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Best of the pest: Barksdale pest management gears up for summer

Airman 1st Class Alberto Montesino, a 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron pest management apprentice, deploys a mosquito fogger at Barksdale Air Force Base, June 25, 2019. The 2nd CES pest management shop regularly uses the fogger for mosquitoes, as well as tests for mosquito-borne diseases such as the West Nile virus and the Zika virus. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Airman 1st Class Alberto Montesino, a 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron pest management apprentice, deploys a mosquito fogger at Barksdale Air Force Base, June 25, 2019. The 2nd CES pest management shop regularly uses the fogger for mosquitoes, as well as tests for mosquito-borne diseases such as the West Nile virus and the Zika virus. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jacob B. Wrightsman)

A box of rat traps sit in the 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron pest management shop at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, June 25, 2019. The 2nd CES pest management shop manages pest in order to prevent the spread of animal-borne illnesses. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jacob B. Wrightsman)

A box of rat traps sit in the 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron pest management shop at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, June 25, 2019. The 2nd CES pest management shop manages pest in order to prevent the spread of animal-borne illnesses. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Airman 1st Class Alberto Montesino, a 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron pest management apprentice, wears a bee suit after dealing with a colony of bees at the 2nd Bomb Wing Headquarters Building at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, June 6, 2019.  The 2nd CES pest management shop relocates bees by capturing the queen bee and taking her to a new location where the rest of the colony will follow. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Airman 1st Class Alberto Montesino, a 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron pest management apprentice, wears a bee suit after dealing with a colony of bees at the 2nd Bomb Wing Headquarters Building at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, June 6, 2019. The 2nd CES pest management shop relocates bees by capturing the queen bee and taking her to a new location where the rest of the colony will follow. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Airman 1st Class Alberto Montesino, a 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron pest management apprentice, turns on a mosquito fogger at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, June 25, 2019. Along with fogging mosquitoes, pest management also conducts standing water surveys to find and deal with possible mosquito breeding grounds. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Airman 1st Class Alberto Montesino, a 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron pest management apprentice, turns on a mosquito fogger at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, June 25, 2019. Along with fogging mosquitoes, pest management also conducts standing water surveys to find and deal with possible mosquito breeding grounds. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Staff Sgt. Christopher T. Cooper, 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron pest management journeyman, and Airman 1st Class Alberto Montesino (right), a 2nd CES pest management apprentice, set a skunk trap at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, June 6, 2019. Dealing with pests ranging from mosquitoes to wild dogs, the 2nd CES Ppest Mmanagement shop works to ensure no disease, injury or obstruction can hinder the safety of the mission, Airmen and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Staff Sgt. Christopher T. Cooper, 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron pest management journeyman, and Airman 1st Class Alberto Montesino (right), a 2nd CES pest management apprentice, set a skunk trap at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, June 6, 2019. Dealing with pests ranging from mosquitoes to wild dogs, the 2nd CES Ppest Mmanagement shop works to ensure no disease, injury or obstruction can hinder the safety of the mission, Airmen and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jacob B. Wrightsman)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --

As another blistering Louisiana summer comes into full effect, the 2nd Civil Engineer Squadron pest management shop gears up to handle the unique pest issues that accompany the heat and humidity of Northwestern Louisiana.

Dealing with a variety of nuisances ranging from mosquitoes to wild dogs, the 2nd CES pest management shop works to ensure no disease, injury or obstruction can hinder the safety of the mission, Airmen and their families.

“A lot of people think our job is just about killing,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher T. Cooper, 2nd CES pest control journeyman. “But our job is really to protect our people and our flight line.”

With a multitude of critters native to the Shreveport-Bossier area, preventing the spread of disease and animal-borne illnesses are a major concern for the shop.

“We do disease vector control, that’s pretty much our number one priority,” Cooper said. “This ranges from going out and fogging for mosquitoes all the way up to rabies control which can involve animals such as wild dogs, raccoons and coyotes.”

Along with disease containment, the shop also maintains the security of the airfield from any possible pest obstruction.

“We handle everything from weeds to ensure airfield lighting is still visible, to insects,” Cooper said. “Insects tend to cause a chain of events because when insects are present they attract birds and birds can be a threat to aircraft.” 

Besides their everyday duties of disease vector control and safeguarding the flight line, the pest management shop is also responsible for teaching the base populous about the local wildlife.

“In order to do our job better, we have to educate the customer,” said Airman 1st Class Alberto Montesino, 2nd CES pest control apprentice. 

With each turn of the season a unique set of circumstances is presented. As the dog days of summer approach, the team works toward teaching the base populous about the pests specific to the warm humid Louisiana weather.

“The late spring and early summer is bee swarm season,” Cooper said. “You may see a giant cluster of bees flying around, but don’t think that they’re out trying to attack somebody. All it is, is a queen bee and her hive looking for a new location.”

Although the pest management shop is restricted to government facilities only, which excludes base housing, the shop welcomes all questions, concerns or issues.

“We love talking to people,” Cooper said. “If we can help somebody out, we will, even if that means just spreading some knowledge.”

Contact the pest management office at 318-456-1814.

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To reach the Barksdale Air Force Base Main Directory, call: (318) 456-1110

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