BEALE AIR FORCE BASE,Calif. --
It’s that time of year again. The dreaded mosquitoes are coming back. What can we do about it? Who do we contact to get rid of them?
Annually, members of Team Beale pose these questions and more. Knowing your enemy is half the battle. Through preventive measures and trained personnel we can hopefully decrease the numbers of our invading nuisances.
“Mosquitoes are attracted to standing water, carbon dioxide and bright lights,” said Sean Walker, 9th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Public Health technician contractor. “Standing water is a source to lay their eggs.”
Entomology Airmen are trained and certified in different purging methods to deal with most pests, which inhabit a base. Through yearly routines as well as working with public health Airmen, they are able to determine where their services are needed most. They take care of everything from the weeds around the area to rats, snakes and other animals that might be a hindrance to daily base activities. Extermination is not their main objective, so relocation is an ideal situation for them.
“We routinely catch wildlife, depending on the situation we usually release them,” said Staff Sgt. Kassandra Mueller, 9th Civil Engineering Squadron pest management craftsman. “A lot of people think that we just kill stuff all the time, that’s not the case.”
Annually, certain locations on Beale are fogged with pesticides within the need for mosquito deterrence. CE cautions the pesticides used can be harmful if not handled properly.
“It’s our policy to not apply pesticide unless we really need to,” said Mueller. “It also prevents pests from becoming immune or ‘harder to kill’ because they will develop pesticide resistance over time.”
Mosquitoes are known to be vectors that could carry a multitude of different diseases. One concern could be the Zika virus. The Aedes Aegypti (Asian Tiger) and the Aedes Albopictus (Yellow Fever) mosquitoes have been known to carry the virus. These two mosquitoes have been found in Northern California, but neither of the two has been found in the local area or to be carrying the virus.
The drying or removal of stagnant water can help by displacing their breeding grounds. Wearing bug spray with a high percentage of diethyltoluamide (DEET) in conjunction with long sleeve shirts and pants provide needed protection. However, wearing layers of clothing during the California summer is not ideal. Preventative measures routinely occur on base to help keep you and your family safe
“Being indoors is the number one thing to not get bit,” said Staff Sgt. Ines McIntyre, 9th Aerospace Medicine Squadron section chief community health. “Try to stay indoors during dawn and dusk hours, because that’s when mosquitoes feed.”
For more information about mosquitoes or other pests, contact Public Health at 530-634-4945.