IMPERIAL, Pa. - A beekeeper says he had to be called into gather up a swarm of thousands of bees that delayed a Delta Air Lines flight from Pittsburgh International Airport to New York.

Master beekeeper Stephen Repasky tells KDKA-TV he was called out on Wednesday when the bees gathered on the wing of the plan as crews were getting ready to fuel the plane.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Repasky says such swarms form when colonies become too large and the queen leaves half of her bees behind to find a new home. Some swarms can contain 25,000 to 30,000 bees.

Repasky says it's likely there's a wild honeybee colony at the airport somewhere.

The beekeeper was called to remove the insects because they're a protected species that cannot legally be killed.