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Managing Pests

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Managing Pests Using IPM

Integrated pest management (IPM) is not a single pest management method but a series of pest management evaluations, decisions, and actions. The basic elements of an IPM program are:

  • Prevention
    • Practice good sanitation and regular maintenance in order to create an environment that is not conducive to pest establishment, growth, or reproduction.
  • Pre-Established Action Levels
    • Determine a point at which pest populations or environmental conditions indicate that action must be taken. Action levels may vary by site, pest, and season. Finding a single pest does not always mean immediate action is needed.
  • Monitoring and Identification
    • Keep track of pest populations to determine if pests are reaching your pre-established action levels. This will help determine what type of treatment, if any, is necessary and reveals whether pest treatment has been effective.
  • Using least-hazardous methods
    • Once prevention, action levels, and monitoring indicate that pest management is needed, evaluate the proper management methods for both effectiveness and risk. Effective, non-chemical pest management practices, including mechanical options such as hand-pulling weeds or vacuuming up cockroaches, are chosen first, followed by least hazardous chemical options, such as low toxicity products or highly targeted chemicals like pheromones that disrupt mating. It's a good idea to check for alternatives to pesticides first.
  • Communication
    • Since school IPM programs depend on so many different people, it is essential that each school set up a system of reporting problems, notifying staff of issues, and recording actions taken. Working together will help reduce pest problems and the use of chemicals.

The California School IPM Guidebook is designed to be a reference tool for schools. Use the Guidebook to implement an IPM program which will help to maintain a safe learning environment for children by using the least hazardous methods to manage pests.

More Information

  • Integrated Pest Management for Schools video series - These entertaining, short videos contain practical integrated pest management tips from experts. Topics covered in this video series include pest prevention in school buildings; inspecting and monitoring for pests; IPM for ants, cockroaches, gophers, and turfgrass weeds; and more. Watch the entire video series in English (with English and Spanish closed caption option) or En Español (with embedded Spanish subtitles).
  • School IPM Publications - These include an IPM record keeping calendar, posters, and pest information series plus many more documents on pest prevention and management strategies.
  • UC IPM Pest Notes - These include online resources available for pest identification and management tips.