Having looked up Somerset Beekeepers to see what should be done, I find that this is apparently the transition stage where they regroup before going off to find a new home - somewhere dark such as under roof tiles or in chimneys. Please bees, not our chimney or our roof. Somewhere else would be much nicer for you, honest!
According to the website they stay in this transition place for anything from 5 to 25 minutes-ish (but they're still there at the moment) ... but they have changed from 2 swarms to one. It said they would split into 2 or 3, so I'm not sure what's going to happen next. But this is how they looked when I started to write this post.
So, until they've located their new home we're sweltering indoors with all the windows shut, so that they don't take up squatters' rights and evict us!
Update: What I didn't say was that this tree is in Mum's garden, which meant she couldn't do her usual afternoon's gardening. They're not dangerous when they're homeless (according to the website information mentioned above) but they are just a little too close for comfort! It's almost 6 o'clock and they're still in situ and look as if they're settled for the night. Hmmm!
Update 2: So, it's not what you know, it's who you know ... I was catching up with Liz earlier to see how she'd got on at Dairy House yesterday while we were at a wedding, and she said the girl who works for her keeps bees. Anyway, Paula phoned me with the number of a beekeeper in Somerton who lives just round the corner, and has just been to collect them ... in the rain ... at 8.30 this evening. This is how they do it ...
Apologies for the blurred photos - it was raining and he was moving all the time. What a nice man!! Although he says some were so snuggled up in the pines that he couldn't get them all. He thinks they'll just disperse over the next day or so. Hope so. He was impressed with the size of the swarm and it was much bigger than he was expecting. With luck they'll provide him with plenty of honey. If you enlarge the photos you should be able to see them buzzing round the box. Amazing. He showed me his gloves covered in stings when he'd finished. Me? I'm itching like mad now ... well, wouldn't you?!!!