- School IPM Home
- Laws & Regulations
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- California School IPM Guidebook
- Background on IPM
- Identification of Common School Pests
- Pest Prevention and Management
- Contracting for IPM Services
The California School IPM Guidebook is a model program guidebook developed by DPR staff and edited by Belinda Messenger, Tanya Drlik and Madeline Brattesani. It was designed to be used by school districts who wish to adopt a least-hazardous integrated pest management program. more...
The Healthy Schools Act established
"effective, least-toxic pest management practices" as a policy
goal for public schools statewide. To implement this policy,
DPR is promoting voluntary integrated pest management (IPM)
programs in all California schools.
The basic elements of a school IPM program are:
- Monitoring and use of thresholds
- Use of least-hazardous treatments
In an IPM program, prevention is
always the preferred strategy. Prevention includes appropriate
design of school facilities, sanitation, maintenance, and a
long list of other strategies. The aim of prevention is to create
an environment that is not conducive to pest colonization, growth,
Monitoring is another essential element of IPM. By keeping track of pest populations, pest managers know whether pests are reaching unacceptable levels, and whether treatment is really necessary. Similarly, monitoring reveals whether pest treatments have been effective. The usual alternative to monitoring-calendar treatments-often result in unnecessary pesticide use. When pesticides are used, a good IPM practitioner will use the least hazardous effective products possible.
Finally, communication is particularly important in school IPM programs. Because school programs depend on so many different people-administrators, food service workers, janitorial staff, teachers, and hired contractors, to name a few-it is essential that each school set up a system of reporting problems, notifying staff of prevention issues, and recording actions taken.
- New California’s Use of IPM in Managing Pests in Schools (PDF 1.4 mb): This article published by Outlooks on Pest Management February 2010 describes the successful introduction of Integrated Pest Management strategies in California’s schools.
Identification is one of the first steps in the IPM process. Though they may appear very similar, different species of pest may have very different biologies and treatment methods. Below are some online resources that may help.
- UCIPM Key to Identifying Common Household Ants. This resource includes the ant species that are most likely to be a nuisance around California homes and structures, with a step-by-step key, illustrations, photos, and species summaries. From the Univ. of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UCIPM).
- UCIPM Weed Photo Gallery. The UC IPM Weed Photo Gallery includes many, but not all, weed species commonly found in California farms and landscapes, organized by common name.
- Virginia Tech Insect Identification Laboratory. Here you will find a simple, nontechnical key to major insect groups, and more.
- Pest identification web links-West Virginia University. A collection of web sites specializing in insect identification.
The resources below can help in choosing effective, least hazardous prevention and management strategies for specific pests. (NOTE: DPR does not endorse the use of specific products)
- School IPM Publications - Includes IPM curicula, guidebook, practices for common pests, posters, recordkeeping calendar and more.
- “Fight the Bite” handouts on proper repellent use, protecting workers from mosquitoes, and a home and garden checklist to prevent mosquitoes. The Department of Pesticide Regulation developed these handouts in cooperation with the State Department of Health Services and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
- Pest Prevention: Construction Guidelines and Practices. This checklist of guidelines and practices can be used in the planning, construction, remodeling, retrofit or repair of school buildings.
- DPR Pest Information Series:
- Pest Prevention: maintenance practices and facility design.A checklist of over 150 pest prevention tactics specifically designed for schools, organized by type of practice and location.
- UCIPM Pest Notes and Pest Guidelines. An authoritative source on biology, prevention, and treatment alternatives of common household pests in California. Click on a pest below.
- Head lice
- Turf insect pests
- Vertebrate pests
- Weeds (general)
- Yellowjackets and wasps
- Least toxic alternatives for Argentine ants, fleas, and white grubs of lawns [pdf]. A DPR Pest Management Assessment by Dr. Nita Davidson
- Pest Fact Sheets-Contra Costa Sanitary District. Common urban and landscape pests, their diagnosis, prevention, and control.
About 80% of California schools surveyed reported using independent contractors for some or all of their pest management needs. However, some contractors depend heavily on calendar-based, routine pesticide treatments. This approach can result in overuse of pesticides and is not appropriate in IPM programs.
School districts can enhance their IPM programs and reduce pesticide use by taking a few simple steps:
- Use contract language that promotes good IPM practices.
- In selecting a contractor, look for more than simply the lowest bidder. Good pest monitoring and prevention efforts take time, but can save money in the longer term.
- Take time to set up an effective communication system with contractors and all concerned school staff regarding pest reporting, planned pest treatments, and recommended prevention measures.
- Hiring a Pest Control Company from University of California Statewide IPM Project’s Pest Notes (2006)
- Choosing a Pest Control Company (PDF, 321 kb) from the U.S. EPA Citizen’s Guide to Pest Control and Pesticide Safety (1995). To view the entire document, see http://www.epa.gov/oppfead1/Publications/Cit_Guide/citguide.pdf (PDF, 2.23 mb)