Mango Airlines confirmed that two of the beekeepers were called to the scene to safely remove the swarm.
A total of three flights out of South Africa’s King Shaka International Airport were delayed on Wednesday after thousands of bees made a temporary home in an aircraft engine.
Mango Airlines confirmed on Twitter that two of the beekeepers were called to the airport, which is located in the city of Durban, to remove the bees after they began swarming the plane.
Two beekeepers were removing a swarm of bees that had started building a nest in the engine of one of our aircraft in Durban on Sunday. This unfortunately meant a delay in three of our scheduled flights. The bees were safely removed.#flymango pic.twitter.com/XbzSNLALZV
— Mango Airlines (@FlyMangoSA) September 26, 2018
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“I’ve certainly never seen anything like it in my eight years in the aviation industry,”Mango Airlines representative Sergio dos Santos told South Africa News24, adding that the bees nestled in the engine within a span of just 25 minutes.
The beekeepers were called to the scene, a company called Bee C, were able to safely disperse the swarm, but it turned out that the “ground control was frantic” during the process.
“They wanted us to do it as quickly as possible because the flight is delayed,” said A Bee C’s, melvyn Dawson, who estimated the swarm consists of approximately 20,000 bees.
“We have encountered unusual bee removals, but this was a first for me.”
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Dawson added in an interview with Jacaranda FM because of the removal of the site was at the airport, neither he nor his partner were allowed to make use of a smoker to spread and the swarm, and instead do it with a palm leaf.
The bees were collected and later brought to the house of a bee-removal specialist, who then distribute it to the beekeepers and macadamia farms.
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A representative of the South African Bee Industry Association is of the opinion that the bees used only in the aircraft engine as a waypoint and route to a more suitable nesting area, because something as “greasy, smelly, and hot” the motor is not what bees usually prefer.
“Bees prefer secluded wood cavities,” he told News24. “This is very unusual.”