This looks like maybe 1 1/2 cups of bees - tiny swarm. It's probably a secondary swarm with a virgin queen. So I decided that I would try to capture them and brushed them into my swarm box, topping them with a ventilated hive top. But many of them flew right back to the hive front.
I brushed again and this time, the bees started signaling that the queen was in the swarm box.
I held the swarm box up to the side of the hive and the bees systematically moved into the box.
So I carried this teacup swarm over to a waiting hive box and shook them in. In minutes the queen had led them all back to the swarm box. So now, I turned the swarm box upside down over the open topped hive box. I didn't take a photo, but the bees found their way out of the box and many flew back to the hive box.
This time, I brushed them into a cardboard nuc box and turned the nuc box on its side in front of the hive, assuming that the queen was in the upside down swarm box. I left it overnight.
The next morning all the bees were clumped in the inside corner of the cardboard nuc box. OK, your highness, I thought. My hive box isn't good enough for you...and you and your retinue are in the cardboard nuc so I'll just add frames and let you settle in there.
So I did just that - put five frames into the nuc box and put the top on it. I opened the entry and set it on top of the hive box I wanted them to live in and left them overnight.
I could see bees flying in and out of the entry - some went down into the hive box and some into the nuc box. I covered what had been covered with a hive drape with the inner cover. I thought, maybe now I've convinced the queen that this is a good place.
But this morning there was a swirling of bees. Not huge because she is not leading a huge swarm - just about 1 1/2 cups of bees - but she persisted nevertheless and the tiny group was taking off.
I waved "Bye" and wished her well. I hope they find a home they like better than my apiary.
PS, for a tiny in-joke, as I posted this, Blogger noted that this is my 1300th post and it's funny to me that having kept up this blog for twelve years, the 1300th post is titled "Nevertheless, she persisted!"