BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --
There are numerous factors that can impact the mission in negative ways. Some of those factors can also come in small packages, such as pests. The 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron pest management at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, is the first line of defense when it comes to these types of nuisances.
“The shop prevents pest and disease vectors from adversely impacting military property and operations,” said Airman Patrick Orr, 2nd CES pest management augmentee.
The section deals with a number of insects, rodents, other small wildlife and different types of unwanted vegetation around the base and on the airfield. While dealing with these pests, they must also be aware of the negative effects their job can have on the environment.
"We use the safest method possible by making sure we look at pollution reduction and pesticide and herbicide risks,” Orr said. “We don’t want to automatically go straight to chemicals because of possible pollution or even killing other vegetation.”
Managing and controlling pests isn’t the only aspect of their job. They also act as teachers.
“Education is also a big part of what we do, we teach on the job,” said Airman 1st Class Maurice Clark, 2nd CES pest management journeyman. “When we go out to different locations we explain to people what is happening, we educate them on what they can do to help the situation currently and prevent it in the future.”
The team cannot be everywhere at once, so teaching others builds up a front line defense towards controlling pests. It also allows for a good customer relationship.
The seasons influence on day-to-day operations. The weather conditions bring different jobs, obstacles and tasks for the team.
“Now that it’s getting colder we typically deal with rodents,” Clark said. “The temperature drives them inside looking for shelter. This creates a risk of spreading disease and sometimes also the destruction of work centers.”
To combat the rodent issue the pest management team is promoting some precautions and preventative actions that can be taken during this time.
“Always practice sanitation. Keep your work centers as clean as you can by taking out the trash, making sure all sources of food are put away,” said Clark. “Also look for exclusion areas or possible entrance points. Rodents have collapsible skeletons which means whatever they can fit their head through, their body is also going through.”
For more information contact the Pest Management team at 318-456-1814.