School Integrated Pest Management
What is IPM?
Today, many school pest management programs are reactionary (i.e., find a pest and use a chemical product to eliminate it). While pesticides (insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, rodenticides) are valuable tools in a pest management program, improper and unnecessary use are common and do not provide optimum control. Integrated pest management (IPM) uses common sense methods to control pests. IPM is proactive pest management. It helps prevent pests from becoming a problem in the first place, greatly reducing the need for reactionary pesticide use. In schools, IPM programs have reduced pesticide use by up to 70% or more while decreasing pest complaints and presence. In a school IPM program, non-chemical controls are used first, relying on approved pesticides applied by trained and licensed applicators as a last resort. IPM can be applied in schools, homes, crop fields, fruit orchards, or in any situation where pests exist.
Kicking the Calendar-Based Pest Control Habit
Some school districts manage insects, rodents, weeds, etc. via contracted monthly (or other) pesticide applications. Basing a pest control program on calendar-based pesticide applications is inefficient, and puts unnecessary chemicals into the school environment. Why apply pesticides if there is no problem? By breaking free from the calendar-based approach and adopting IPM, school districts can cut unnecessary pesticide use up to and over 90%, while doing a superior job at controlling pests. Does your district use unnecessary pesticide applications on a calendar basis?
- Planning Ahead
- Cultural Pest Control Practices
- Mechanical Pest Control Practices
- "Soft" Chemicals
- Broad-Spectrum Chemicals
Why I Should Care if My Child's School Practices IPM?
- Children are smaller than adults, and exposure to the same quantity of chemical can have greater effects on the child.
- Children, especially small children, have different habits that increase exposure to pesticides used in schools, including: crawling/playing/sleeping on the floor or outside on managed turf, eating while sitting on the floor or turf, and putting objects and body parts into their mouth that may have contacted chemically treated areas.
- The majority of a child's exposure to pesticide chemicals occurs in the first 5 years of their life.
- Allergens from cockroaches and other pests can trigger allergies or asthma; IPM is much more efficient at preventing pest presence up front, reducing both allergens and the need for a reactionary, chemical approach.
- Absenteeism due to asthma and allergy-related ailments negatively affects your child's education.
- Any time chemicals are used, especially if used improperly by non-licensed individuals, the risk of acute poisoning exists. In Utah, there is no requirement that individuals applying pesticides (non-restricted) in schools or on school grounds have a pesticide license, unless the applications are made by a commercial pest control company.