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Base pest control offers simple ways to get rid of unwanted bugs, vermin

Senior Airman Dan Marchesseault, pest management specialist, sprays to exterminate wasps in the Travis housing areas.  The pest management shop stays busy controlling Travis’ mice, ant and pest population. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jennifer Brugman)

Senior Airman Dan Marchesseault, pest management specialist, sprays to exterminate wasps in the Travis housing areas. The pest management shop stays busy controlling Travis’ mice, ant and pest population. (U.S. Air Force photo by Jennifer Brugman)

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- When the creepy crawlies come out of the woodwork, base pest control is there to save the day. 

“The majority of the time people are glad to see us,” said Master Sgt. Lawrence Robinson, pest management shop foreman. 

The three-person pest control shop answers calls concerning snakes, wasps, mice, fleas and every other nuisance the base populace would rather not see in its kitchens. 

Due to Travis’ proximity to farm land, mice are one of the biggest problems on base.
Last year, pest control spent 15 to 20 hours per week on mice. Sergeant Robinson estimates that they pull 11 or more mice per week out of the vacant houses on base. They’ve taken 100 mice out of one facility in a week. 

“Summer’s insane,” said Senior Airman Dan Marchesseault, pest management specialist. 

Another prime pest on Travis is ants. The three different types of ants on base are some of the most difficult to exterminate. 

“Those things are definitely winning the war,” Airman Marchesseault said. 

Mr. Robert Kennedy, management specialist, recommends a simple sugar solution bait with boric acid to get rid of ants. 

“I use these baits in my own house — my wife and daughter have allergies,” Sergeant Robinson said. “Nine out of 10 times we use [bait] in our own homes and we know it works.” 

Pest control currently uses approximately 25 different chemicals to ward off bugs and vermin. This number is down from previous years as the Environmental Protection Agency regulates the use of pesticides on base. 

“We work with less and less toxic chemicals each year,” Mr. Kennedy said. 

However, the best methods of getting rid of pests are some of the simplest. Mr. Kennedy recommends that people keep their houses clean. He says the simplest way of controlling the black widow population in a home is to vacuum in their potential living areas such as behind dryers and inside sheds. 

Pest control gets 50 to 60 calls per week during the summer particularly about animal control issues. All living animals are trapped and taken to a nearby preserve. 

For more information, call pest control at 424-3033.

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