Pest management controls the habitat

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Sabrina Fuller
  • 4th Fighter Wing

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. - When you think of the 4th Civil Engineer Squadron pest management flight, what might come to mind is the extermination of cockroaches. However, this flight protects Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, against all kinds of pests such as ants, snakes, bed bugs, spiders and more.

Staff Sgt. Christian Maldonado Bonilla, 4th CES pest management journeyman, recounts a time on the job when he had to terminate a large amount of flies from an underground pipe system.

"I crawled under a tight space and there was no visibility," said Bonilla. "I felt the sand underneath me, and I had to use my elbows to make it through. Once I had time to turn on the light, all the flies swarmed me and underneath me wasn't sand, but maggots."

Pest management Airmen work to ensure no pest related disease, injury or obstruction impact the mission or safety of base personnel.

“It's not a glamorous job and not a lot of people want to do it,” said Bonilla. “But if we don’t do our job, people can get hurt.”

Pest management provides base personnel with protection against pests such as rodents, cockroaches, ants and other wildlife that infiltrates base facilities.

"There are certain diseases that insects carry, which can potentially harm people,” said Bonilla. “We want to make sure people stay comfortable and safe in their space.”

Sanitization is the first step to keeping facilities clean. Allowing Airmen to access chemical-free solutions such as baits, roach stations, mouse and rat traps free-of-charge will help keep them safe from disease and infestation in their dorms.

"We deal with the sanitization issue first – most of the time that is the problem," said Senior Airman Adrianna Goliday, 4th CES pest management journeyman. "Once we get sanitization under control, we monitor the area and if there is still an issue, we use chemicals."

If facilities are not kept pest free, it can endanger the mission.

"Bugs lead to birds, birds lead to foxes and then it goes up the chain," said Goliday. "This leads to bigger issues, which can damage aircraft engines and tires. It also increases foreign object debris on the flight line, which impacts our ability to get planes in the sky."

A preventive and more permanent method of controlling the increasing number of pests is to remove or relocate wildlife before it negatively impacts the mission.

Typically, pest management Airmen exterminate dangerous pests; however, certain wildlife help eliminate unwelcomed wildlife.

“Cats eliminate mice, rats and other insects,” said Goliday. “We use certain wildlife to our advantage since they terminate the undesirable insects and rodents.”

The pest management flight combats disease contracted insects, rabid animals and more. They continue to serve and defend base personnel and facilities from disease and obstruction.

“We help prevent problems from becoming a bigger issue,” said Goliday.