School Pest News, Volume 13, Issue 11, November 2014

The Importance of Educating Staff about Your IPM Program

By: Janet A. Hurley, Extension Program Specialist II

Image of Staff Training in a class roomIntegrated pest management (IPM) is a process that requires cooperation among all school staff members, faculty and students and pest management professionals within a school district. IPM is a strategy of managing pests using multiple control tactics that provide the best control with the least cost and environmental impact. IPM is based on thorough knowledge of the pests and the technologies used to control them and can be performed by anyone with proper training. A good IPM program attempts to make schools less hospitable to pests by modifying the environment and by using the lowest impact pesticides necessary. Managing risks from pests and risks from the pesticides used to control them are top priorities under an IPM program.

Having a sustainable IPM program takes time, effort, and people. Simply adopting IPM tenets and practices is part of the solution, but having a well thought out program takes some effort. Each school or district should have a designated IPM coordinator (“The Bug Stops Here” person). All reports and complaints should be directed to the coordinator’s office. The IPM coordinator should be viewed as an important part of the overall environmental quality team for the school or district. When it comes to IPM, cooperation is the key to successful operation. The IPM Coordinator for the school system needs to be an individual who can work with upper administration, principals, teachers, custodians, food service, and maintenance. The IPM Coordinator needs to have the ability to request work orders and have some input regarding how repairs are made. This individual also needs to be able to request that custodial crews undertake special deep cleaning projects when necessary. The coordinator also needs to be able to work with food service staff on continual maintenance and implementation of IPM practices in order to make these areas less pest friendly. The coordinator must also have the ability to work with campus teachers and principals to change practices that cause conditions conducive for pests.

IPM is information intensive; the coordinator should have time to attend conferences and other educational programs so that he/she can keep up with all the trends on pests and pest treatments. The coordinator must also be able to communicate well with others; this includes composing emails and newsletters to district staff during certain periods of the school year when specific pest problems are common.

Training for staff:  Everyone within the school district has a role in IPM. All custodialstaff, food service personnel, and maintenance personnel should be trained to look for hidden problems. Teachers, principals, and coaches should be educated on when a pest problem is significant enough to warrant a pesticide treatment versus when a pest problem needs exclusion or sanitation remediation. Within the IPM program it is

Image of food on tables

Educating teachers and staff about food sources, especially during the holiday will keep unwanted visitors at bay.

everyone’s responsibility to help maintain the “health and well-being” of the school building. An IPM program will be received favorably when everyone is trained (especially teachers) as to why pests favor school buildings and what steps can be taken to keep ants and roaches out of classrooms. Most people do not understand that everyone has a role in the IPM program:  teachers and staff can properly store food in their classrooms; custodians can utilize effective cleaning practices; maintenance staff can seal up holes, which allow pests into the building; and anyone can report broken door sweeps. If everyone in the district understands the need to report properly, then pest complaints will decrease while the use of pesticides also decreases.

Roles of other staff in the IPM Program:

School Administrators:  Administrators should be aware of state laws about IPM in schools, pesticide use in schools, and any other regulations addressing pest management. Administrators should be familiar with the district’s IPM policy. The IPM program needs administrative support for sustainability and effectiveness. The IPM Coordinator should communicate with school administrators on a regular basis. The most important responsibilities of administrators are to:

  • Adopt and maintain an IPM policy.
  • Include IPM as part of your health and/or safety committee(s).
    • SHAC (School Health Advisory Councils)
  • Designate and train a competent IPM Coordinator.
  • Support priorities for maintenance and sanitation, as identified by the IPM Coordinator.
  • Encourage faculty and staff understanding and full participation in the IPM program.

School Nurses:  School nurses should be aware of the IPM Policy, IPM Plan, and pesticides on school property. Be familiar with the signs and symptoms of pesticide poisoning. Be aware of signs of pest exposure including head lice, fire ants, bed bugs, asthma, rabies and mosquito and tick-borne diseases present in the region. The nurse should be able to communicate with the IPM Coordinator about such concerns. A nurse should:

  • Be aware of any children or staff with asthma, chemical sensitivities, or allergies to stinging insects.
  • Have information on IPM strategies for pests that can affect student health.
  • Keep a list of students who have serious reactions to stinging insects and communicate this information to the IPM Coordinator

Students and Teachers:  Students and teachers need to be trained on how to report pest sightings. Using pest sighting logs and/or a work order system allows teachers report their concerns to the IPM coordinator. The teacher can act as the liaison from the student to the IPM coordinator. Students and teachers must also understand the necessity of keeping facilities clean:

  • Leaving NO food in lockers, classrooms, and common areas
  • NO eating or drinking in areas not designated for food consumption.
  • NO clutter, which can provide shelter and makes inspection and cleaning difficult


The National Pesticide Information Center’s mobile web app “MAPL” = Mobile Access to Pesticides and Labels

By: Kaci Buhl, Project Coordinator, National Pesticide Information Center, Oregon State University

Did you know that there is a Pesticide Product Search from NPIC – Available now!

  • How many permethrin products are used on dogs?
  • Are there any products available for grub control in mint?
  • I just need to peek at the label for Clorox Bleach.

The National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) at Oregon State University created a tool that can help. It’s available online and has been used by hundreds of professionals already. It’s optimized for tablets and smart phones, so you can use it on the go.

This is a mobile web app, rather than a native app. It operates within a browser, does not have to be downloaded, and is updated automatically without bothering the user. Mobile web apps are ideal for tools that require frequent updates and are used weekly, rather than daily. You can create an icon for the desktop of your device by bookmarking the app.

It’s called “Mobile Access to Pesticides and Labels” or MAPL. It was designed for professionals with basic training in pesticide registration. You can search for pesticide products by name, registrant, or EPA Registration number. You can also search by any combination of active ingredients, pests, and (use) sites. Site-pest combinations are popular with NPIC staff. For example, what can be used for (this) pest in (that) place?

When results are returned, and the user selects a product, that screen provides quick details about the product. It also includes a link to the most recent version of the EPA Stamped-Accepted-Label (SAL) in pdf. Links are provided leading to state-level searches and other tools. A product detail screen can also be bookmarked.

Here’s a quick video tutorial:

For more information about NPIC apps visit their website at  To learn more about NPIC NPIC is operated through a cooperative agreement between Oregon State University and the Office of Pesticide Programs (#X8-83560101). You can call them with questions Monday – Friday, 8:00 am – 12:00 pm Pacific Time.

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