Many airports have hidden dangers in places where flight crews and flight line technicians should be attentive.
Warm weather conditions can cause insects, spiders, and reptiles to emerge in unexpected places.
Caution should be utilized when performing a pre-flight walk-around, maintenance operations, or other duties.
Taking a moment to look before you reach will help avoid painful stings, bites, and unexpected encounters. It is also wise to be aware of favorable habitats for insects, spiders, and snakes before extending your hand into dark corners or holes. A flashlight or reflective mirror can be used for this purpose.
Bee Swarms -Honey bees have caused concern in some due to their aggressive behavior and the uncanny ability bees have to nest almost anywhere.
Flight crews and technicians should pay attention if bees are seen flying fast and straight into and out of any
object or area. This behavior is an indication that a colony is nearby.
Due to the dangerous amount of stings a swarm of bees can inflict it is best to avoid them. Honey bees have been known to attack animals or humans up to 40 yards away from their colony. If a bee swarm is discovered, and they are in a location dangerous to humans, a professional bee handler or pest control service should be contacted as soon as possible.
Hornets and Wasps -Solitary hornets and wasps in buildings or around aircraft are usually a nuisance only. However, daily sighting of these insects in high traffic areas may indicate a nest exists or is in the process of being built nearby. This can be a risk to hyper allergic individuals who are sensitive to bee or wasp stings.
Removing food sources such as open garbage cans, open food containers, and open drink containers is a good practice to keep hornets and wasps away. Check the building occasionally for unsealed vents, torn screens, cracks around windows and door frames.
It is easy to observe the flight path of these insects especially in the morning, which may reveal an entry/exit
point. A professional pest controller should be contacted if the nest is large, hidden in a wall, or is located in an underground location, due to difficulty in removing the nests.
Once the nest is removed, it is important to seal the entry/exit point to prevent a future re-infestation.
Spider - Venomous spiders such as black widow and brown recluse can be found anywhere in warm dark places both indoors and outdoors. The hollow spaces inside a set of rubber airplane wheel chocks are a perfect example. Storage items such as shelves, boxes, trash cans, aircraft jacks, or support tools can be homes for spiders if left undisturbed for long periods of time.
Storage items such as shelves, boxes, trash cans, aircraft jacks, or support tools can be homes for spiders if left undisturbed for long periods of time.
Use care when working with items that have been stored for long periods of time. If you have clothing items such as gloves, coveralls, boots, or clothing items in storage it is a good practice to seal these items in plastic bags to keep spiders out. If the clothing is not stored in bags it is a good idea to shake the clothing before putting it on.
The best deterrent is clean these areas regularly. Cleaning disturbs environments and spiders prefer to live in spaces that are left undisturbed. When working in areas where there is a likely spider infestation, wear long sleeves, pants, socks, and gloves as desired.
Snakes - Snakes can sometimes show up in odd places in hangars, around airplane landing gear tires and chocks and even inside aircraft. Most likely a snake found this way is seeking food, warmth, or protective cover from birds of prey. The practice of taking a moment to look before you reach will avoid an unexpected encounter or a potential injury from a snake bite.
If you discover a snake, it is best to slowly move away to a safe distance. Keep in mind that a snake will usually attempt to flee toward the nearest cover rather than remaining in sight of humans.
Snakes play an important ecological role and need to be treated with respect. Killing a snake puts personnel
unnecessary at risk. Statistics show that people who are attempting to handle, harm, or kill snakes are the most likely victims of a snake bite. Keeping grass short by frequent mowing and removing brush piles or debris is a good habit to keep snakes away from hangars and tarm.