Two swarms of bees – or possibly the same swarm twice – kept a plane on the tarmac and delayed an international flight while a beekeeper in a protective suit tackled the problem and captured the queen bee.
The plane affected was an American Airlines flight at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
A swarm of “roughly 1000 bees” delayed the flight for over an hour, NBC News reported. It is not known who was counting.
“We had an issue at Dallas-Fort Worth with a swarm of bees yesterday afternoon, not once, but twice,” American spokeswoman Andrea Huguely told the Dallas Morning News.
She said the bees did not enter the passenger cabin. They concentrated on the cargo bay underneath the plane.
Huguely said the American B767 arrived at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport from Las Vegas and ground crew started to unload baggage when a swarm of bees buzzed onto the scene and gathered under one of the wings.
Unloading the plane stopped immediately while American called in a beekeeper. Passengers on the plane peered out the windows and smartphone pics flashed around social media.
The beekeeper captured the queen, removed the swarm and the plane finished unloading. But the alert wasn’t over. The bees returned.
Whether the captured bees had escaped or a new swarm had arrived is unclear. But soon after the beekeeper departed, a swarm returned to the same plane, which by this time was being loaded to fly to Frankfurt, Germany.
American called back the beekeeper, who repeated the process.
The international flight, AA070, departed for Frankfurt without bees, a little over an hour late.
Written by Peter Needham