Monday, May 3, 2010

Protecting the seaplane from insects

Dirt daubers and wasps are my biggest trouble makers.

Both of these guys can crawl into remarkably small holes and build nests. Tbe dirt daubers are generally harmless except for two things. They look a lot like wasps, which to the uninitiated can cause screaming, and they build nests out of mud and clay. Dirt daubers have just a couple of yellow stripes while wasps will have many yellow stripes down their stingers.

There is an unlimited supply of clay around our lake and there is an almost unlimited number of holes for dirt daubers to sneak into your plane to make a nest. These nests are mostly just heavy, thus reducing your payload. Your best bet for protection is to put steel wool in any large openings and put screen over the smaller ones that you can get to. I do an annual purge of the nests after the spring nesting season.

Wasps make a more paper-like nest. These are light and don't really cause much of an issue, but the wasps themselves CAN cause havoc in the cockpit. Many people have severe or even fatal reactions to a wasp sting, so these guys are not to be trifled with. Prevention using the same method as dealing with dirt daubers is your best bet, and if you get a wasp loose in the cockpit, don't panic, just let your training step in and FLY THE PLANE.

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