When The Cat’s Away….

As a pest control professional, I am diligent about proper storage, cleaning, and not having clutter. Sometimes, I forget that I need to do exclusion, or residual sprays in my own home. I have bait stations on the exterior of my house and garage. When I get home from a day of servicing accounts, I just don’t feel like handling any more pest management items – even for myself.

In recent weeks, we have done dirt work on our 3 acre property. I knew that we would likely stir up some rodent burrows. I checked the bait stations to prepare for any activity, and have replaced bait in my stations more than a dozen times since starting this work. It became quickly obvious that I didn’t do enough to keep mice at bay, so I added snap traps inside my bait station arsenal. On the first night, I caught a vole.

Near my front porch

I continued to check bait statuses, and set the snap traps daily, but mice sneaked into our 120 year old farm house. Those filthy animals made it to my kitchen cabinets. I found droppings near my baking mixes, boxes of cereal, in the broiler of my stove, and in the drawer with oven mitts (they liked the bacon grease). It was “game on” when they started chewing on my favorite microwave popcorn. I removed all foodstuffs from the cabinets. I set traps, placed glue boards, and looked for areas to do exclusion.


I have all the knowledge, tools, skills, and licensing to properly address the situation. Even when I’m off the clock, I can’t shut off the knowledge, or the idea of doing the right thing. I did consider hiring another PMP to handle this, but why? Because I was tired. I do have relationships with other local PCO’s who are great!! In fact, I have used them to do the termite inspections for my home purchase.


It took a few days, but I did catch 4 mice. My personal rule of thumb is leaving the obstacle course set for 7 days to rule out any more activity.

Glue boards, snap traps, attractant

My friends think it’s funny that mice got into my house. “They had to run right past your service truck with all that stuff”, said one friend. But, who are they gonna call when they have rodent or pest problems of their own? Not Ghostbusters, but little ‘ole me. Yep. The one who has knowledge, skills, and supplies. And guess what? Before I finished writing this, I had three friends ask about pest control. One had bed bugs, one had rodent issues, one had drain flies. Now, who’s laughing…


As this post is published, I’m still baiting and have traps set. I haven’t seen or caught any mice in a few weeks, but I’ll continue to monitor. I don’t actually have a cat, but one did adopt ME. It’s obviously not a mouser.

Published by Melisa Arnold, A.C.E.

My career in pest management began while working in a flour mill as the “in-house” technician in 2008. I am certified in multiple states. I began working full time as a fumigation-pest control tech in 2010. I achieved my Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE) in 2018. I have a Master Tech certification from Kansas State University/Kansas Pest Control Association. I hold a Bat Management certification from NWCOA. Every day, I realize how much I DON’T KNOW. My goal for this blog is to share my every day experiences from the field and to make us all think outside the box for solutions to make pest control make sense.

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