A B O U T   S C H O O L   I P M

 

F O U R   P O I N T S   O F   I P M

1.  M O N I T O R I N G   I P M
IPM is based on consistently inspecting and monitoring for pests to determine the location and degree of infestation. Monitoring includes traps, visual inspections, and interviews with staff members, and can be incorporated into other activities such as cleaning. Proper indentification of the pest is critical to gathering information about the pest's life cycle and habits. Identification is essential for selecting the combination of strategies which will be most effective and knowing when to implement them. Map out and prioritize problem areas. Take thorough notes to help you determine what to do now and in the future.

2.  S E T   A C T I O N   L E V E L S
School officials must set thresholds to determine if and when action should be taken against a certain pest. The action level is the number of pests that can be tolerated before treatment is necessary. While health concerns are always most important for determining the action threshold, economic and aesthetic factors cannot be ignored. An example of an action threshold would be detecting one mouse. Because mice can pose a significant health threat, action should be taken immediately. In other words, one mouse is too many.

A school is a difficult place to practice pest management. The design and use of schools buildings and landscapes may encourage pest problems. Schools also operate on tight budgets and have to craft policies which incorporate a diversity of people and opinions. Only by looking beyond pest extermination and routine pesticide applications can pesticide exposure to users of schools be reduced. The benefits and barriers to the use of IPM are:

Benefits
1. Provides long term results
2. Environmentally friendly
3. Reduces unnecessary chemical use and its liability
4. Reduces risk of pesticide resistance
5. Proactive, not reactive
6. Detects a potential pest problem before it's a major problem
7. Provides a written record of pest activities and control actions
8. Promotes a better school/community relationship
9. Site-specific

Barriers
1. May be more expensive to implement - especially when first starting IPM
2. Requires everyone, even students, to take an active role
3. Requires more skill and knowledge than traditional pest control
4. Additional paperwork and communication
5. May require on-going training
6. Requires persistent attention

3.  A P P L Y   I P M   S T R A T E G I E S
IPM employs a multi-tactic approach, integrating several strategies to combat a particular pest. Criteria for selecting a treatment strategy are:
1. Least hazardous to human health
2. Least disruptive of natural controls
3. Least toxic to non-target organisms
4. Most likely to be permanent
5. Easiest to carry out safely and effectively
6. Most cost-effective
7. Most site-appropriate

Four common control strategies that remove a pest's food, water, and shelter, and limit its access into and throughout buildings and on school grounds are:

1. Cultural control is a preventative measure using fertilization, plant selection, and sanitation to exclude problematic pests and weeds.

2. Physical control, or pest exclusion is another preventative strategy. It includes creating barriers; modifying conditions such as temperature, light and humidity; trapping; and manually weeding.

3. Biological control makes use of a pest's natural enemies. This strategy introduces beneficial insects or bacteria to the environment or, if they already exist, provides them with the necessary food and shelter and avoids using broad-spectrum chemicals that will inadvertently kill them.

4. Chemical control is used after all other control strategies are deemed inappropriate or ineffective. Target-specific, low-toxicity pesticides should be applied in a manner that will maximize the effectiveness of pest management and minimize the exposure to humans and other non-target species. Spot treat if possible to reduce exposure.

4.  E V A L U A T E   E F F E C T I V E N E S S
Program evaluation involves reviewing monitoring data, actions taken, treatment impacts and effectiveness, and any other relevant observations. These reports will provide information on previous and current pest populations and which strategies were applied. Comparing data will clearly indicate which pest management strategies were most effective for the amount of time and money spent. IPM practices and procedures can be modified, if necessary, based on past experience, results, and gained knowledge.

Ask yourself questions about the program:
1. Was the treatment(s) effective?
2. What were the effects on non-target species?
3. What worked and what did not?
4. What can I do differently next time?
5. Should I consult an outside source of expertise for further IPM recommendations?
6. Is the program compatible with current public expectations?

Remember, be flexible! The key to a good IPM program is adaptability and allowing for continuous fine-tuning in your program. Keeping other school personnel informed and involved will help make them aware of the school's IPM program and it's advantages.

W H Y   I P M ?

A school is a difficult place to practice pest management. The design and use of schools buildings and landscapes may encourage pest problems. Schools also operate on tight budgets and have to craft policies which incorporate a diversity of people and opinions. Only by looking beyond pest extermination and routine pesticide applications can pesticide exposure to users of schools be reduced. The benefits and barriers to the use of IPM are:

Benefits
1. Provides long term results
2. Environmentally friendly
3. Reduces unnecessary chemical use and its liability
4. Reduces risk of pesticide resistance
5. Proactive, not reactive
6. Detects a potential pest problem before it's a major problem
7. Provides a written record of pest activities and control actions
8. Promotes a better school/community relationship
9. Site-specific

Barriers
1. May be more expensive to implement - especially when first starting IPM
2. Requires everyone, even students, to take an active role
3. Requires more skill and knowledge than traditional pest control
4. Additional paperwork and communication
5. May require on-going training
6. Requires persistent attention


L I N K S

As a parent, how do I get IPM implemented in my child's school?

As a school administrator, how do I get IPM implemented in my school?

As a faculty/staff member, how do I get IPM implemented in my school?

As a pest manager how do I get IPM implemented in the schools?

 

Photo Credit: USDA ARS Photo Unit, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org