Friday, August 3, 2012

Huge bee swarm delays Pittsburgh flight - WTAE Pittsburgh

bees swarm plane wing
bees swarm plane wing

Stephen Repasky


A beekeeper had to gather up a swarm of thousands that delayed a Delta Air Lines flight from Pittsburgh International Airport to New York.

Master beekeeper Stephen Repasky said he was called Wednesday when the bees gathered on a wing of the plane as crews were getting ready to fuel the aircraft.

SLIDESHOW: Photos of the huge bee swarm

"When a colony of honeybees swarm, it's nature's way of dividing on a large scale," Repasky said. "So, the old queen takes off with half the colony and they go looking for a new place to set up residence."

Some swarms can contain 25,000 to 30,000 bees. Repasky said he rescued a swarm like that last May.

He was called to remove the bees because they're a protected species that cannot legally be killed.

Repasky said this was his fourth airport call, so it's likely that there is a wild honeybee colony at the airport somewhere.

"On an average year, I'll rescue and relocate 25 to 30 honeybee swarms. This year, I did well over 75, and that was a function of the weather," he said.

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