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Integrated Pest Management in Schools: Be Safe This Halloween!

Make It and Take It by Franklin Park Library, on Flickr.comThe only bugs and rodents that kids should see during this time of year are those made of plastic. After all, the rubbery spider hanging from the ceiling is a classic. With the emergence of pests starting to overwinter, Washington and Oregon pest control experts remind schools and parents to practice integrated pest management, or IPM, to enhance the safety of their environment.

What is Integrated Pest Management?

IPM is a decision making process that focuses on using the least toxic methods available to prevent and control pests. These methods include:

  • Physical exclusion, which makes it difficult for a pest to enter a potential habitat
  • Removing harborage sites, such as nests
  • Modifying a habitat so it’s not attractive to pests
  • Consumer information

When an Oregon or Washington pest management expert needs to use a chemical application, he chooses one that’s the least toxic and target specifically for the pest in question.

Practicing IPM in Schools and at Home

Pesticide use in an environment can affect the growth, health and development of children, particularly because they spend more time on or close to the ground. In addition to posing long-term health risks, the toxins can also immediately affect a child’s concentration, ability to learn and health. For this reason, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends non-chemical and natural pest control solutions, such as eliminating sources of water, food and shelter in and around a building always be the first step in control or prevention.

Pest control techniques that schools and parents can easily employ to keep kids safe include:

  • Teaching kids about common pests, how to avoid them and what to do if they find one. (For example, don’t share hats to prevent head lice. Put away your food when you finish eating. Find an adult when you see a scary-looking pest, like a mouse. Don’t squish “helper bugs,” such as ladybugs and bees. )
  • Know which pests emerge during different seasons.
  • Be aware of common pests in school environments that may be harmful to children and adults, such as flies, cockroaches, mice, yellow jackets and termites.
  • Identify the pest and monitor their habits so you can take a targeted approach at controlling it.
  • Make the building and grounds less attractive to pests.
  • If necessary, use the least toxic chemicals in targeted areas to control pests. Use the pesticide when children won’t be around for several weeks and post signs that alert others about the presence of chemicals.
  • Contact an integrated pest management expert when you can’t handle an infestation on your own or doing poses a safety or health hazard (i.e., removing a rodent or wasp nest).

Eden Pest offers integrated pest management and natural pest control solutions for schools that complies with EPA, LEED and Star Certification standards. Our Washington and Oregon pest control technicians make it a priority to prevent and control infestations in ways that make it possible to protect the health of our customers and the environment.

[ Photo by: Franklin Park Library, on Flickr, via CC License ]

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