Case Study

How We’re Protecting Brisbane Airport From Pest Related Aircraft Failures


As Australia’s leading pest control company, Flick created a solution to stop wasps from nesting in crucial aircraft components.

This is illustrated through the successful implementation of an integrated pest management system which harnesses digital monitoring alongside traditional pest control methods to significantly reduce wasp activity.

The Challenge

The keyhole wasp is an introduced species to Australia and Brisbane Airport was experiencing keyhole wasps building nests in Pitot tubes of aircrafts.

The Pitot tube is a crucial instrument on the fuselage, that tells pilots how fast they are flying. Keyhole wasps favour the Pitot tube for nesting, as they it is small enough to be covered by mud and large enough for wasp larvae.

The Solution

Our technicians observed that the keyhole wasp would deposit a caterpillar in the nest as food for the larvae before laying eggs and sealing the nest. Therefore, by eliminating caterpillars, the primary food source, our technicians could reduce levels of wasp activity.

An insecticide based on a South American plant was found to be effective at eliminating caterpillars and was sprayed by technicians around key areas of the airport and aircraft. The insecticide would only affect certain insects, with little impact to mammals and low toxicity to birds, fish and bees.

In addition, Flick installed SMART Digital Pest Control. The SMART Sense Moth monitoring device capture moths, the adult form of the caterpillar, and assisting in compare insect population data in treated areas against untreated areas.

The Result

Through monitoring, it was confirmed that eliminating caterpillars led to a 64% decrease in wasp nests. The integrated wasp control method can now serve as a model combat similar pest issues for other airports.

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