Changing Jobs Can Change Lives

Have you ever asked yourself, “Why am I doing this job? Am I making a difference?” Is your choice of work just “work”, or do you love what you are doing? How did you choose your job?

My love of insects wasn’t always love. I really had to grow into it. My first insect experience as a kid was using a magnifying glass to burn ants. (Don’t lie, you’ve tried this) My siblings and I thought it would be super cool to watch those little beings explode into a fire ball. It never happened.

I often wonder if that’s how fire ants came to be in existence. Damn, karma.

DO THE HOMEWORK

I am well versed in pesticide application for stored product pests. When I decided it was time for me to do this pest career solo, I had to do a lot of homework on residential pests. I’m getting better, but still have a ways to go. I have learned how to effectively rid a property of various types of ants. No magnifying glass required.

Trial and error, and many customer callbacks helped to straighten out my learning curve. I am by no means a perfect pro. I am an incomplete work in progress. I know in the pest control industry, one can NEVER stop learning. You will become an obsolete technician, manager, and owner if you forgo the training.

I decided to test for termite certifications. This would probably be against the better judgment of my A.C.E. proctor, Jerry Heath. When I passed the Associate Certified Entomologist exam, the first thing he said to me was, “You passed, but you don’t know a damn thing about ants and termites.” Well, Jerry, I am taking your statement to heart.

I AM CALLED TO HELP

In past posts, I have mentioned that I am a member of social media groups, many of them local to surrounding communities. I was reading posts in one of them, and came across a person in panic mode wanting to know if a spider was a brown recluse. “Yes. No. Can’t tell from this picture,” were the responses. As I zoomed in on this grainy photo, I could faintly see that coveted violin shape.

I responded with, “Definitely a brown recluse. I own this business. Can help if needed.”

The person immediately contacted me. We engaged in a phone conversation…on a Sunday night. Bright and early on Monday morning, I was meeting a new customer, listening to the real fears about spiders and other pests in the home. I explained my process, and when we were both comfortable, treatment began.

CUSTOMER APPRECIATION

It took about an hour to effectively treat this property. Inspection. Knockdown of webbing. Liquid residual. Granular bait. Education for the customer, including the Labels/SDS for the products used.

This customer continued to thank me during the entire service visit. While thank you’s are appreciated, I do this work because I want to help people live calmer, happier, safer, healthier lives. The neighbor even booked an appointment.

BACK TO TERMITES

I did pass the termite testing with a score well above the passing grade. I’m still learning about these Isoptera insects. I’ve got a ways to go.

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 including a DOT CDL/HazMat. 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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