I had no idea what a huge lump of honey bees was doing on a bare branch with no hive. So I did a little research…
Once a hive has so many bees it has to divide because the workers can no longer receive the queen’s pheromone because of how large the hive has become.
The queen bee ends up abandoning the hive to search for her own new home. Then the drones and workers sort out their issue of finding a new home and a new queen is created from a larvae.
A queen is created from a larvae that is just like the worker bee larvae, except it it chosen by the bees somehow to be fed “Royal Jelly” and she grows much larger than the other females.
I ended up calling the phone number of the hiking trail that I was on to alert them that there was such a mass of bees directly on the path, I didn’t want anyone to get hurt if they accidentally disturbed them by some means. When I checked back later a red tape line had been implemented to block them off and alert the public.
The next day there were only about 15 bees left, which means that they must have gone off to a new home. Safely away from jogging and biking people.