Banks signs pest control contract with BC


Gregory D. Cook

A male earwig, otherwise known as a pincher bug, makes its way across a desk in Campus Center 1 on Nov. 28.

Cassandra McGowan, Reporter

Bakersfield College has entered into a contract with Banks Pest Control to spray for bugs and rodents on campus.

In an e-mail from Paula Bray to the BC faculty, she asks the faculty to remove or seal any food in their offices to prevent further infestation. She also asks that no one use household bug sprays on campus.

“We cannot use household products and commercial pest control sprays together because they work at cross purposes,” wrote Bray.

She says they have been made aware of the concern about the safety of the chemicals that will be sprayed and they are working together with Banks to come up with an “Integrated Pest Management Plan” to minimize the amount of chemicals to be sprayed.

There are a few issues with this, according to professor of chemistry Kenward Vaughan.

“My primary concern comes from people spraying carelessly…” Vaughan doesn’t appreciate the “casual and prevalent

attitude/comment that ‘It’s OK when it dries.’”  He goes on to say that anyone in the Chemistry Department will agree that the chemicals used within pesticides are not safe for people who may be sensitive to the toxins within the pesticides.

“This is an issue regardless of who is doing the spraying,” Vaughan said.

“[The pesticides are] considered by and large non-toxic, they’re not horrible to people, but you’ll find that people are sensitive to the chemicals,” he said.

Although the chemicals are not said to be really dangerous to humans, Vaughan said he won’t be touching anything that’s been sprayed and he worries for students who come in to the hallways and sit down to relax before or after class.

“Woe be it for those students who sit in the hallways,” wrote Vaughan.

Not all of the BC staff feels the same though.

“It’s a necessary evil. If we don’t take care of the bugs, we’ll be overrun,” said professor of agriculture Lindsay Ono. He said there are “all sort of critters around.”

Bill Kelly, professor of agriculture, thinks the old buildings need to be sprayed, but thinks it should be done after summer school, but before the fall semester starts so there’s the least amount of people on campus as possible.

Kelly also said he’s concerned about the endangered kit foxes that live on campus and said we also have a raccoon and opossum along with stray cats and dogs that hang out around the horticulture lab.

Kelly asked, “If the kit fox eats a dying mouse, is it going to be OK?”

“If the pest control company is careful and uses chemicals that are compatible with farming, I think it’ll be OK,” he said.

Horticultural technician Sally Sterns agrees that we have an issue with pests.

“We’ve got cockroaches, we’ve got mice, we’ve got rats,” she said.

Much like the other professors in the Agriculture Department, Stearns doesn’t feel the pest control is a huge deal. “I don’t know. I wouldn’t have a problem with it,” she said.

Frank Daigle, an employee of Banks, said they use the “least toxic” pesticides and said, “We won’t be treating areas with animals or horticulture.”