A beekeeper had to be called out to a domestic fixture in Ireland today (June 7) after a swarm settled on the fence surrounding the playing field, causing an almost two-hour delay.

The swarm, which contained around 20,000 insects, crossed over the pitch during the 11th over of the match between Munster Reds and Northern Knights in the Cricket Ireland Inter-Provincial Trophy in Mardyke in Cork. All of the players on the field, along with the umpires, hit the deck to avoid the insects as they passed over.

However, the bees seemed to take a liking to their surroundings as they flew towards the pavilion and around the side of the club house, eventually settling on the fence in front of the dressing rooms. With the continued presence of the bees meaning it was too dangerous to continue, given the ball could hit the hive and cause the bees to attack those around them, play was suspended.

The club contacted a local beekeeper and, 40 minutes later Mauro Dias from Buzz of Nature (bee rescue specialists) arrived to save the match. He managed to secure the Queen quickly, before waiting for the rest of her family to join her. It took half an hour before all the bees were safely in the keeper’s box, and Dias could safely transport them away.

An hour and a half after play was interrupted by the bizarre incident, the match could get going again, with Reds 91-2. The match was reduced to a 12 overs a side clash, meaning there were just eight balls left for the Munster batters to face. Having been on 11 off seven balls before the break, Connor Fletcher was bowled by Matthew Humphreys off the first ball of the resumption.

Two more wickets in the next over meant that Northern Knights were set 107 to get in their 12 overs.

While undoubtedly unusual, it’s not unheard of for cricket matches to be interrupted by swarms of bees. In May last year, a County Championship game between Leicestershire and Sussex was interrupted as a colony of bees forced those on the field to take cover. In 2021, a Plunket Shield match between Wellington and Canterbury was also stopped briefly to avoid the insects.

Beekeepers have also previously been called out to solve such incidents. During an ODI between South Africa and Sri Lanka at Johannesburg in 2017, keepers were called out to the Wanderers to deal with an aggressive swarm who had settled around a player’s discarded helmet.