Pieces of Buckley: Pest Management

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Holden S. Faul
  • 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
When serving in the Air Force, or military in general, “one team, one fight” is a common phrase used to highlight the importance of each person’s contribution to the overall success of the mission. When considering careers available in the Air Force to maintain mission excellence, one career is often overlooked. Pest management plays a vital role to the overall health of Airmen world wide and each base’s mission success.

The 460th Civil Engineer Squadron’s pest management shop on Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, proves this to be true.

“This job is important because nuisances such as mosquitos, birds, snakes, rodents, bees and wasps, disease vectors and weeds could affect military operations, as well as readiness and the well-being of personnel,” said Airman 1st Class Bailey Adkins, 460th CES pest management journeyman. “These examples could also damage property, equipment and other vegetation areas.”

By working together and taking a proactive approach to each season, this team is able to help prevent the infestation of pests, which allows the environment on Buckley AFB to remain safe for all units’ missions to continue without interruption.

As the summer season begins, their focus shifts toward taking care of the weeds around base as this can become one of the biggest issues.

“The biggest nuisance to Buckley AFB right now are weeds; when untreated, they become a shelter and food source for animals and insects, which increases the problem as predators of those animals or insects will also begin moving in,” said Tech. Sgt. Anthony Santiago, 460th CES pest management NCO in charge. “We’re able to resolve the issue by applying soil sterilants to fence lines, rock beds and around fuel tanks. Areas such as parking lots, sidewalks, curbs and streets receive soil sterilants and round-up to kill any existing weeds and prevent others from growing.”

Additionally, due to the weather becoming warmer during summer, snakes will begin making their presence on base. It’s important to know the three species of snakes that live on Buckley AFB. The Prairie Rattlesnake, Bullsnake and Black-necked Garter snake may be found roaming the base during the summer. Although only the Prairie Rattlesnake is a true threat to those in the area, the Bullsnake, or commonly referred to as the Gopher Snake, is notorious for mimicking the rattling sound as their defense mechanism.This may cause people to miss-identify the specie and begin to panic.

“Please avoid running away at the sound of the rattling noise as this may provoke the snake into striking,” said Santiago. “The safest choice is to immediately stop moving, take a quick look around the area and slowly retrace your steps backward.”

Finally, if there are any animals or pests causing damage or discomfort to those on base, do not hesitate to contact the pest management team.

“We are here to make sure the 460th Space Wing mission continues without interruption,” said Airman 1st Class Aeroll Dave Silla, 460th CES pest management apprentice. “If that entails us removing or relocating snakes, bees or other risk factors, then that is what we’re here for.”

If you are need of assistance from Team Buckley’s pest management team, call 720-847-6823.