With increasing public concern about pesticide use, it has never been more important for us to reevaluate pesticide use in and around our schools. Keeping our children safe should always be our first priority. Pests in schools also cause concern because they can cause allergies and have been found to be asthma triggers. Others carry bacteria and transmit diseases. A concept called Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, can help you manage pests while improving human health and safety and protect the environment. IPM uses a variety of methods, such as sanitation (keeping things clean), exclusion (keeping pests out), habitat modification (sealing holes), moisture control, biological controls (natural predators), mechanical controls (fly swatters or trapping) and low-toxic chemical controls to get rid of pests.
As part of an effort called School IPM 2015, we here in Nebraska began a coalition consisting of representatives from University Extension, pest control companies, School districts, PTA, Nebraska Department of Ag, Winnebago tribe, EPA, NHHS, and child care organizations. We meet quarterly to discuss current "hot topics" such as bed bugs as well as how to implement IPM in the state of Nebraska.
Our most recent meeting was April 7th at a middle school here in Lincoln, NE. We are going to be doing demonstration projects in Omaha and Lincoln Public schools, where we will do pest assessments in the school and help the school implement IPM principles to control and prevent pests. This is an educational experience that we hope will benefit everyone involved...school districts, the pest management professionals who work with the schools, and of course we here in Extension!
Our official demonstration begins June 22 and June 23 at each of the two schools. We'll be doing some in-service training in May and August.
This blog will take you through the process of our Nebraska IPM effort. We hope you enjoy and find concepts here that you can apply in your own home or school to manage pests!