Welcome to the Commissary, Rodents


Where you have food you will inevitably also have pests – or so I have been told.

That, at least, has lately been the case for several commissaries overseas which have been struggling with vermin problems. According to an email we received, the Patch commissary, located in Stuttgart, Germany, was recently closed for several days while officials did their best to take care of a mice problem, and at the commissary in Naples one reader saw signs (in Italian) warning of rat poison.


The whole thing made me wonder about just what the commissary does to make sure mice/rats/yucky bugs don’t take up residence in all of their stores.

The news is both good and bad. First, the bad:

This isn’t a problem isolated to Naples and Stuttgart. I know, I know – of course it isn’t. I’d even be fibbing if I said I didn’t have my own, personal mice problem in this rental thanks to some poorly stored bird feed and a few tempting bags of Teddy Grahams. But that doesn’t mean I like to admit that there is a problem – especially where I shop. Officials readily admitted that the commissary rodent problem is a “constant threat.”

The good news: commissaries don’t close very often for rodent problems, according to Col. Michael A. Buley, director of DeCA’s public health and safety directorate. He told us in a statement that periodic inspections are done to look for signs of possible infestation or spots that are likely to result in one. Health and safety officials work together on base, he said, to make sure the pests are done away with quickly and safely.

Have you ever experienced a rodent (or other bug) problem at your commissary?

About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of Military.com’s spouse and family blog SpouseBuzz.com. A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for Military.com where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on CNN.com, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.
  • Rquick

    Eww why is it such a problem for them? Are they not doing preventative maint? I worked in a grocery store for 10 yrs and they never had a rodent problem once.

    • Aresident

      I know this is an old issue but I wanted to respond on why this particular commissary in Stuttgart had issues with rodents. Stuttgart is built upon a landfill. Rodents are very prevalent within the community outside of the base, as well as on the base. There was a large hole in the store located behind several shelving units that new store managers did not know about. I’m not justifying anything here. When food inspectors found the problem it was revealed that proper maintenance was not being performed on a daily basis. That has since been corrected.

  • Chrissy

    Ew, and also ew: My husband has to share his room with a bunch of mice at his COP in Afghanistan! I may try to send him some mousetraps….

  • Scott

    Having worked for years in the preventive medicine field… rodent problems follow every where people are located. Especially when you intertwine the movement, storage and display of food! There is a very comprehensive approach and regulations that keep these things in check. The human factor is the big fail point… if you are doing all the inspections, trapping, and colony counts everything seems to go well… until the staff or individuals in an area (by lack of training or care/investment in the task) leave items out and trash (poor housekeeping) is going to lead to an infestation that is unfortunately preventable and/or controllable.