On Tuesday a swarm of flying insects descended on Hobart airport, Tasmania, halting operations.

Like a biblical plague, the insects arrived en masse just after 4pm, delaying a Melbourne bound Qantas service on the runway.

Speaking to Travel Weekly, a spokesperson for Hobart Airport said a replacement aircraft was arranged to take passengers on to Melbourne and the grounded plane was inspected following the incident.

Unfortunately passenger Melissa Sweet could not get close enough to work out what kind of insects they were, only that it "wasn't that dramatic."


Another passenger and travel blogger Where Next Dad? posted an image to Facebook claiming his plane had been held up by a "swarm of flying ants".

While it is rare for such a swarm to cause such disruption, it is not unheard of.

The plane's pilot said it was only the second time he'd seen such a thing in 25 years, according to passenger Melissa Sweet – who was on the grounded QF 1016 service.

While neither Qantas nor the airport clarified the type of insect involved in the incident, the Tasmanian city has frequently been subjected to swarming bees.

So updates... ha! Well... can you believe it but a swarm of flying ants stopped the intrepid explorers before they even...

Posted by Where Next Dad? - Adventures with my daughters on Tuesday, 16 April 2019

In December a swarm of bees caused alarm in central Hobart, attaching themselves to a street sign on Bathurst Street.

They were eventually removed by the city council.

It is understood a majority of the bees came from an apiary course at the local TasTAFE. They were returned whence they came.

Tasmania has a long tradition of beekeeping, with some Tasmanian apiary groups claiming they were producing Manuka honey long before New Zealanders.


Tasmanian Beekeepers Association president Lindsay Bourke told ABC is not unusual to see bee swarms in cities.

Airports tend to be bee-free, however in 2017 a plane load of passengers were trapped on a plane for 90 minutes.

Flight QG 885 was swarmed by bees shortly after arriving at Kualanamu International Airport.

The trapped passengers were only able to disembark after fire crews cleared the insects from the plane wing.