Bee swarm on Arizona's Chase Field delays start of Dodgers-Diamondbacks game

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Wednesday, May 1, 2024
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PHOENIX -- A swarm of bees created quite a baseball buzzkill in the desert -- until a local beekeeper rode in on a cart from the outfield.

The start of Tuesday night's game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks was delayed after a bee colony swarmed the top of the protective netting directly behind home plate.

Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts met with the umpires shortly after the delay began and the public address announcer told the crowd about the delay.

A swarm of bees gather on the net behind home plate, delaying the start of the game between the Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks, April 30, 2024, in Phoenix.
AP Photo/Matt York

A grounds crew member wheeled out a scissor lift after about 20 minutes, then waited for a beekeeper to arrive as fans in the sections behind home plate were cleared out for safety.

The beekeeper, Matt Hilton, arrived about 70 minutes after the scheduled first pitch and pumped up the already-cheering crowd as he rode in on a cart from right field. The beekeeper suited up then rose up toward the swarm, causing more cheers.

With another quick wave to pump up the crowd, he stunned the bees with spray and started sucking them up with a shop vac, hitting the last few stranglers with more spray before heading down. The crowd cheered again and the beekeeper pumped his fist as he lowered back onto the field.

The delay lasted nearly 90 minutes and the players were given 30 minutes to loosen back up before first pitch. The Diamondbacks switched starting pitchers after the delay, from Jordan Montgomery to Brandon Hughes.

Hilton later threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Bee swarms are common during the spring in Arizona and have caused numerous spring training delays through the years. A bee swarm also caused a lengthy delay in a match between Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, last month.

Chase Field has a retractable roof, but it was open for Tuesday's game.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.