A Well-designed School Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program is:

Comprehensive:  It combines all effective tools that prevent or reduce pest problems.
Adaptable:  It can be modified to address any pest situation that arises.
Responsible:  It does least harm to people and the environment.
Economical:  It is economically sound.
Sustainable:  It reduces pest problems over the long-term.

Put simply, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a safer and usually less costly option for effective pest management. IPM is a process for achieving long term environmentally sound pest suppression.  IPM programs emphasize prevention and inspection using of a wide variety of technological and management practices before pesticide applications are considered.

Integrated pest management principles can be applied to virtually every aspect of our lives, including our schools. A School IPM program uses common sense strategies to take away things a pest needs to live in school buildings and school grounds:  that is, food, water and shelter. A common misconception of IPM is that pesticides should not used; however this is not the case.  IPM programs can be designed to exclude the use of pesticides but they can also include the careful and selective use of pesticides when necessary.

Pesticides are powerful tools for controlling pests and should always be selected and applied carefully, especially when used in sensitive areas where children are present. Children are more sensitive than adults to pesticides. Young children are at greater risk for exposure to pesticides from crawling, exploring, or other hand-to-mouth activities. Since children spend so much of their day at school, IPM provides an opportunity to create a safer learning environment that reduces pests AND children's exposure to pesticides.

Photo Credit: Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org
USDA Forest Service Archive, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org