Integrated Pest Management for Schools: IPM Information

IPM in Schools

“Going to school” is supposed to be an adventure for children but not because pests and rodents share their classroom. The presence of pests in schools can seriously affect the health of both students and teachers, which makes professional pest control essential to providing a safe learning environment.

Although a “hot” topic for parents and educators, integrated pest management (IPM) in schools is rarely understood. Common sense and sound solutions are the foundation for IPM, and where children’s health is concerned, these are critical. IPM practices in schools focus upon 1) inspection, 2) identification and 3) treatment by pest professionals. 

Pest-Proofing in Schools 

Pests are, by nature, opportunistic and resourceful. The school community must be vigilant, year-round, in protecting students’ and teachers’ health and the school property from the diseases and damage associated with pests. 

The act of pest-proofing our schools is something we can all help to do. Although facility maintenance is a significant part of protecting children’s health in schools, it is only as good as the vigilance of our superintendents, administrators and facility managers. Consider this list of tips for pest-proofing schools as part of a solid IPM program.

  • Keep food sealed and stored properly, particularly in facility kitchens and cafeterias.
  • Clean high-volume areas, such as cafeterias and gymnasiums, daily where crumbs and trash are more likely to build up.
  • Dispose of garbage regularly and store in sealed containers.
  • Keep crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  • Look for rodent droppings and gnawing marks in food sources, which indicate a pest problem.
  • Seal cracks and holes on the outside of the school using caulk, steel wood or a combination of both. Pay special attention to entry points for utilities and pipes.
  • Keep tree branches and shrubbery well-trimmed and away from the building.
  • Keep basements and crawl spaces well ventilated and dry.
  • Repair decaying exterior wood on buildings; some insects are drawn to deteriorating wood.
  • Replace weather-stripping and repair loose mortar around basement foundation and windows.
  • Don’t overlook proper drainage at the foundation; install a drainage system, which will channel water away from the building.
  • Call a local pest control professional to identify the problem, survey for, and control the pests using an IPM approach.

Moreover, parents can support schools in preventing pest problems by implementing simple measures in the daily routine of their students. Be sure to clean out your child’s schoolbag each and every day. This will help to prevent pests from being transported from school to home and vice versa. Also, parents can be sure that any outdoor toys that might be brought to school for “Show and Tell” are cleaned and checked for pests before being passed around the classroom. Finally, parents can also do their part to pest-proof schools by properly packing lunches in sealed containers to prevent pests from finding their way into students’ food. When it comes to preventing pest problems in schools, it is a collaborative effort for all involved.

Tips for Selecting a Pest Professional Who Practices IPM

Follow the below tips to find a pest control professional who takes an IPM approach to getting rid of pests. 

  • Educate yourself about IPM; Remember you are seeking a unique and comprehensive treatment of your pest problem through: inspection, identification and treatment by a pest professional. 
  • Make phone calls to local pest control professionals to see if they practice IPM in the way it’s described throughout this website. 
  • Contact neighboring schools for recommendations of pest control companies they have used successfully and how satisfied they were with the service.
  • If a sizable amount of money is involved, feel free to solicit bids from several pest control firms.
  • Don’t rush a decision. You are paying for professional knowledge, so look for someone whose judgment you can trust.
  • Before signing a contract, be sure to fully understand the nature of the pest, the extent of the infestation, and the work necessary to solve the problem.
  • Find out if the pest professional has liability insurance to cover any damage to the school or its furnishings during treatment.
  • If a guarantee is given, know what it covers, how long it lasts, what you must do to keep it in force, and what kind of continuing control, prevention and management are necessary. 

View some additional tips for locating the right pest control service by clicking here. To find a licensed pest control professional in your area, visit our zip code locator. 

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