The Integrated Pest Management in Schools and on School Grounds Law defines IPM
as "a managed pest control program in which methods are integrated and used to keep
pests from causing economic, health related, or aesthetic injury through the utilization
of site or pest inspections, pest population monitoring, evaluating the need for control,
and the use of one or more pest control methods including sanitation, structural repair,
non-chemical methods, and, when nontoxic options are unreasonable or have been exhausted,
pesticides in order to minimize the use of pesticides and minimize the risk to human health
and the environment associated with pesticide applications."
Pest control in schools is essential to protect both the health and safety of the
children and staff, minimize pest damage to structures and personal property, and improve
the quality of the educational environment. To meet these goals, the Maryland Department
of Agriculture works cooperatively with Maryland public school systems to implement an IPM
program to control pests in schools. In order to have a successful IPM program, teachers,
parents and students should have an understanding of what an IPM program is and what role
they have in helping to ensure that the IPM program will be effective.
Practices such as sanitation, excluding pests through structural repairs, and education
comprise the routine IPM service. A combination of these practices achieve an effective
long term pest control program. The basic components of IPM are:
- MONITORING - Monitoring is the regular surveillance of an area for
pests using traps, visual inspections, and interviews with staff. Surveys are conducted to
determine if a pest problem exists, the location and size of the infestation, and conditions
that may contribute to pest problems.
- SANITATION/STRUCTURAL REPAIRS - Pest problems often can be prevented
through proper sanitation, reduction of clutter and pest harborage, and performing small
repairs that exclude pests from a structure.
- COMMUNICATION - Staff and student cooperation in correcting conditions
that contribute to pest problems is essential to the success of an IPM program. Training and
educational programs on subjects such a pest identification, biology, and sanitation can be
conducted to promote understanding and assistance with the IPM program.
- RECORD KEEPING - Monitoring data on pest numbers and observations on
housekeeping and structural deficiencies are recorded in a logbook maintained in each facility.
A section of each logbook is reserved for use by staff to alert the pest management technician of
pest sightings between scheduled services.
- PEST CONTROL WITHOUT PESTICIDES - IPM practices such as trapping,
screening, caulking, steam cleaning and power washing are effective long term pest control
methods. Non-pesticidal pest control practices can be effective and applied with a high degree
- PEST CONTROL WITH PESTICIDES - Pesticide use may be necessary in an
IPM program to effectively control pest infestations, but only can be used after non-chemical
methods fail. Pesticide applications should only be done as a last resort and be applied in a
manner that will maximize the effectiveness in controlling the target pest and minimize the
exposure to humans and other nontarget species.
- PROGRAM EVALUATION - Monitoring data and observations are periodically
summarized and reviewed to evaluate program effectiveness. IPM practices and procedures are
continually adopted and modified based on past experience and results, and knowledge, gained
over time, of the problems associated with each facility.
- QUALITY ASSURANCE - Technical oversight provides an objective, on-going
evaluation of program activities and effectiveness. Whether provided by in-house or contracted
pest control personnel, oversight and review are critical to maintaining an effective IPM program.
Integrated Pest Management is different from a traditional pest control service. IPM programs
can significantly reduce the use of pesticides through the use of technical expertise in identifying
and encouraging the use of more permanent non-pesticidal control practices that are proactive in
preventing pest problems.
Each IPM program is specifically designed to meet the individual needs of the area serviced.
The success of a school IPM program depends on the assistance and cooperation of the administration,
staff and students in each facility. Improvements in sanitation, housekeeping, and facility structure
can only be initiated by the occupants of each facility.
IPM does work and is a safe and effective way to control pests. IPM is a program, but unlike
traditional pest control programs, IPM cannot be used intermittently to solve a single pest problem
and then be discontinued. IPM must be a continuing program in order to manage the environment where
pests live and address future pest management needs.