Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a term used to describe various methods we can use to keep schools clean and free of pests. A pest is any unwanted animal, such as rodents or insects, or plant, such as weeds. Pests are just like any living thing and need water, food, and shelter. Below you will learn about some of the methods used to control pests and how IPM works. Share these with your teachers or other adults in your school and encourage them to practice IPM!
Ways that we can control pests include:
- Keeping things clean and picked up
- Changing the environment so that pests do not like where they are
- Setting traps to catch pests
- Putting animals who like to eat pests, like praying mantises or ladybugs, out to capture them
- Having responsible adults apply chemicals that kill pests IPM considers pest control strategies that protect humans, pets, wildlife, and the environment.
We can divide IPM up into some easy as ABC steps:
A for Access the pest problem
- Monitor for pest activity--watch for pests, what do they do? Where might they live; what do they eat and drink?
- Inspect for pests and identify them--what are the pests?
- Observe pest activity--do you see live pests? Where are they?
- Trap pests to monitor and ID--check sticky traps to see what you've caught!
- Write down what you find. Determine how to make the pests go away--talk to your teacher or another adult
B for Begin Control
- Notification--adults at your school should let you know by letter, flyers, or other methods if pesticides are going to be used in the school
- Sanitation --keep things clean!
- Keep food areas clean and clutter free
- Keep trash cans empty
- Fix appliances and sinks, check vents
- Keep humidity below 50%--pests love moisture!
- Remove pest food, water, and shelter
- Exclusion--keep the pest out!
- Make sure cracks and crevices are sealed up so pests can't hide there
- Seal screens and windows tightly--pests can get in even slight openings in windows
- Use vacuum cleaners and traps to keep pests from the building
- Non-chemical and Low-toxic methods--listed below are controls that adults may use get rid of pests and what they do:
- Gel baits--stomach poison
- Traps for identification, monitoring, and control
- Pheromones--trick the males into thinking there are females around
- Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs)--keep young insects from getting to adulthood
- Dessiccating Dusts--dry out the pest
- Pesticide soaps and oils--they don't keep pests clean, they clog their pores!
C for Check effectiveness and Communicate
- Continue monitoring
- Compare with previous pest activity--do you still see as many pests as before?
- Trap pests and identify to see what still needs managing
- Write down what you find.
- Evaluate the success of your program
- What worked well? What could be improved?
- Develop an official IPM Policy and/or Plan
- The adults in your school may want to create a written document to help them handle future pest problems
- Continue correspondence--you may hear more about ongoing efforts in your school through teachers, your parents, or pest professionals!