No matter where in the world you may live, there is a good chance that you have heard stories in the media about mid-flight insect pest sightings on airplanes. These insect pests range from cockroaches to bed bugs, and just about every airline in the world is guilty of having a few insect-infested planes in their fleet. However, what is not as commonly known is the fact that bees can prevent airline flights from taking-off.
The most recent issue concerning bees at the airport occurred just one week ago at the King Shaka International Airport in Durban, South Africa. Three airline flights were delayed after a swarm of bees that numbered in the thousands settled within one of the aircraft’s engines. According to the airport’s spokesperson, this situation is unprecedented. Three beekeepers were called in to have the nesting bees removed so that the plane could finally take-off for its destination.
Back in August of 2016, a 143 million dollar F-22 raptor, which may be the most advanced fighter jet in the world, grounded temporarily after Air Force personnel discovered what amounted to 20,000 bees hanging from the aircraft’s exhaust pipe. Initially, crew members planned on clearing the bees themselves, but after realizing that honey bees are nearing extinction, they called in a team of beekeepers to have the insects removed. The beekeepers placed all of the bees into several buckets that weighed 8 pounds in total.
Last year, another flight was delayed after passenger and crew members discovered tens of thousands of bees that had been clinging to the side of their aircraft shortly before take-off. According to a witness who had traveled more than 2 million miles by plane, the massive number of bees looked surreal, and he had never seen anything like it before. The bee presence on the runway prevented employees from loading cargo. After a couple of hours, a beekeeper arrived to assess the situation and remove the bees. Unfortunately, the beekeeper was reportedly stung several times. Despite the delay, passengers were understanding of the situation, especially after being given free food and drinks as a gift for having been made to wait.
Do you think that a plane should take off even if part of the aircraft is covered in bees?