ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. --
Uninvited and unwelcome, rodents and insects tip-toe through the cracks and into the everyday lives of the base populous. Thankfully there are select individuals ready to rid these pests.
From the smallest ants and spiders, to the stealthiest of raccoons and foxes, these nuisance are forever present, lurking behind the scenes. Unfortunately for them, this is where the 28th Civil Engineer Squadron pest managers stand watch.
“Our mission is to protect flight line personnel and eliminate the disease vector,” said Senior Airman Terrell Jackson, a pest management journeyman assigned to the 28th CES. “We spray the weeds and set traps to catch animals before they can hinder the mission.”
With these creatures on the prowl, pest management must stay on their toes, equipped and ready for anything. To ensure the B-1 mission is not hindered by something as small as a rabbit in the middle of the runway.
“The animals don’t get on the flight line often because of the first line of defense [traps], and that’s if they pass the perimeter gate,” Jackson said. “We have [the traps] strategically placed in areas where we have seen the most animal activity, and they work extremely well.”
Though it takes considerable effort to keep the flight line secured, they have more to accomplish. Pest management makes what they call house calls, consisting of taking calls from the many facilities on the base and exterminating the problem, whether it’s ants, mice or snakes.
“Spring through late fall is chaotic, and we are always occupied,” said Airman 1st Class Davin Pitts, a pest management apprentice assigned to the 28th CES. “The challenging part is knowing exactly what needs [to be] done. Pretty soon we’ll start dealing with rattlesnakes, so staying prepared is always important.”
For a wide array of pests the shop has to facilitate, they have an equally vast selection of tools to choose from to correct the problem.
“We use mouse traps, live traps baited usually with meat and bird traps in buildings where we can’t use our air rifles,” Jackson explained. “For things like ants we use things like a Hudson one gallon sprayer. These aren’t permanent solutions, nothing is because the pests will always come back, but they are great measures to prevent them coming back for some time.”
Above all, sanitation is the key and best tool to use. According to pest management, the number one thing that will help prevent pests from invading is proper sanitation.
“If you see ants, mice or snakes give us a call,” Pitts said. “We are here for the base and its people if there’s something that has to do with pest management let us know at 605-385-2521, and we will take care of the problem.”