School IPM Best Practices

IPM Basics

Think Ahead

IPM means thinking ahead: be prepared, use prevention, stay alert, consider your options, choose wisely, evaluate your results.

Be Prepared

Know what pests you can you expect in your environment and how you can avoid them. Learn which tactics work—under which conditions—should pests show up in your buildings and on school property. Learn about the beneficial organisms that can help you out.

Think Prevention

  • Keep pests out: caulk and seal cracks and holes from the bottom up—foundation to roof vents
  • Don’t feed pests: keep it clean, inside and out, with proper sanitation
  • Keep plants and lawns healthy so they resist pests better

Stay Alert

Scout routinely, keeping tabs on potential pests. Know your threshold—the point when a few pests become a few too many.

Consider Your Options

Every tactic has a cost. Will your benefits justify the costs? Know all the options before you commit. Always know the law for pesticide use in your area.

Choose Wisely and Use Wisely

Choose tactics and tools that provide the best results while keeping environmental costs as low as possible and staying within your budget. Whatever option you settle on—do it right! Remember: the label is the law.

Evaluate Your Results

How did it work? How much has the situation changed? What did you learn? What is left to learn?

—Taken from the Northeastern IPM Center and adapted from definitions provided by the New York State IPM Program.

Why Is IPM So Important in Schools?

Children are more sensitive than adults to pesticide exposure, and pests such as cockroaches can cause health problems. Pests must be dealt with using least-toxic methods.

The EPA and most states recommend (some require) IPM practices on school grounds. Starting an IPM program has an initial cost, but once established, usually costs less than traditional pesticide-centered treatments. Since children spend so much time at school, IPM is important to the health of students, as well as staff.

How Can Your School Benefit from Using IPM?

Over time, you can expect to see fewer pests, fewer pest-related incidents, and spend less money than traditional treatments.

Adopt the basic rules of IPM:

  • Learn about the pests you are battling.
  • Practice proactive measures such as scouting and exclusion.
  • Keep indoor areas clean, dry, and uncluttered.
  • Always keep records of pest activity—where, when, and your treatments as well as effectiveness.
  • Outdoors, improve turf and ornamentals’ chance to thrive by understanding the plant’s needs.
  • Talk with staff, teachers, parents, coaches, and students about ways to work together.
  • Use this resource and the links provided to learn about pests and their control.
  • Join professional organizations and attend workshops.

Colorado Coalition for School IPM: Benefits of Integrated Pest Management in Schools