Rural System, Inc.
 Sustained rural lands; sustained profits

The Pest Force

The Pest Force is an integrated vertebrate damage management enterprise. Its function is central to the sustained profits of Rural System, Inc. Profit need not be made exclusively from product and service sales. A net return is the concept of profit - reducing losses is fully as essential as improving gains. The Force exists to meet the needs of citizens, corporations, and agencies and to serve the pest control industry that is typically involved with insect and invertebrate animal problems. It is a private, for-profit corporation seeking to improve comprehensive, total system management with partner enterprises of the Rural System, Inc. The recognized needs are in mastering relations and making tradeoffs within Rural System, Inc. and with society. For example, one group of people may want to increase deer; others (perhaps including some in that group) may want to reduce deer damage to crops. Some wanting to increase bears may find sheep and beehive losses intolerable. A group exists because of their interest in the wild dogs, the foxes and coyote. They often operate from a protectionist viewpoint.

The Pest Force concentrates on damage, not necessarily on the animal apparently causing it. It then seeks to reduce and manage that damage legally, humanely, and cost-effectively. Its philosophy outline is available. It is sensitive to human regard for life and treatment of animals, but it is also realistic about the threats related to animals of rabies, West Nile virus, tularemia, leptospirosis, encephalitis, and psiticosis. The interaction of the fleas of cats and dogs to those brought to them by mice and other animals is well known. Wild animals are reservoirs of insect-borne diseases.

The company has an effective program of town and neighborhood rat control and offers mouse control. It is equally responsive to select needs of people for solutions immediate and long-term, for household and corporate problems with bats, moles, snakes, geese (golf courses), woodpeckers, feral cats and dogs, squirrels, gulls (airports), starlings, skunks, muskrats (pond dams) and garden pests. It offers effective deer management strategies.

The Pest Force emphasizes work on damage, analyzing it relative to costs over time of controls and uses a combination of methods, often selected with the aid of a computer, to select an optimum strategy of damage management. The customer may implement the selected and recommended strategy, or it may obtain the Pest Force services to do so. Fees are paid for the visit, analysis, and implementation.

The Pest Force with Rural System, Inc.'s Rural Knowledge Base builds a database and report system and provides every customer with unusual information about each species of pest. An internal, evolving expert system in the enterprise computer is a highly valued proprietary resource.

The Pest Force is not a group of trappers (though trapping may be the only cost-effective, legal, safe, and timely response to a disease-related or fierce-animal problem). Its trained staff is willing to work in often-dangerous conditions in order to solve people's immediate, often-costly problems. Many of the problems are not those of direct financial loss, but of lost quality of life-sleeplessness, fear, annoyance, and uncertainty. The staff experiences the pleasure of helping people, improving the environment, protecting it from often unnecessary large-scale, simplistic, animal control efforts, and working to improve Rural System, Inc. itself.

The Pest Force may work with students and faculty at Virginia Tech and elsewhere, providing employment and experience for undergraduate students, and research and project options for graduate students and faculty. The animals involved in the work of the Pest Force are measured and scientists use results to learn more about the animals and the effective control of their actual or perceived damages. Unique problems do occur and the staff, with a taskforce, will attack such problems. In some cases research is needed, but Rural System, Inc. typically uses a rationally robust strategy (Giles et al. 1995), adaptive management, and sophisticated computer "expert system" software.

The Pest Force offers geographic information system (GIS) analyses through System Central. One recurrent theme in damage management is that the wrong crops (or other things of value) are put in the wrong places. "They could not have picked a worse place!" is often heard. GIS can help developers avoid problems by selecting the right or "least bad" spots for crops, livestock, buildings, etc. GIS can help explain problem causes, identify trends, project future problems as land uses change due to ecological succession or urban sprawl.

The Pest Force offers unusual design services. Major pest damage problems arise in faulty design. Simple changes in architecture or building construction can avoid costly damage reduction work year after year. A question-answer software unit allows contractors, developers, and architects to solve some of their own animal damage design problems (personally and within the security of their creative spaces). Personal advice from staff is also available because the software available will not likely address unique structures.

The group of animals with great appeal and with unexploited financial potentials is one for intensive management, the furbearers. A rich variety of these animals lives in the region -- raccoon, beaver, weasel, mink, and others. These need management since they cause damage and can compromise other management objectives but they can also be changed into a profitable managerial enterprise. Much research has been done on them, but much, much more is needed and few people realize the complexity and relations of their system and their manyobjectives. The need is for some of the most intense, far-reaching research anywhere in the world. It should not be on the biology of the animal alone (the past trend) but on the total profitable enterprise. Agencies have waited for funds but none to our knowledge have stabilized an intensive management system including feedback and future predictions. The prospects are not for recreational trapping (strongly opposed by some) but for a viable, profitable enterprise utilizing one of the natural products of the ways no one else has been able to sustain in the past.

A specialized program for beaver management may be developed, one including beaver removal, tours, education, anti-preservationist work, publications, damage assessment, legal assistance, and integration with forestry and fisheries.

The laws that relate to controlling animals are now very complex. Trained, certified, bonded staff can avoid these issues, adding further to cost effectiveness and increased expected value of services provided. Expert testimony can be provided. A sub-unit, one often with parallel work and emphases is described here as The Raccoon Group. A powerful resource book for solutions is available, as is contact with the Berryman Institute. Chemical toxicities and related matters are now available at CIS. Knowing where rich resources such as Chemical Information System can be obtained (information about chemical toxicity, biodegradation, environmental fate, chemical/physical properties, site assessment, effects on wildlife, occupational safety and health and much more) can be a service to many groups of Rural System, Inc..

Consider immobilization certification: Detailed presentation outlines, instructor information, printable registration forms and electronic registration are available Brochures containing all workshop details and registration materials are also available by telephone (608-767-3071) or e-mail ( request.In April, 2005, a completely revised and updated program was presented. The all new manual: "Chemical Immobilization of Animals: Technical Field Notes 2005" will be distributed at workshops.

Development costs are estimated as $80,000. Profits:

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