That is an entire ball full of bees. Slightly larger than a football. It's a lot of bees.
Now look below at this picture. Looks the same, right?
WRONG. This probably WAS a swarm at one time, but now it is bees building a hive on the outside of a tree. Look at it again. See the white stuff. It's comb. That's the difference.
These bees are building hive on an apple tree. Why? Who knows. If they stay there, they'll die this winter. And when you move them to a hive, they usually don't stay. The shop vac hive.... Gone. I put the above bees in the same hive. I wasn't even going to mess with it, but the man that called yesterday morning was concerned about his grandchildren. It was probably a waste of time. We'll see.
The comb broke the minute I put it in the box to move it.
And I put the branch they were on in front of the hive, after I shook most of them into the hive. Hopefully they will smell the Queen's pheromone and stay near or in this hive.
So when you call someone to get a swarm of bees, now at least YOU know whether it's a swarm of bees or a hive. Swarms usually stay in the hive, they are bigger, and worth the trouble. Hives are not!
And now I'm in a bad mood because Winston (my husband's Welsh Terrier) ran a kitten up a tree and would not stop barking. I know the neighbors just love us when this happens. I chased him around the yard until I couldn't breathe, in my pj's...well you can just imagine how lovely I looked. Thank God we have a privacy fence. And who's kitten in our back yard anyway?