"The bees were in the area where they load the cargo, putting the employees at risk," American Airlines spokeswoman Alexis Aran Coello told CBS News. "Because the bees were there, they couldn't load the bags. We had to take care of the situation."
Passenger Jonathan Gillinski said the beekeeper was stung several times while attempting to dispel the massive swarm.
"[There] must have been thousands of them," he said. "I've flown over 2 million miles and have experienced almost everything — so I thought!"
Coello said passengers were provided with snacks and drinks while the situation was being handled.
"Obviously, you don't want the bees in the air," she said. "We wanted to get the situation under control as soon as possible. You want to nip it in the bud as soon as you see it."