What’s In The Bait Station?

I need to remind myself not to get nonchalant when servicing bait stations. I know I do a great job cleaning, adding rodenticide, and recording the information. I get in a groove listening to the music blaring in my headphones. At times, I turn into the trap checker. That has come to bite me a few times…. literally.


Bait Station Number 22 had some rodent feeding. I cleaned out the nesting materials and the rodenticide crumbles. I turned it around backwards to check the hinged lid. Damn! As I jumped back, I got a quick glimpse of a creepy bug. After catching my breath, my heart rate slowed down. It’s just a wheel bug.

I pulled out my phone, snapped a picture, and emailed it to the staff entomologist. I knew she would love it. The reply came a couple of minutes later. “Nice bug porn.” Huh? A second look at the picture revealed two insects. I shook my head.


The padlock on Protecta Station 25 is stuck. A squirt of WD-40 will loosen the dirt to unlock it. I pinched the tab, and raised the lid. Something with eyes and a tail is staring back at me. OMG! It’s a Norway Rat.

I slammed the lid. “You can do this. You can do this. Breathe, just breathe.”

I clean rodent devices with a parts washing brush. It’s heavier and longer than the typical paint brush and the bristles can get into corners. I took it out of my supply bucket and held it firmly. Slowly opening the bait station lid, I could see those eyes staring at me. It was a toss up as to who was more scared.

Swinging that brush like a baseball bat, I was aiming for the rat to disorient him. I severely misjudged the speed of my swing, and I missed my contact point. My knuckle wasn’t so lucky. The bait holding rod went through the skin on my knuckle. The first aid kit in my truck was on the opposite side of the building. Not wanting to leave a blood trail, I used my hairnet and a zip tie as a bandage.


I was working stations on the far fence line. All is going well. No cause for concern. Then, in the 100* weather, a stinch hits me.

Eeewww! My nose and my stomach tried to hold on. There’s part of a hairless tail sticking out of the entry hole. On the inside of Station 18 was an animal that was unidentifiable. My best guess is what was left of an opossum. No way I am gonna clean that out. I’ll just replace it.

Two bait stations away was another in the same condition. This time, a cuddly rabbit had taken cover and forgot to leave. It wasn’t so cute when I found it.

I purposely left out a picture. I’m sure you can imagine the scene.

Michelle Hates Spiders

My friend Michelle doesn’t like spiders. She has a severe case of arachnophobia. I am not particularly afraid of spiders. I just don’t like to be startled by them.

Like most of my fellow pest control colleagues, I often find black widows in bait stations. They tend to harbor in the lid portion to build webs and to have their young. It’s dark, quiet, and cozy.

Imagine my surprise to find this “monster” in Station #19. Look closely – you can see what looks like a face…. but this is actually the underside of the abdomen.


While learning a new account, the manager was giving me some tips on how to make my inspections more efficient. We were almost finished with bait station service, and about to open VM RBS EZ Secure #38 of 40.

I pushed the key into the lock and popped the lid up. I screamed and slammed the top down. (I know you can picture the manager laughing at me.) What I thought it was a snake darting from the station, was actually a skink.

As you can see from this picture, it would look snake-like at first glance. Their legs are so short, it’s hard to tell that wasn’t a snake.

My most hated pest control creatures – in order- Snakes, lizards, frogs, turtles. They all give me shivers.

Tell Me Your Story

Wanna leave me a message about what you’ve seen? Tell me your story.


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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