Wild wasps have become a serious threat to aviation

Civil aviation may face another safety issue. This time we are talking about the wasps Pachodynerus nasidens, who prefer to build nests in man-made voids - for example, in electrical outlets and keyholes. According to research published Wednesday in the journal PLOS, over 39 months at the Brisbane airport (Australia), 93 cases of complete blocking of Pitot sensors responsible for measuring static and dynamic air pressure were recorded.

The interaction between aircraft and wildlife is pervasive and complex, often with serious consequences. A typical example is the collision of aircraft with flocks of birds. However, if birds can still be scared away with the help of various technical means, then the situation with wasps is much more complicated.

As it happened before, the reason was the activity of a person invading the habitats of insects. If earlier wasps built their nests, as a rule, in tree hollows and natural crevices, now they are actively mastering window cracks, electrical outlets and other similar shelters.

Researchers in Brisbane took advantage of 3D printing technology to create several replicas of pitot sensors, which were then installed at four points in the airport.

Soon all of them were occupied by "key" wasps, while the peak of nesting was in the summer period at temperatures from 24 to 31 ° C, and the most "popular" among them were sensors (which are in the form of tubes) with holes more than 3 mm in diameter ... The concentration of nests also depended on the presence of grassy areas within a 1 km radius.

According to research author Alan House and colleagues at Eco Logical Australia, this behavior of Pachodynerus nasidens poses a significant safety concern that will require an appropriate insect control strategy.