LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A swarm of bees clustered outside the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Medical Center shut down the emergency room Monday, as officials waited for a beekeeper to come vacuum up the 7,000 insects.

Although no one was stung, the Little Rock emergency room still decided to be closed for ambulance traffic.

"We'll take walk-ins, but ambulances are being diverted to other hospitals," UAMS spokeswoman Andrea Peel said.

Doctors did not see any patients with bee stings, but emergency room physician Dr. Delaney Kinchen said it was an important precaution to close the ER while clearing out the bees.

"I've been stung thousands of times and never had any problems, but I know people who've been stung twice and almost died," he said.

Beekeeper Harvey Johnston arrived Monday afternoon to remove the beehive.

"Somewhere around here was a beehive that got overcrowded," he said. "When bees get crowded, (the queen) leaves and takes a portion of the bees with her."

The emergency room reopened shortly after 2 p.m., Peel said.

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