Friday, September 24, 2010

LPS Second Visit

On Sept 23, Clyde, Barb and I began our second visit to the Lincoln demonstration school by meeting with the staff, which included the principal, operations manager, head custodian, director of food services, and two PMPs, including the technician who services the school. We discussed that we'd be checking traps set last time and visiting vulnerable areas. We also talked about the recordkeeping process they have in place. Currently, this school keeps a pest log in the custodial office, but they are likely going to make a second set of pest sighting sheets available in the main office to simplify the pest reporting process for staff.

After the short discussion, we made our way to visit the food storage and kitchen areas, home ec, staff lounge, boiler room, and custodial closets/offices.

Food storage was good about primarily using open metal shelves! They did have a few wooden pallets and lots of cardboard boxes, but the area was clean, neat, and dry. We recommended they just discard the pallets and reduce the cardboard.

The kitchen is a pest vulnerable area, as we have seen in visits to many other schools, and we did find traps with Orientals and Germans, as well as a German cockroach hiding behind a bulletin board! We gave them similar recommendations as OPS of deep cleaning everything (behind and beneath equipment, floors, drains, etc.), caulking around the bulletin boards, and setting out more traps to continue monitoring.

The staff lounge was in overall good shape...the traps primarily had incidentals but we had found some mouse droppings under a sink last time, so encouraged them to put out snap traps.

The Home ec room looked good...sinks were clean underneath with no storage of pesticide, and stoves, sinks, etc. were clean overall.

In the boiler room, we saw two live wolf big as half my thumb! I got this great picture of one before Clyde started telling me it would jump on me. I wasn't sure whether to believe him, but I wasn't taking any chances :-) so I moved back and let someone perform some "mechanical" IPM on the spider with his shoe! We also saw some dead Orientals on the floor, a bag with pop cans, and various areas with debris and dirt. We encouraged the school to address an area of standing water near the water softener, especially since Orientals love and thrive on lots of moisture.

We looked at several custodial closets and with the exception of some clutter/debris and some cans of pesticide that we recommended they remove, they were in good shape. Mops were hung, trash bags were changed daily, and most buckets were dry.

The LPS school, like OPS, is well on its way to implementing their IPM program. Both schools have or will be receiving recommendations after this second visit that will help guide them in the process.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Healthy Tribal Communities Training

September 14th brought Clyde, Barb, and myself from UNL, Mark from IA State, Jim and Jon from South Dakota State, and Sue Ratcliffe from Illinois to Sioux City, IA to provide training on IPM to tribes in EPA region 7. Mike Daniels, who has joined us in both our South Dakota and Nebraska IPM in Schools projects, organized the training with the help of Dick Wiechman from EPA.

The agenda included talks on general IPM, pest ID, pest species (cockroaches, ants, flies, bed bugs, rodents, and head lice), pesticides and pesticide labels, and recordkeeping.

Following the presentations, we took the group of about 35 people, representing tribes from several states, to a local high school, where we did a walkthrough of the kitchen, home ec room, special ed room, custodial area, and perimeter. It was a great educational opportunity to teach the participants about IPM and what process we have followed when visiting schools. We showed them particular conducive conditions and vulnerable areas and what pests might be common in those situations. We hope they are able to take what they learned into their own school systems and practice IPM!

Second IPM Visit to Omaha Public Schools

On Sept 9, we visited our OPS demonstration school for the second time. Clyde, Barb, Stephen and I met with administration and staff to discuss how they were progressing on developing a recordkeeping book. They are going to create a print notebook that will either be housed with the IPM coordinator or in the main office that both the staff and the pest management professional can access. The principal mentioned that she will also send information about it out on a school listserv to make staff aware that they can report pest sightings.

After these discussions we visited the kitchen, staff lounge, food storage area, custodial closets and other areas we had seen during the first visit. There is still a roach problem (primarily German in the kitchen and primarily Oriental in the boiler room) and we gave recommendations on how to approach this issue. We were very pleased to see that the Roach prufe that had been applied under Home Ec sinks had been removed. We encouraged the head custodian (IPM Coordinator) to also remove other pesticides, such as Raid, from the facility. We also checked sticky traps and noted what pests were found and replaced with new traps in the same areas to continue monitoring.

Outside, Stephen gave advice on how to better "insulate" portable classrooms from wildlife and rodents, including using hardcloth, sealing holes, and putting crushed gravel or other appropriate materials around foundations where there are gaps.

We will be sending out written recommendations soon...some of them are general practices we have told other schools...remove pesticides such as Raid, check entryways and replace doorsweeps where necessary, reduce moisture and clutter, and increase sanitation in vulnerable areas.

At the tail end of our visit, we also found a great biological control, a Chinese praying mantis, who was in the landscape. I took him home for a few days, then let him go on some bushes at UNL :-)