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Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in Schools Brochure

IPM in Schools for Healthier Students

Protecting childrens’ health is a top priority for the EPA. Our Nation’s children, teachers, and
educational support staff spend a considerable amount of time at school. Over 53 million
students are taught by 6.5 million adults in more than 120,000 K-12 schools.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a powerful strategy to protect the health of students and adults alike. IPM is an effective and environmentally sensitive comprehensive approach to pest management. IPM programs reduce exposure to pests and pesticides, are cost effective, and reduce pesticide use and pest complaints.

With this in mind, EPA is working with an extensive network of partners to bolster IPM adoption in schools. IPM in schools is a national effort to make safe, effective pest
management standard practice in all of the Nation’s schools.

IPM for Every School!

Only a small percentage of U.S. K-12 schools have verifiable IPM programs. Improperly
managed pest problems and unnecessary pesticide use impact our children’s health
and our ability to educate them effectively. Some pests are known to spread disease, bite,
cause allergic reactions, and cause asthma attacks. Such pests commonly found in and
around schools include flies, cockroaches, mosquitoes, spiders, and rodents. Because
protecting children’s health is a top priority, EPA encourages schools to adopt IPM practices.

What is IPM?

Integrated Pest Managment (IPM) programs use comprehensive information about pest life
cycles and the influence of the environment to choose the best methods for controlling pest
populations. This information is used to manage pests economically, with the least possible
hazard to health, property, and the environment. A successful IPM program takes advantage
of all pest management strategies, including prevention, inspection, communication,
biopesticide use, and judicious and careful use of pesticides when necessary.

Benefits of IPM:
Reduces Exposure to Pests
Reduces Exposure to Pesticides
Reduces Pest Management Costs

The IPM Approach

IPM controls pests by determining where, when, and what kind of management strategies are needed.  Pests are attracted to areas that provide shelter, food, and water to them. Schools can reduce pests by identifying and removing conditions that will attract them.

IPM’s multipronged pest control approach can make your school safer for children, teachers, and staff.

IPM Can Save Money

  • Fixing leaky faucets to save on water and reduce pests
  • Sealing cracks and openings to reduce energy costs and limit entryways for pests
  • Using IPM approach to reduce pesticide application costs

School districts around the nation report saving thousands of dollars by implementing IPM.

Easy IPM Techniques

Preventive measures are easy to implement and often improve the overall maintenance of the school. These measures can include:

  • Maintaining good sanitation practices
  • Installing high-density door sweeps
  • Restricting where food is eaten
  • Moving dumpsters and food disposal containers away from the school
  • Pressure-cleaning food service areas
  • Sealing cracks and crevices
  • Cleaning gutters and directing water flow away from building to prevent saturation

Program Evaluation

In addition to adopting preventive measures, an IPM approach includes evaluating a school’s pest management practices and choosing lower-risk methods of pest removal and prevention. When developing an IPM program, schools should consider methods that:

  • Minimize health risks to people and the environment
  • Minimize disruption of the natural, outdoor environment
  • Are least toxic to species that are not pests
  • Prevent a recurrence of the pest infestation
  • Are easy to implement

Implementing an IPM Program

Schools may choose to create their own IPM programs independent of school districts. In most cases, however, a district-wide policy statement from the school board is useful in promoting a common set of guidelines and policies. Each school district designs its own parameters for pest management, and the individual schools design management plans tailored to their own needs and specifications.

To develop an effective IPM program, your school should consider creating a committee of administrators, teachers, and parents to:
•   Coordinate pest management procedures
•   Facilitate communication between the school, parents, and pest management provider
•   Evaluate the program’s progress and success

Implementing a school IPM program takes dedication and commitment. School administrators, teachers, parents, and students can find information to assist in this process at the EPA’s IPM in Schools Web site:

IPM Program Certification and Recognition
Your school or district may choose to have its IPM programs certified or recognized.  When seeking IPM certification, look for a widely recognized program that provides:

  • Assistance in developing, maintaining, and sustaining your IPM program
  • Evaluation of your program
  • A list of certified IPM service providers

If seeking recognition for your IPM efforts, your school or district may be interested in joining the EPA’s Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program, a partnership program for reducing pest and pesticide risk.

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