Kadena Entomologists help keep pests from moving in
Stripes Okinawa | .
published: June 21, 2016
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan – The island of Okinawa is home to hundreds of different insect species, snakes and rodents. With spring and summer here, there are a few that can't wait to move into new homes with human residents.
The 18th Civil Engineer Squadron has a dedicated team of certified professionals to keep these pests at bay. The Kadena entomology flight helps housing residents and facility managers deal with pest infestations they can't take care of on their own.
A team of 27 are responsible for more than 8,000 military housing units, 19 dormitories and more than 7,000 operational facilities island wide. Together, the team completes an average of 2,500 work orders a year.
Okinawan residents are almost guaranteed to have cockroaches, ants or other pests in their homes due to the island’s year-round tropical weather. According to Senior Airman Nicholas Stokes, 18th Civil Engineer Squadron pest management journeyman, these pests normally live outside in the warm and moist environment but can become a nuisance once indoors.
Out of the many species of roaches here, the German cockroach is the main antagonist. These small brown roaches typically reside in the kitchen, usually around the sink, stove and surrounding cabinets. They thrive in these areas because of food debris slipping into cracks and grease that builds up.
“The best way to avoid bugs and pests is everyday sanitation,” said Stokes. “Taking out trash on a regular basis, maybe every two days, can make a big difference. Also, rinsing out cans and bottles before recycling can help too.”
Even more so than roaches, ants trigger the largest volume of housing calls. There are several different species on island but the one many housing residents are already too familiar with is the white-footed ant. These black ants are small with yellowish-white legs and are problematic at home and in the work center.
“We normally provide suggestions to units about how they can keep pests out of their offices,” said Senior Airman James Wheeler, 18th CES pest management journeyman. “For example, when we receive a call we check for any entry points and damage caused, and then recommend the unit to the proper maintenance facility so they can attempt to fix the problem.”
Entomology Airmen on Kadena also set traps around base and the island training facilities for invasive species such as the mongoose or the venomous Taiwanese Habu Snake.
Airman 1st Class Adrianna Washington, 18th CES pest management apprentice, said there are about 11 snake species, including the Habu on the island. Residents should be cautious and treat every snake as if it's poisonous and keep their distance.
Entomologists also suggest residents remove items such as toys and empty water pots from their yards that can contain stagnant water. This can aid in reducing mosquito breeding areas. However, fogging operations to control the mosquito populations are conducted with the coordination of the base Public Health office.
Residents should do everything they can to stop bugs from settling in to begin with. Although almost impossible to avoid with small children, food and crumbs can be the root cause of many pest infestations. It takes just a tiny amount of food and water for pests to survive.
Lawns should be cut and debris around the house is best removed. Many items that sit out for long periods of time can create nesting areas. Rats and mice love living in dusty, cluttered sheds. A good way of keeping spiders away can be as simple as sweeping the cob webs from around the doors and outside walls of the house.
Housing residents should try to locate and seal up any holes or gaps they notice. If unable to handle the jobs themselves, residents should report any structural damage to Housing Maintenance at 634-HOME (4663).
During the peak summer months there can be up to a two week wait time for service. Customers can get a select amount of self-help products from the Pest Management office, Building 6207, and information to help the fight against pests.
If anyone is curious as to what that strange-looking bug you found is, they can always visit email@example.com. As long as it isn't completely destroyed, entomologists may be able to tell what it is.
Pest Management may not be able to eliminate them all but they will certainly do their best to get any pests problems at a tolerable level. For Pest Management service, questions or concerns, call 634-1961/0882.