Footballers in Zambia had to deal with a very special kind of pitch invasion as a swarm of bees interrupted the clash between rival clubs for half an hour.
Footage by Zambian media shows players and staff of both teams running away from the insects before lying down to protect themselves from getting stung.
The swarm gathered on a black backpack placed on the running track that encircles the pitch at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in the city of Ndola before eventually moving on.
No one was injured in the 30-minute incident, according to a statement by visiting team, Forest Rangers Football Club. The Zambia Super League clash with their city rivals, ZESCO United Football Club, ended in a goalless draw.
Swarming is a natural process in the life of a honeybee colony, according to Professor Emeritus Donald Lewis from Iowa State University in Ames in the United States.
Prof Lewis explained: “Swarming occurs when a large group of honeybees leaves an established colony and flies off to establish a new colony, essentially creating two from one.”
The activity is a response to crowding, he added.
The entomologist said: “Clusters usually remain stationary for an hour to a few days, depending on the weather and the time needed to find a new nest site by scouting bees.”
He pointed out that swarms usually posed no danger to humans.
Bees are unlikely to sting unless provoked if they are located far away from their offspring and food stores, Prof Lewis explained.
He concluded: “Swarms are temporary and the bees will move on if you patiently ignore them. Stay back and keep others away from the swarm, but feel free to admire and appreciate the bees from a safe distance.”