Don’t let the summer bugs bite: Pest Management helps keep Airmen safe
7/23/2012 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Flip-flops, shorts and t-shirts: the official uniform of summer. While some may enjoy the sun on their skin and the warmer weather all around, others may find reasons to keep covered up for fear of one of summer's biggest annoyances: mosquitoes.
"The itching alone can drive you crazy," said Tech. Sgt. Joy Meek, 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs NCO in-charge of Multimedia. "Especially if it's somewhere like your feet, forget it, that's the worst."
While most only care about not tearing into a mosquito bite and making it worse by scratching, the Airmen of the Pest Management flight at Kunsan Air Base are concentrated on preventing the spread of disease and protecting Airmen, Soldiers and civilians on Kunsan.
"Public Health uses traps to gather mosquitoes at various locations on base," said Senior Airman Robert Williams, 8th Civil Engineer Squadron Pest Management technician. "When the numbers get to a certain level, then they give us the recommendation to start."
Made up of a ready-to-use synthetic pyrethroid, certified members of the 8th CES Pest Management Flight use the insecticide to reduce and control gnats, black flies, flying midges and of course adult mosquitoes around base.
Starting at the beginning of the summer season, spraying occurs Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 4-6:30 a.m. around dorms, housing, Wolf Pack part and work centers.
"If possible, remain inside or avoid the area whenever spraying takes place and continue to avoid the area for about thirty minutes after spraying," said Williams.
"That time period will greatly reduce the likelihood of you breathing pesticides in the air. Keep this in mind if engaging in physical activity (biking, running) or smoking in designated areas," he added.
While spraying is an effective way to control the insect population, Airmen can do more to protect themselves from pesky bites.
"Even though we spray, personal initiative is the best protection," Williams said.
Here are some tips to follow:
• Limit smoking at night, carbon monoxide attracts mosquitoes, in fact it is used in traps
• Wear long, loose sleeves
• Avoid wearing black or dark blue clothing
• Use a citronella candle or coil when outside
• Avoid scented body sprays, colognes, and perfumes
• Shower before and after working out, lactic acid is said to attract mosquitoes
• Use bug spray with DEET - don't apply on skin in great amounts as well as broken skin such as cuts. If you want to be thorough, apply on your clothes.
• If bitten, use aloe vera, tea tree oil or calamine lotion to curb itching sensation
To have a specific area on base treated, call the 8th CES Service Call line at 782-8237 to put in a work order request.
For questions about mosquitoes, chemical or anything pest related, call the Pest Management Shop at 782-5295.