Bees stop play at Indian Wells

Carlos Alcaraz being treated for bee stings.

Carlos Alcaraz being treated for bee stings. Credit; BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells

The score stood at 1-1 on court one at Indian Wells, California, when the umpire yelled at Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev to leave the court.

“It’s very dangerous!” said Swedish umpire Mohamed Layani, in Spanish.

They were in the grip of a “bee invasion”.

A very dangerous situation

Thousands of the insects had been circling the court for some time during the quarter final and could be seen swarming the overhead spider camera.

It was the first time that bees had stopped play at the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament.

This unusual event nevertheless recalled a similar invasion on the first day of the WTA 1000 event in Guadalajara in 2022, when the match between Petra Kvitova and Bernarda Para was delayed while a beekeeper dealt with a swarm of bees attached to the umpire’s chair.

Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz gamely tried to dodge the critters while swatting them away and was stung on the forehead and neck.

Players and ballboys run for cover.

The umpire said it was too dangerous to remain on court, so the players and ballboys ran for cover, although the spectators were not asked to leave.

Beekeeper sent for.

Local bee expert Lance Davies was called in to try and solve the problem.

While the crowd waited, they were entertained by the quarter final match between Coco Gauff and Yuan Yue being shown on the giant scoreboards.

After about an hour, beekeeper Lance Davies arrived.

He was not wearing any protective clothing, other than wrap-around sunglasses.

Mr Davies vacuumed up the bees which were swarming the spider camera, to safely deposit them in another part of the building. According to APT, he then transferred them to a cage, which was transported away from the stadium to be deposited in one of the beekeeper’s own hives.

Players returned

The players returned to the court to resume play, but the saga was not over, as there were still some bees flying around.

Beekeeper returned

The beekeeper came back on court with a spray bottle, to the enthusiastic cheers of the crowd. Some people began to shake his hand and others took selfies with him.

Mr Davies vacuumed more bees off the spider camera and shooed them off the scoreboard with his spray bottle.


Carlos Alcaraz goes on to victory

The delay lasted an hour and 48 minutes, considerably longer than the match itself.

Carlos Alcaraz went on to win the match 6-3, 6-1.

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Written by

Annette Christmas

Annie Christmas loves language and communication. A long-time resident of Mallorca, she enjoys an outdoor life of cycling, horse riding and mountain walking, as well as the wealth of concerts and cultural events on the island. She also plays fiddle in a traditional Mallorcan dance troupe.