Delta Air Lines plane stuck on tarmac for four hours after huge swarm of BEES latched onto wing, forcing pilot to delay takeoff
- A Delta flight bound for Atlanta was grounded in Houston for hours after a swarm of bees settled on one of the plane’s wings
- Multiple attempts were made to relocate the bees, including calling in a beekeeper and pest control, both of which failed
- Finally, the flight got under way when the captain turned on the engines and the bees flew away
Passengers aboard a Delta Air Lines flight bound for Atlanta were trapped on the tarmac at Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport for four hours after a swarm of bees clung to the plane’s wing, forcing the captain to delay takeoff.
According to the airline, the Airbus A320 was scheduled to depart at 12:25 a.m. on Wednesday, but did not take off until 4:30 p.m. when ground crews tried to find a way to take the bugs with them.
Journalist Anjali Enjeti posted a photo of the epic swarm on Twitter.
“My flight from Houston has been delayed because bees have gathered on the tip of one of the wings. They won’t let us on board until they’ve removed the bees. But how on earth will this happen? Aren’t they going to leave the wing when we take off,” she wrote.
Delta enlisted pest control and later a beekeeper to deal with the swarm, Enjeti said on Twitter. The reporter said the pest controller was not allowed to spray an aircraft and the beekeeper was not allowed to touch aircraft.
Journalist Anjali Enjeti posted this photo of the epic swarm on Twitter
Houston airport ground crew members tried a variety of ways to get the bees moving
Enjeti added that for some reason the fire department was unable to solve the problem.
“I wish you could hear people on the phone trying to explain why our flight is delayed,” she tweeted.
Photos posted by Enjeti showed ground crews talking about ways to get rid of the bees.
The saga ended when the captain simply turned on the engines.
“The whole flight crew has left. Delta decided to give our gate to another flight. As soon as the engine of our plane started, THE BEES LEAVE!!! All Delta had to do was turn on the plane,” Enjeti wrote.
From there, the flight went off without a hitch, with all 92 passengers arriving in Atlanta around 7:30 p.m. local time, the company said. Flight radar.
Delta leaned into the hilarity of the incident in her statement.
Believe it or not, Delta Flight 1682 from Houston-Bush to Atlanta was delayed this afternoon after a friendly group of bees apparently wanted to talk to the winglet of our planes, no doubt to share the latest news on flight conditions at the airport.”
In the end, the captain of the Airbus A320 simply turned on the engines to get the bees moving
A bee expert told KHOU that the insects were probably resting when they arrived on the plane’s wing
“We’ve been told that this type of swarming is rare, but not unheard of and can occur on virtually any outdoor structure in climates/environments where bees are native,” an airline spokesman said. I LOVE.
It’s not clear if the bees could have jammed the mechanisms on the plane’s wings.
Beekeeper Mike Sexton, nicknamed The Bee Man, told KHOU that in the past he has “taken swarms of bees from tugs, planes, concrete walls.”
Sexton said the bees become more active as the weather warms. “Usually they start in the south and move north.”
He said it’s likely the bees were resting when they landed on the Delta wing.
“Whenever swarms of bees start they go and feast on a bunch of honey and the old queen goes off with a bunch of workers so they don’t start eating again until they actually get to a new house, so in the meantime they rest and they keep their energy so they land on everything,” he added.
Coincidentally, at the nearby Sugar Land Regional Airport, located on the outskirts of Houston, beehives are maintained by the staff there on derelict areas of the airport, KHOU reports.
A spokesman for the Houston airport said they are looking into participating in a program initiated by the Federal Aviation Administration to prevent incidents like Wednesday’s.