The Medical University's Urban Farm is closed until Monday after five people were stung by bees from its beehive earlier this week.
Susan Johnson, director of health promotion and the farm, said closing the farm is a precautionary measure.
Farm organizers removed the wooden beehive from the farm Tuesday night, she said. They took the hive to Middleton Place, where the bees were to be transferred to a see-through hive. Such hives are educational because they allow people to see bees at work and honey being produced.
Bees usually return to their hives at night, she said, but about 100 of them likely were left behind Tuesday, probably because they were confused by street lights.
On Wednesday morning, a farm worker, a groundskeeper and three passersby were stung by those remaining bees, who likely were agitated when they couldn't find their hive, Johnson said.
Nobody was seriously hurt, she said. But farm workers thought it best to kill the remaining bees and close the farm for a few days.
When professionals analyzed the wooden hive, she said, they found more bees in it than they expected. They also found that the bees were unusually aggressive.
They replaced the queen bee, she said, which likely will make all of the bees in the hive less aggressive.
And when they move the bees into the see-through hive, they will transfer only about half of the bees. Fewer bees also should cut down on aggressiveness.
Johnson said she reported the problem to the university's public safety and risk management departments. "It was the right thing to do," she said.
But neither department had serious concerns, she said.
The new hive should be returned to the farm by the end of the month, she said.
Reach Diane Knich at 843-937-5491 or on Twitter at @dianeknich.
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