The research was triggered by several safety incidents involving the wasps, including one in which a plane had to land again soon after departing from Brisbane Airport because the pilots recognised an air speed discrepancy in November 2013. This particular type of wasp likes to build its nest in tiny spaces. “It’s not a Mayday emergency but it’s the next level down, and it closes the runways,” said biologist Alan House. As a result of the research, risk-mitigating strategies have been introduced, such as covering pitot probes when aircraft arrive at Brisbane Airport. “Having found its way across the Pacific Ocean, there is no reason to doubt that it could spread to other parts of Australia.