South Africa v Sri Lanka match delayed by swarm of bees, beekeeper's dash to Wanderers saves the day

South Africa v Sri Lanka match delayed by swarm of bees, beekeeper's dash to Wanderers saves the day

South Africa v Sri Lanka match delayed by swarm of bees, beekeeper's dash to Wanderers saves the day

Updated 18 April 2017, 10:30 AEST

A local bee-keeping enthusiast saves the day as a swarm of bees delays an ODI between South Africa and Sri Lanka for an hour mid-match at the Wanderers.

The players had taken evasive manoeuvres. The groundsmen seemed clueless as to what to do. The match delay was now stretching towards the hour mark.

In front of nearly 30,000 people, a swarm of thousands of bees invaded the Wanderers pitch in Johannesburg and brought an abrupt halt to South Africa's 'pink day' ODI against Sri Lanka.

South Africa's fielders, dressed completely in pink in support of breast cancer awareness, as well as Sri Lanka's batsmen and the umpires, were forced to lie flat on their bellies as they waited for the bees to pass.

Except the bees never left. Instead, they congregated menacingly on Proteas wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock's helmet on the turf.

The groundstaff tried all the tricks. Coaxing the hive into a wheelie-bin didn't work, and neither did trying to disperse the stinging bugs with a fire extinguisher.

Some 20 minutes west of the Wanderers, local bee enthusiast Pierre Hefer was watching the action — or lack thereof — unfold on his TV.

When the fire extinguisher came out, Mr Hefer knew he had to act.

Donning his trusty bee-keeping kit — full coverage with white overalls, hat and gumboots — he grabbed his tools and dashed to the cricket ground.

Arriving at the ground dressed head to toe in bee-keeping regalia, security had no problems letting him park his car at the front gate and enter for free as the delay in play stretched on.

"I think they saw me in this outfit, noticed all the equipment and reckoned I must be what I say I am, and with play stopped, they let me in," Mr Hefer said.

"When they took out the fire extinguisher, I knew I had to get down here.

"You see, you might get rid of them for a bit, but they'll come back, I thought they might be able to use my expertise."

Using a home-made hive and his well-honed bee-bossing skills, Mr Hefer successfully captured the bees, prompting rapturous applause from the thousands in attendance.

"Definitely the biggest audience I've worked in front of ... that was my 15 minutes [of fame]," he said.

"When I was watching on TV, and they had surrounded [de Kock's] helmet, I thought it might be as much as 5,000 bees. But when I got here, it looked more like 1,000 to 2,000."

In a similar tradition to Australia's Jane McGrath Day during the Sydney Tests around New Year's Day, South Africa's traditional pink day sees the Proteas don a full pink get-up for an ODI against a touring side.

But Mr Hefer said the pink kit would not have attracted the bees, adding they had likely resettled at the Wanderers before the day's play.

Shockingly, Mr Hefer was not named man of the match. That honour instead went to South Africa's Dwaine Pretorius as his 3-19 helped the hosts to a series-clinching seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka.