealing lid, drilled a bunch of ventilation holes and cut an access slot at the bottom. To help make the place homely I smeared some honey on the inside and dribbled a beeswax candle on the floor.
After wrapping up in thick clothes and gloves and draping my head in some fine mesh under a hat I was ready to tackle the task. Holding the box under the cluster I gave the branch a quick shake and was surprised at the weight of bees that cascaded in. I slapped on the lid and stepped back as the bees buzzed in confusion. Some time passed and slowly they organised themselves and those remaining outside moved in and finally I was able to temporarily block the entrance and carry the whole lot to a more suitable location.
Being a plastic box it is likely they will get a bit humid, especially if they block the vents I created with wax. This was the only box I had available at the time. Perhaps I will improve the situation if I enjoy having them around.
I was told by a neighbor who keeps bees on a hobby scale that the veroa bee mite has reached this area. Veroa is a parasite that eventually destroys the host hive.