Sentenced To Community Service

In January 2018, we moved into a very small rural community. Within the city limits are about forty-five houses, some of which are empty. The transition from a population of 50,000 to a population of 150 was easy. The hubs and I fit right in. Our new neighbors, became new friends in a matter of weeks.

As we were getting to know our newly adopted city, we became involved in community activities. The husband got the write-in vote for city councilman.(yes, we have a council),

and I offered to volunteer my pest control skills to combat a vole issue at the sewer ponds and lift stations.

We weren’t trying to be the Mayor’s Pet, we just felt the need to be an active part of our community.


I gathered old broken rodent bait stations from customers that weren’t good enough to pass a third party audit, and brought them home. I proceeded to drill holes in them, and attach zip ties to hold the hinge part of the lid back together. Fence wire replaced the locking mechanism. These are going inside of a locked fence with barbed wire on top, and only a few people have a key. They will work just fine.

Twelve bait stations were placed around the fence line of the water treatment ponds, and I mapped it out. (with the fitness tracker..see a previous post) I added some soft pack bait for those critters with old teeth, and a block bait for those that are newly teething.

I know, you are thinking about the 100 feet rule on rodenticide. Well, here’s my logic – that fence is NEVER gonna move. It HAS to stay put. That’s part of the rules and regulations for the Environmental Protection Agency. So, I am within my 100 feet of the man made structure criteria. I added large snap traps in every other station, and set two cage traps with cat food and deer corn.


Curious what I might catch, I checked these bait station placements three times in the first week. There was a lot of feeding, but no rodent of any kind. The second week, I got lucky. Maybe not so much luck, but waiting on the rodents getting used to something new. This little guy wasn’t so fortunate:

After several monthly visits, checking the bait stations multiple times per week, I thinned out the vole population. We – I mean the city maintenance guy – filled in all the burrows we could find. To date: I have removed four raccoons, and three opossums from the facility. There are turtles swimming in the sewer muck, and this reptile made its way into my trap:

Now I am just trying to keep the field mice under control. Ten months later, the feeding is seasonal. No new vole burrows. No large rodents tearing up my bait stations. The city council is grateful. Community service serves us all. It does a soul good to be involved. This is MY community.

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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