Monday, February 28, 2011

Omaha Public Schools 4th visit

On February 24th, our Extension team visited the OPS demonstration school for the 4th Integrated Pest Managment walkthrough. We had a really good turnout...with three PMPs from the contracted company; the IPM Coordinator (head custodian); and environmental and operations professionals from the main OPS office, who have been heavily involved in this effort, all attending.

As we did with LPS, we first spent some time in the conference room discussing questions they had about the recommendations we had provided from our third visit, and about IPM Star. The school and the district are still working out a good system for communicating pest sightings to the pest control company and keeping records in the log book. Although the log books are in place, we encouraged the IPM Coordinator and PMPs to strive to write more details about what has been seen by the school (including teacher and other staff reports) and the resulting treatments done by the PMPs. This will be an important element for IPM Star Certification.

After our meeting, we conducted a walkthrough...visiting the kitchen and kitchen storage, staff lounge, home ec, portable perimeter, boiler room and custodial closets, all of which we'd had concerns about in the past.

The kitchen had had a pretty bad German roach problem when we first began these visits and this has improved dramatically due to better monitoring and cleaning. We did find some active oriental roaches in one corner of the kitchen near sinks and manager's office, which will need to be addressed. We also found some phorid (humpbacked) flies and a moth fly on some of the traps, indicating there is still some moisture and sanitation issues. We encouraged the school to continue their sanitation (especially deep cleaning) efforts, and the PMPs to place more sticky traps to provide for more extensive monitoring.

The kitchen storage room didn't have many problems, although we did find that the trash can handles were made with holes that provided harborage sites and a good place for debris to accumulate. We recommended that these holes be sealed. We also recommended that plastic pallets being used for storage be moved further away from walls so that they don't hinder inspection efforts.

The staff lounge was also vastly improved from it's original high German roach infestation. Much of this probably had to do with removal of conducive furniture (couches, etc.), old wallpaper, and an old pop machine. We encourage continued monitoring in this room.

The boiler room was in good condition as well, but we recommended a continued effort to keep floor drains covered to discourage rats.

One custodial closet had a German roach problem, with nymphs found on traps. Increased sanitation and application of roach gel bait is necessary in this room.

Finally, we visited the home ec room...although we didn't find any roaches as we have in the past, there was a lot of sanitation issues, such as grime under and around stoves, a large hole in the wall under one sink, and clothes behind the washing machine. We spoke with the home ec teacher, who told us about seeing roaches in the past and believing it was a pretty bad infestation. This is another place where sanitation measures should be increased as well as continued monitoring.

Outside,Stephen Vantassel took a look at the perimeter around the portable classrooms. There was evidence of animal entry in holes around the portables. The school will need to take measures to fill in these holes (after making sure the animal is gone) to prevent new inhabitants from moving in.

Overall, the school has made some good improvements, especially in the reduction of German roaches in the kitchen and staff lounge areas. But there are still other improvements and ongoing general IPM practices we are going to encourage them to implement.

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