School Pest News, Volume 12, Issue 9 December 2013

Using the holiday break

As the year comes to an end and students are out of school for two weeks. For most of us it’s a time to be with family and friends; however, before you go on break there are few items you should look into.

1) Winter is the time for colds and flu. Use the break for extra cleaning and disinfecting. According to the CDC, there is a big difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning with soap and water is adequate to remove dirt and most germs. But, to truly disinfect surfaces you must have a solution that will destroy all bacteria and germs. A 10% bleach solution will kill most germs and bacteria. Other disinfecting products are on the market, but be sure to read the label, to ensure your product truly disinfects.

Areas to be disinfected:

  • Classrooms – students & teachers desks, door handles, and other worktop areas
  • Food handling – counter tops, prep areas and service lines
  • Restrooms – door handles, bathroom fixtures, including toilet handles
  • Other – locker handles, telephones, computer workstations, door handles

classroom2) Its often said that the  is the most underutilized pest control device. With a vacuum you can eliminate pest problems sometimes faster and more effectively than pesticides. Spider webs, for example, are controlled most effectively by vacuuming.  A couple of tips: 1) place a teaspoon of corn starch in the bag to keep the live bugs in the bag, 2) when finished vacuuming, remove the bag, place sturdy tape over the opening and dispose in outside dumpster immediately.

Areas to vacuum:

  • Classrooms – behind cabinets and book shelves, in corners from floor to ceiling, window sills
  • Food handling – under storage racks, behind shelves, corners from floor to ceiling, remove panels from large equipment and vacuum the dust bunnies up
  • Other – storage closets, workrooms and other areas not frequently used

3) Water leaks can be very costly if they go undetected or un-fixed. Winter is a time of year when the drip, drip, drip of water can turn into a major problem should pipes freeze.

Areas to inspect:

  • Sinks and toilets – check that seals and fittings are secure and there is no moisture around the pipes.
  • Showers – check that the grout is dry when not in use, if it’s wet after several hours have gone by, then there is a good chance a pipe has broken underneath.
  • Food handling – check seals and fittings, make sure there is no condensation building up around pipe chases.
  • Irrigation systems – now is a good time to turn off all outdoor sprinkler systems, the only thing that would need constant watering is a newly sodded field. Winter is a time of rest for plants, trees, shrubs and grasses.

As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Make sure your building is ready for the new year by taking the time to clean, disinfect, vacuum, and repair water leaks. You’ll be glad you did.


Forget the rats…fix the problem  Blog Post by Mike Merchant

Sometimes pest problems can be so daunting that it’s easy to overlook the obvious solution. This was the case for many private and governmental PMPs in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Fortunately, the obvious didn’t escape the attention of Claudia Riegel, with the New Orleans Mosquito, Termite, and Rodent Control Board.
Riegel was recently featured in a National Public Radio (NPR) piece on the huge city rat problems after the hurricane.  While the city and many PMPs were scrambling to dump enough rodent bait in bait stations and sewers to plug the Mississippi levees, the problem wasn’t getting better.

Riegel’s solution was simple in concept.  “Forget the rats; fix the problems!”

Norway rat exploring for food

Norway rat exploring for food

By problems, of course, she meant the overgrown vegetation, poorly sealed buildings, overflowing trash dumpsters other sanitation lapses.  In other words, integrated pest management (IPM).

As the story correctly points out, consistently successful pest control has to start with making the environment less hospitable to pests.  And for some pest problems, until we do this, all the pesticide in the world isn’t going to make a big difference.  This is not to say that rodenticides (or any pesticides for given pests) shouldn’t be used; but they should be used in the context of changing the pest’s environment.

John McDonogh High School before IPM program was adopted

John McDonogh High School before IPM program was adopted

New Orleans’ rodent problems, I’m sure, haven’t gone away. And they didn’t improve overnight either.  But the improvements are tangible, according to Riegel.  Maybe there’s a daunting pest problem you’re facing right now. The answer could be to “forget the pest for a moment, and fix the problem.”

New IPM Video’s for Childcare Centers released by Cal DPR.

Do you want to train your staff in some simple IPM practices?  DPR’s new IPM videos for childcare centers can help get you started.  Pests can be a nuisance or even a health hazard in childcare centers.  Getting rid of them without using a lot of pesticides takes common sense, good cleaning practices, and some simple tools.  These new videos, produced by the Growing Up Green Child Care IPM program at the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, walk you through the process of integrated pest management (IPM*), with demonstrations of tools and practices filmed in real childcare centers.

Key points:

Cal DPR staff wrote and produced the video series with input from industry and university people.

The intended audience is childcare providers and center directors.  These videos are short and simple, fast-paced videos of narrator/inspector performing inspection tasks, shots of child care center, pests in situ and structural problems associated with pests.

Available in English, closed captioned in English, open captioned in Spanish


Video 1: Integrated Pest Management in Child Care Centers

  • What is integrated pest management and why should you do it?

Video 2: Keeping Pests Out of Your Child Care Center

  • Keeping pests out is easier than getting rid of them.

Video 3: Do You Have Pests in Your Child Care Center?

  • Find out where pests are hiding before doing any pest management.

Video 4: Getting Rid of Ants in Your Child Care Center

  • Find out how to get rid of ants without spraying many pesticides.

Video 5: Getting Rid of Cockroaches in Your Child Care Center

  • Find out how to get rid of cockroaches without spraying many pesticides.

Video 6: Getting Rid of Mice and Rats in Your Child Care Center

  • Find out how to get rid of mice and rats without spraying many pesticides.

Video 7: The California Healthy Schools Act

  • If you run a licensed childcare center in California, you need to comply with the Healthy Schools Act.


The childcare IPM web site is  but the links to the videos are through YouTube right now








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