Success in BNE wasp reduction

Since the discovery of the hazard posed by keyhole wasps to the pitot tubes feeding data to the instruments of aircraft, Brisbane Airport Corporation has achieved major success in reducing numbers of the invasive species. 

Through the implementation of a science-based Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) program, BNE has seen a: 

- 64% reduction in wasp activity at the Domestic and International terminals after treatment 
- 94% reduction in wasp food sources 

The species was identified in Brisbane in 2010, but it is an issue impacting airports around the world. 

BNE has conducted detailed research on the species giving the aviation industry a thorough understanding of the risks mud nesting wasps pose to safe aircraft operations. As a result, Brisbane Airport has proactively implemented a range of mitigation measures. Brisbane based research has also assisted Honolulu Airport and authorities in Fiji and PNG. 

“The research into these wasps being done by Brisbane Airport is helping airports around the world. We’ve also suggested to aircraft manufacturers they investigate design changes to make components less attractive to nesting wasps,” according to Peter Dunlop, Head of Airside Operations at Brisbane Airport Corporation. 

BNE has proactively shared information to support the ATSB into a current investigation, after pitot probe covers were left on an Airbus which was preparing to depart in May. Thankfully a refueller alerted an engineer, and the covers were removed before flight, without incident. An aircraft being cleared to commence taxiing with all pitot probe covers fitted is a serious safety event. This investigation continues.