Integrated Pest Management – Program Summary
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a way to reduce pesticide use and still keep bugs at bay. It is environmentally sound and reduces human exposure to pesticides. IPM takes a reduced toxicity approach to pest control and employs a variety of pest prevention methods instead of relying on pesticide alone.
Control strategies in an IPM program begin with prevention - structural and environmental modifications that reduce pest access to resources like food, water, and harborage. Chemical control methods are still used, but only on an "as needed basis". When chemical control methods are necessary, only the least toxic, most effective products are used.
The pest management technician begins an IPM program by making a thorough initial inspection of each building to evaluate the pest control needs of the County facilities. The technician will identify problem areas and any practices or structural features that are contributing to pest infestations. Using the building floor plan as a permanent record, the technician will suggest site specific solutions for eliminating pest entry and access to food, water, and harborage. Any problems and suggested corrections need to be reported to the facilities manager so they can be addressed.
The technician will next set up a pest monitoring program in areas where an active pest infestation, pest evidence, or conditions conducive to pest infestation were observed during the initial inspection. Cafeterias and other food service areas should always be included in the monitoring program, because these locations are particularly susceptible to pest invasion. The technician will establish a Pest Sighting/Pesticide Application logbook at each school facility as part of the monitoring program. Inspections and establishment of the monitoring program should be completed prior to any pest control methods being applied.
After the inspection, the pest management technician will obtain a floor plan of those specific areas selected for monitoring (i.e. the cafeteria or school kitchen). Using the floor plan, he or she will decide where the monitors should be located. Traps should be placed in areas that have pest evidence and conducive conditions. Additional traps should be placed throughout the room to get full coverage of the entire area. After monitoring locations are selected on the floor plan, they should be numbered in a systematic and logical fashion so they are easy to find.
After monitoring locations are numbered on the floor plan, the technician should number the same quantity of sticky traps (high quality, low-line design, or roach-motel-type design) and put one at each monitoring location. Monitors are left in place for 24 hours and then collected by the technician. The pests found in each trap should be identified, counted, and recorded on the floor plan.
Based on the monitoring results the technician will decide how many traps will be needed to monitor on a monthly basis. If pests are found in 10 different monitoring locations, then all of these locations need to monitored monthly in addition to locations with conducive conditions. If pests are found in only 2 monitors, then those two locations need continuous monitoring in addition to areas with conducive conditions. If no pests are found in any of the traps, then only those areas with conducive conditions need monthly monitoring.
When the final number of monitoring locations is determined, they should be marked on the floor plan. Copies of the monitoring plan will be placed in the Pest Sighting/ Pesticide Application logbook for the technician to use from month to month. The monitors will be checked and replaced every month, and the technician documents all pest problems and pesticide applications on the floor plan.
Information adapted from Virginia School IPM Program Overview (http://www.ext.vt.edu/schoolipm/whatisipm/index.shtml)
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