This blog discusses the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in Nebraska Schools. IPM utilizes a variety of methods, such as sanitation, exclusion, mechanical controls, and biological controls to manage pests. IPM strives to reduce pesticide use, improve human health and safety, and protect the environment.
Last week Clyde, IPM coalition member Gina from Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department, and I went to visit a child care center in Lincoln that was interested in hearing more about IPM and a possible "no-pesticide" approach to pests after a board member had expressed concern over pesticide use in the day care.
After talking with the director, we found that other than a few ants and spiders, they hadn't seen or had many insect problems. Their primary issue was with mice in the back storage room. We asked about their pest control company, and the director explained that they had had two different companies in recent years, one that made preventative (spraying) visits more often than the other. For the mice, they had placed bait boxes, glue traps, and live traps out. After investigating, we saw definite signs of mice...droppings, chewing, and a sticky trap full of fur from which a mouse had escaped. We gave the director some tips about putting snap traps out, since the storage room isn't accessible to children, and about sealing up places where mice could enter.
Outside, we found two vents that needed screening, and that alone would probably reduce mouse entrance points.
We also explained that the child care center could write up an IPM policy to fit their needs and account for potential circumstances. For example, a statement in their policy might indicate that pesticides (least toxic ones) would only be used if absolutely necessary (such as gels or boric acid for cockroaches), and otherwise they would use non-toxic methods. The director seemed pleased with our suggestions and we told her that we'd provide her with some written recommendations for their facility.
Do you have other suggestions that might help this child care facility? Be sure to comment on this post!