IPM for Facilities and Urban Areas
Pest-control operators and facilities managers face tough challenges in solving pest problems. Pesticide
use around infants and children, hospital patients,
food or other sensitive environments can create
real or perceived risks. IPM can help balance
these opposing interests.
|IPM principles for urban environments are the same as those for crops and ornamental plants: inspect regularly and thoroughly, identify problems accurately, act only when the expense is justified by the benefit, consider all possible management options, and choose the least toxic approach.
|The benefits are clear. Pest-control operators, many working under contract for a set monthly or annual fee, can cut costs by applying pesticides only when needed. Alternatives to pesticides, such as exclusion or sanitation, can sometimes provide permanent solutions to otherwise chronic problems, reducing complaints and callbacks. Communication with and education of the customer can build a strong, trusting relationship not susceptible to low-quote competition.
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This includes doorways, overhead doors, windows, holes in exterior walls, openings around pipes, electrical fixtures or ducts.
- Keep doors shut when not in use.
- Place weather-stripping on doors.
- Caulk and seal openings in walls.
- Install or repair screens.
- Install air curtains.
- Keep vegetation, shrubs and wood mulch at least one foot away from structures.
Classrooms and Offices
This includes classrooms, laboratories, administrative offices, auditoriums, gymnasiums and hallways.
- Allow food and beverages only in designated areas.
- If indoor plants are present, keep them healthy. When small insect infestations appear, remove them manually.
- Keep areas as dry as possible by removing standing water and water-damaged or wet materials.
- In the science lab, store animal foods in tightly sealed containers and regularly clean cages. In all areas, remove dust and debris.
- Routinely clean lockers and desks.
- If students get head lice, consult with your local health department and have their parents contact a physician. Discourage students from exchanging hats or caps at school.
Food Preparation and Serving Areas
This includes dining rooms, main kitchens, teacher's lounge, home economics kitchen, snack area, vending machines and food storage rooms.
- Store food and waste in containers that are inaccessible to pests. Containers must have tight lids and be made of plastic, glass or metal. Waste should be removed at the end of each day.
- Place screens on vents, windows, and floor drains to prevent cockroaches and other pests from using unscreened ducts or vents as pathways.
- Create inhospitable living conditions for pests by reducing availability of food and water — remove food debris, sweep up all crumbs, fix dripping faucets and leaks, and dry out wet areas.
- Improve cleaning practices, including promptly cleaning food preparation equipment after use and removing grease accumulation from vents, ovens and stoves. Use caulk or paint to seal cracks and crevices.
- Capture rodents by using mechanical or glue traps.
(Note: Place traps in areas inaccessible to children. Mechanical traps, including glueboards used in rodent control, must be checked daily. Dispose of killed or trapped rodents within 24 hours.)
Rooms and Areas with Extensive Plumbing
This includes bathrooms, rooms with sinks, locker rooms, dishwasher rooms, home economics classrooms, science laboratories, swimming pools and greenhouses.
- Promptly repair leaks and correct other plumbing problems to deny pests access to water.
- Routinely clean floor drains, strainers and grates. Seal pipe chases (open holes around pipes).
- Keep areas dry. Avoid conditions that allow formation of condensation. Areas that never dry out are conducive to molds and fungi. Increasing ventilation may be necessary.
- Store paper products or cardboard boxes away from moist areas and direct contact with the floor or the walls. This practice also allows for ease in inspection.
This includes boiler rooms, mechanical rooms, janitorial housekeeping areas and pipe chases.
- After use, promptly clean mops and mop buckets; dry mop buckets and hang mops vertically on rack above floor drain.
- Allow eating only in designated eating area.
- Clean trash cans regularly, use plastic liners in trash cans and use secure lids.
- Keep areas clean and as dry as possible; remove debris.
What is your policy?
Develop a clearly written policy statement. Pest control providers and clients need to agree on what IPM is and how it differs from non-IPM, calendar-scheduled, pesticide-intensive services.
Also important to include are the benefits IPM can deliver, what cooperation and participation is expected from all parties involved, how records will be kept, how pesticides will be selected, stored, and applied, and what notification procedures will be followed.
Define Roles and Communication
Who is involved, what is expected of each person, and how will everybody communicate? Building occupants play a major role in sanitation. How will they be educated? How will occupants communicate any pest problems they observe?
A designated pest management coordinator in the building can help coordinate information between occupants, decision-makers who make funding and contract decisions, and those who provide the pest control services.
Objectives and Action Thresholds
What is it that you propose to do? Protecting buildings and structures from damaging pests, maintaining healthy and attractive landscape and indoor plants, and preventing pests from disrupting activities of building occupants are possibilities.
What is and what is not acceptable to your clients? This needs to be determined for each potential pest. A single mouse inside a school building may be sufficient to require action. Several hundred aphids infesting an outdoor ornamental plant may not be noticeable, and may have no effect on the health of the plant.
Inspection and Reporting
Regular inspections for the presence of pests, pest entry ways, sanitation breakdowns, or other changes in conditions that might affect pest management are essential. The timing and frequency of these inspections should be agreed on upfront. Consider that the initial inspection will take much more time to complete.
Provide clear, thorough written reports to the persons with the authority to follow through on recommendations made. Reports should include which pests are present, which conditions are responsible for the problem, where pests are located, how many there are, whether numbers are over or under the action threshold, and which options are available to resolve the problem. Save a permanent copy of all reports.
Pests in buildings are looking for three essentials: shelter, food and water. Preventing entry, removing access to any one of the three essentials, vacuuming with equipment specifically designed for pest removal, or trapping can solve most problems without a single pesticide application. When pesticides do need to be applied, notify occupants properly, make spot treatments only, use bait and crack/crevice applications (not sprays or fogs), treat when buildings are not occupied, ventilate as needed, and follow all label instructions and restrictions.
Include a copy of the pesticide label and an MSDS (material safety data sheet) along with the date, time and place of application with your permanent report.
(Excerpted from Pest Control in the School Environment: Adapting Integrated Pest Management. Published by the U.S. EPA, Office of Pesticide Programs.)