Integrated Pest Management (IPM) In Schools

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Integrated pest management in schools is a comprehensive program that establishes guidelines, promotes safe practices, and insures that pests of all varieties do not pose a hazard for the students and teachers that attend a school as well as taking care of the lawn, plant, and shrub pests that can destroy the esthetic beauty of the school. 

Integrated pest management is contracted to professionals that have certification and training in the management of the common and not so common pests that may infest a school or the school grounds. In some instances more than one company is contracted to control pests in the school while another takes care of the laws and plant pests. Occasionally, a professional trained in the capture and removal of nuisance animals may be contracted to rid a school of a particular varmint like a raccoon or coyote or a vicious feral dog. 

There are federal, state, and local requirements for an integrated pest management program and the companies that do the work. The major emphasis is on the safety of the children attending the school. Parents want their children protected from common pests as well as wanting their children to be safe from the harmful effects that some pesticides can cause.

Very frequently, universities that have a high level of expertise in pest control and eradication are a part of the integrated pest management program. The schools may not do the physical work but they offer advice about the latest in safe chemicals and pest removal methods to the school and to the companies that provide the service to the school. Local universities are the most helpful because these colleges usually study pests that are unique to a state or an area in the state.

The Benefits Of An Integrated Pest Management Program In Schools 

A well-developed integrated pest management program involves everyone in the school. The students and teachers can be trained to look for common pests and to be aware of the dangers of the chemicals that can be used to control some pests. The program is proactive in that the goal is to find a potentially major pest infestation that could cause a serious health hazard before the pest actually invades the school in huge numbers.

The programs are site specific and no single program is developed to fit all schools in a given school system, city, or county. The programs produce long-term results that are safe. Each phase of an integrated pest management program in a school is documented to provide the safest environment for the students and can protect the liability of a school in the event of law suits that may stem from insect or animal pests.

The Basic Parts Of An Integrated Pest Management Program

Effective and efficient integrated pest management programs include monitoring, action plan development, strategy selection, and regular evaluation. 

Pests that are pertinent to the inside of a school or the grounds must first be identified before they can be eliminated. The program must be established to deal with as many usual pests and unusual pests as possible. Traps, bait, and regular inspections provide the monitoring part of the program. All inspections must be documented completely for the program to be successful.

School officials and parent groups must establish low limits of pest detection that signal the need for higher than normal pest control measures. The action plan that is developed should also implement a routine of regular pest control for all areas of all buildings and the grounds of the school.

The best strategy to deal with a pest situation is the one that is safest. The main criterion that school administrators must impose on any company that they charge with their pest management is the use of chemicals that have the least potential to cause harm to students. The chemical selection should be environmentally broad and specific to a single pest or a number of pests.

If the program does not work then it has to be adapted so that it does work. This is the reason that documentation of all steps taken in an integrated pest management program is so important. Documentation allows school officials, parents, and pest control companies to take steps to change the strategy that does not work quickly and safely.

What Pests Does An Integrated Pest Management Program Control?

Generally, anything that bites can be hazardous to children and can carry disease. Ants, wasps, bees, and flies are common pests that bite and can carry disease. Head lice, silverfish, rats, and mice may not bite but these pests can contaminate food and produce disease.

The pests that inhabit the grounds of any school are usually specific to the area. Grubs, worms, and Japanese beetles are a few of the common pests that can destroy the lawn in schools. Pests that prey on a specific plant or tree can destroy the beauty of a school that has been developed over time at much labor and expense to the school. Weeds can also ruin the beauty of a school’s lawn and grounds as well as making the playground unusable. 

Depending on where a school is located, some animals can wander into the school. While a stray animal might be amusing to the students, some animals are immune to diseases that are deadly to people. Deer, bears, and cougars have been known to seek the warmth of a school during harsh winters.

Integrated pest management is designed to keep the students in a school safe from common pests as well as safe from any harm that the chemicals used to control insects in the buildings or on the lawn might have on the health and growth of students. The programs are more economical and productive than pest control programs managed by the school alone. 

Alliance Pest Services Education Department is a leader in New Jersey School IPM pest control providers and consulting.  Call today for free school IPM inspection.

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