National School IPM

Information for School Faculty and Staff

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

Besides students, faculty and staff also inhabit classrooms and food service areas. As a result, teachers and staff are exposed to all the same risks as the students. In addition, faculty and staff should not introduce potentially harmful "bug sprays" into the classroom. Commonly used "over-the-counter" products available at local stores often contain the same ingredients as those products available only to licensed pest control operators. When used in the classroom, these sprays are potentially dangerous to chemically sensitive children. Also, these products can make some pest problems worse because they may interfere with or even reduce the effectiveness of treatments made previously by the pest management staff. Interested faculty and staff can follow several steps in helping to get Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to work.

  • Never Bring in Cans of Bug Spray.

If you have an emergency pest problem, follow the procedure provided by the pest management personnel. Hopefully, a mechanism exists whereby you can notify the pest management technician (by telephone or written report) of any pest problems so they can quickly treat the problem. Do not buy pesticide products at local stores to use in school areas.

  • No Exposed Food or Drink in the Classroom.

Do not bring food or beverage items into the classroom, except in sealed containers (i.e. lunch boxes). It is very important to continually remind children that food and snacks are to be eaten in the cafeteria, not the classroom. Even the tiniest of crumbs is a full meal for rodents, cockroaches or ants. If food incentives are used in the classroom, they should be stored in plastic, sealable containers. If items are small, freezer bags are recommended because they are made of a thicker material that is more pest resistant than the cheaper baggies. If your school has a "grab-and -go" type of meal, assign a daily "clean team" to sweep crumbs and remove food trash from the classroom once the meal is over. Also, remember that recyclable goods kept indoors provide, food and harborage for many pests. These items should be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed before storage.

  • Keep the Classroom as Clean as Possible.

Sanitation, not pesticides, makes the biggest impact on pest populations. Cleaning up after any pets in the classroom and after parties is an absolute must. Empty soda cans, used paper plates, food wrappings, etc. should be placed in the trash can and then hauled to an outside dumpster before the end of the day. Trash cans full of this type of debris left overnight in the classroom are often sources of pest problems.

  • Get to Know the Pest Management Staff.

Whether pest control is handled "in-house" or is contracted out, try and interact with the pest control technicians as often as possible. The more communication that occurs between the faculty/staff and the pest control technician, the more effective pest control will be. It is very important for teachers/school staff to communicate with the pest control technicians about the kind of pest problems that exist. Specifics such as where the pests are (i.e. near the sink in the rear of the classroom), what kind of pests exist (i.e. cockroaches, ants, wasps, rodents), and when they are a problem (i.e. only in the morning or all the time) is valuable information to the pest control technician. The technician will be better prepared to treat the pest problem with this sort of information. A great way to communicate pest problems to the pest control technician is by using a Pest Sighting Log.

  • Begin Using a Pest Sighting Log.

Pest Sighting Logs are used by school employees to communicate pest problems to the pest control technician. The log is a record of when the pests were seen, by whom, where, and what kind of pests were present. The pest control technician checks the log and then uses the information provided to treat the problem. The pest control technician also records what action was taken to treat the pest problem on the Pest Sighting Log. Information such as what pests were identified, what the cause of the pest problem was, and what action was taken (including exclusion, sanitation, or pesticides, if any) is important to record. The pest control technician also makes recommendations to building maintenance staff on the Pest Sighting Log about what changes in maintenance might help prevent future pest problems (installation of proper door sweeps, turning off unnecessary lights at night, installing proper window screening). A Pest Sighting Log should be kept in an accessible area such as the main office, cafeteria manager's office, or teacher's lounge area.

  • Discuss IPM with the Pest Manager.

Convincing your current pest manager to implement IPM may be simpler than you think. Also, speak with your school's principal about IPM and the advantages it furnishes by providing a safer school environment.

  • Learn as Much as Possible About IPM.

Consider IPM as a topic at the next school PTA and/or faculty meeting. Help build support for the idea of switching to a school-wide IPM program by distributing IPM materials to others. A knowledgeable group of people who support an issue is often more effective than a single voice of concern.

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