‘Snakes on a Plane’ = Movie. Bees on Planes = Serious, Real-Life Problem.

Travel Blog  •  Michael Yessis  •  08.18.06 | 7:07 AM ET

Okay, snakes have been found on planes not carrying Samuel L. Jackson. But bees are becoming a major problem at airports across the United States. “Africanized honey bees—the infamous ‘killer bees’—are increasingly making unscheduled layovers at airports across the Southwest,” writes the Wall Street Journal’s Nick Timiraos. “The aggressive bees, which entered the U.S. from Mexico in the early 1990s, like to travel across open spaces and stop to rest whenever the queen gets tired. Airports have few trees or other natural rest stops. That makes planes, jetways, baggage-loading equipment, terminals and parking garages popular for stopovers.”

Timiraos’s story is filled with horror stories and some insight into what the bees like:

Scents and colors also attract the bees. At an airport, that can lead bees to cluster on a turboprop that’s been recently cleaned with lemon air-freshener. “For whatever reason, they seem to like the smell of jet fuel, and especially the yellow color of the Southwest airplane,” says Judy Alexander, senior director of operations at Tucson International Airport.

Authorities there became proactive in 1995 after a swarm on the outside of the air-traffic control tower led some stragglers into the command center. The problem “had to end there,” says Ms. Alexander. “You just can’t evacuate the tower.” The airport installed traps that emit a bee-attracting pheromone. They capture between 60 and 80 swarms every year.

Yikes. Bees like jet fuel and the color of Southwest planes? They’re going to be everywhere.

Got any ideas how to get these mother&*%$ing bees off these mother&*%$ing planes, Mr. Jackson?

* Related on World Hum
“Snakes on a Plane”: A Brief Hisssstory

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