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.

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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?

IPM Tools

  • Education
  • Information
  • Planning Ahead
  • Scouting/Monitoring
  • Prevention
  • Cultural Pest Control Practices
  • Mechanical Pest Control Practices
  • "Soft" Chemicals
  • Broad-Spectrum Chemicals
IPM Pyramid

Why I Should Care if My Child's School Practices IPM?

It is difficult to evaluate the long-term, chronic health effects of pesticide exposure on human health. However, in schools, the use of IPM can have a direct effect on your child's health for many reasons.
  • 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.

Does My Child's School Practice IPM?

Pest control practices can vary by school district and sometimes by individual schools within a district. In Utah, one school district, the Salt Lake City School District, has a long-running verifiable IPM program. As part of our EPA grant, three new school districts are piloting IPM programs in Utah: Canyons School District, Nebo School District, and Davis School District. Call your school district today to inquire. New IPM-practicing schools will be added as we continue to work with schools across Utah.

Why Doesn't Our School District Adopt IPM?

There are many barriers to starting an IPM program, but once in place, a well-run IPM program can save money, dramatically decrease pesticide use (over 90% in some cases), and keep pest levels and sightings at or below those seen when using traditional pest control methods.

What Can I Do to Help My Child's School District Adopt IPM?

If you have interest in becoming a change agent in your district, or learning more about our New School IPM Pilot Program, please contact Zach Schumm at or by phone at 435-797-2435.