If a commercial passenger airliner were to land in a place infested with insects or arachnids, wouldn't it be dangerous to have those animals enter the aircraft?

For example, suppose if mosquitoes, bees, or spiders were to enter the cockpit, wouldn't that be a huge distraction for the pilots? Wouldn't that potentially compromise the safety of the passengers?

The main questions are:

  1. Are there established methods/protocols/regulations for ridding aircraft of potentially dangerous insects?

  2. If so, what are they?

(Note: I am new to all of this. A thought occurred to me that mosquitoes onboard aircraft could potentially endanger the passengers onboard).

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ In 44 years of flying I have never heard of this being a problem. You keep doors and hatches closed when they don't need to be open and if necessary you go through the cockpit and cabin to check if necessary. $\endgroup$ Commented May 17, 2019 at 8:19
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Insects can be a problem, see this question. $\endgroup$
    – Bianfable
    Commented May 17, 2019 at 8:21
  • $\begingroup$ @JuanJimenez surely you have heard of en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birgenair_Flight_301 ? the op's question might be narrow if its list of potential problems, but insect absolutely are an issue. $\endgroup$ Commented May 17, 2019 at 9:35
  • $\begingroup$ @AEhere That link is irrelevant to your question. The wasps in that case entered the pitot tube and not the cabin or cockpit, because the pitot covers were not installed while the aircraft sat on the ramp for two days. An airliner's pitot-static system doesn't vent into the cabin or cockpit -- the exit points are the static ports on the outside. Perhaps you want to edit the question to take that into consideration. $\endgroup$ Commented May 17, 2019 at 10:51

2 Answers 2


Like anywhere else, they only become a problem if they affect safety. That is why things like pitot probes and static ports are covered to prevent insects like mud-daubers' from building their homes inside. Depending on the area it could only apply if the aircraft is not flying for x amount of time but in areas where these insects are very active it could be required for shorter transits. The recent Malaysia Airlines case (Brisbane, Aust) where the pitot-cover was not removed before flight was a case where the covers were place for a short transit because of these insect activity.

If the destination country has laws in place where the entry of non local insects is not tolerated they may require the airline to spray the holds before departure. I remember doing this for flights to Australia. We had cans with a 'lock' trigger (continues to spray without finger pressure) which we would activate and leave in the holds before closing the doors. It was important to notify the crews beforehand as the mist could activate the smoke detectors.


Insects aren't the main problem. A few mosquitoes aren't a major safety hazard, and it's hard to miss a beehive in your plane. The main issue are rodents like mice, snakes and lizards. Rats and mice are particularly known to chew on wires, an issue commonly faced in cars.

The main prevention is to close all doors and hatches as soon as possible after use and to ensure galleys are emptied and the aircraft clean of food after landing.

However, when there is an infestation, the aircraft can be sealed and fumigated. Airbus has a fumigation procedure in the AMM using methyl bromide or CO2. The procedure is actually easier than fumigating a house since aircraft are naturally airtight. A special fitting over the outflow valve is used and a specified volume of the gas is pumped in. The aircraft sits, and then is ventilated.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .