Despite Australia’s advanced biosecurity controls a new, tiny immigrant insect is threatening the safety of planes at the Brisbane Airport.
The keyhole wasp is from Central and South America and also the Caribbean. The little wasp first caused issues at the airport in 2013. Wasps forced a Etihad Airways A330 headed for Singapore to come back to Brisbane just minutes into its flight.
Once grounded, maintenance workers found that the pilot’s pitot tube was blocked by mud. This is the tool they use to measure airspeed.
For the keyhole wasp this kind of cavity is a perfect place to build a nest. In the latter case the plane was only on the tarmac for a few hours and in that time the wasps completely blocked the instrument.
According to workers currently servicing planes on the tarmac in Brisbane, within in minutes of planes landing keyhole wasps are seen flying around the probes.
Experts warn that if something isn’t done, the keyhole wasps could easily spread to other Australian airports.