Bees in My Basement

Beginning late last summer, on a daily basis, I began to find anywhere between 5 and 15 honeybees buzzing around the window of the door on the landing to my basement. The bees would usually seem somewhat lethargic and weak, and often I would find bee corpses as well. They didn’t really bother me much, but they freaked out my wife, so I would usually kill them, only to find a similar number of bees in the same spot the next day. Also, on occasion, I would find a bee or two in the basement proper.

I inspected the walls of the house, the surrounding ground, and the attic pretty carefully, looking for their entry point, but didn’t find anything. I suspected that I had a hive in the wall, with a main entrance leading outdoors, and that these were just unfortunate bees that had somehow found an alternate exit leading to the basement, but I never found any sign of the hive. After just a few weeks, when fall arrived, the bees stopped showing up.

I expected that they’d be back in the spring, but they haven’t returned. I am perplexed and curious. Where did these bees come from? Should I assume that there was a hive that’s gone now? Did it die over the winter, or was it perhaps abandoned? Or were my visiting bees caused by something else? Is there some well known honeybee behavior that would account for my experience?