And now for something you never, ever want to read on the scoreboard at a baseball game:
The start of Monday afternoon’s Reds-Giants game in Cincinnati was delayed for about 20 minutes because a swarm of bees decided to set up shop near home plate at Great American Ball Park, eventually moving into the stands.
“There must be a hive somewhere in the ballpark,” Matt Birkley, a beekeeper, told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “It could be inside of a big hollow pipe or a wall or some kind of space like that. They swarm because the hive gets overcrowded. They will create a new queen then the old queen leaves the hive with about half of the worker bees.
“They all leave at one time that’s why you see them swarming like that. At some point, the queen will land and the rest of the bees will form a big ball around her to protect her. Scout bees will then go and look for a new place to live. Once they find an appropriate home, they will relay the location to the rest of the bees in the swarm. Then again they will all leave at about the same time and go find the new home. My best advice is to just leave them alone and they will disperse on their own. This time of year is definitely swarm season for honeybees.”
Reds second baseman Derek Dietrich got the day off from playing but was drafted into beekeeping duty.
Oddly enough, this isn’t the first time a Reds-Giants game in Cincinnati has been bee-sieged by the stinging insects. As detailed by an Associated Press report, in 1976 a swarm estimated at between 5,000 and 10,000 bees “took up residence” in the San Francisco dugout during an April game at Riverfront Stadium, forcing a 35-minute delay. Several Giants were stung before two heroic Reds fans stepped in.
“Two fans quelled the furor by removing the queen bee by hand from the swarm which covered the microphone above the dugout,” the AP reported. “The queen bee was placed into [a] makeshift cardboard beehive, and quickly was joined by her swarming workers.
“Walter Howard, a 26‐year old owner of a Cincinnati extermination firm, and Floyd Hastings, a bank auditor from Fort Wright, Ky., with a beekeeping background saved the day. Their efforts produced a standing ovation from the crowd. Hastings was stung eight to 10 times as he scooped the bees with his bare hands into the hive.”
Monday’s swarm also was the second time an MLB game was delayed by bees this season. In early April, an Angels-Rangers game in Anaheim, Calif., was delayed in the fifth inning when a swarm swooped down into Angel Stadium.
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