A bee loose in the cabin of a Japan Airlines jet eluded its captors for so long that officials at New Chitose Airport in northern Japan canceled the flight, a newspaper reported Monday.

Ground attendants discovered the bee on board the jet as they were readying it for departure to the central Japanese city of Nagoya, a JAL spokesman said Monday on condition of anonymity.Canceling a flight because of a bee was a first, the spokesman said.

The bee eluded attendants who tried to capture it for such a long period that officials at the airport scrubbed the flight out of fear the bee might cause panic among passengers or an allergic reaction among anyone stung.