Tornados & Rodents: Emergency Plan

It’s the middle of Winter! Why do we need to hear the tornado siren in the 1st Monday of the month? Tornadoes are unlikely this time of year, but possible. So our community tests the siren.

During that trial run of a low, dull, whi…whi….whining sound of the siren, I tend to ignore the noise. I know, I shouldn’t take for granted that there isn’t severe weather nearby. I should to use this opportunity to practice my emergency plan.

The same could be said of rodent control services. Yessiree…. Rodent management needs an emergency plan. How many pests are considered “acceptable”, before extra measures are enacted? Those of us with an interest in Integrated Pest Management call it an ACTION THRESHOLD.

That plan of action should begin as a truthful, open conversation with the customer. A threshold limit needs to be addressed. Zero is not considered to be a practical threshold number. Corrective actions for managing a surge need to be in place.

Will extra traps be set? Or is additional monitoring sufficient? More frequent cleaning could be the key. How will you locate the rodent runs? Do you think a motion trail camera could help? Which actions are the PCO’s responsibility? Which items can the customer comfortably handle?


I have set up rodent control services for many customer accounts. Multi catch traps and rodent bait stations placed according to, what I think are, facility needs could be considered the “trial run”. At this point, I am trying to prepare for, and discourage, rodent activity.

After doing the initial inspection, and taking a glance at the previous pest company’s reports, (with a sly grin, while wringing my hands) I am certain I have found the areas where rodents are likely to be making their run. Some burrowing, and sebum rub marks are prevalent. Now I wait.

After a week or so, I am back to check on the rodent feeding in those stations. It’s somewhat hit and miss on where the rodents chose to eat. “Poor fella has a tummy ache”, when I find a house mouse struggling to breathe.


Now that I have been servicing these rodent devices for a bit, I am thinking the rodent issue is at a manageable level. Wrong! A customer calls in panic mode. There are rodents in areas where they are not welcome. Now is the time to activate that emergency plan, NOT create one.


That remote activated tornado siren I hear on first Mondays doesn’t scare me. It lets me plan for emergency situations. I doubt the mice nearby actually care about it either, but I’ve got a remedial plan for them.

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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