Procedures should be outlined for determining how a pest-corrective action will be determined, in addition to outlining the range of available pest control actions. Remember, this must be done for both indoor and outdoor pests, including weeds, birds, bats, rodents, insects, arachnids, etc.
Procedures for determining course of action
- Identify the pest
- Estimate the population/size of the pest(s)
- Determine if populations size exceeds Threshold action levels.
- Use pest biology and site information to determine the appropriate control practices to be used from the “Control Practices” list. The pest-specific action plans should also be used to help develop a response plan that is specific to the pest identified in step 1.
- Assess and evaluate the success of the control strategies used in this particular situation on this particular pest. Were they effective? Alter the plan and the way you approach this particular pest x situation on the next occurrence. Pest specific plans can and should change to meet a particular school or districts’ needs.
- Keep records of the pest sighting, the pest monitoring/population inspection, the threshold used, the control measures taken and how they were used, man hours, etc.
Criteria for Selecting Treatment Strategies
Once the IPM decision-making process is in place and monitoring indicates a pest treatment is needed, the choice of specific strategies can be made. Choose strategies that:
- minimize risk to humans and the environment
- are least disruptive of natural controls in landscape situations
- are least toxic to non-target organisms
- prevent recurrence of the pest problem
- easiest to carry out safely and effectively
- most cost-effective in the short- and long-term
- appropriate to the site and maintenance system
Pest control procedures
Pest-specific pest control measures will be included in the pest-specific plans section, usually an appendix included at the end of the plan. These can copied verbatim or altered to meet the needs of your school or district. Commonly used pest-specific control programs can be found here. These have been created for many of our common pests and it should be easy for school districts to add pest-specific plans as appendices to their plans.
Summary of Available Treatment Options
The following is a list of general categories of treatment strategies. We have included some examples to help illustrate each strategy. The list is not intended to be exhaustive since products change, new ones are discovered or invented, and ingenious pest managers develop new solutions to old problems every day.
Education is a cost-effective pest management strategy. Information that will help change people's behaviors -- particularly how they dispose of wastes and store food -- plays an invaluable part in managing pests like cockroaches, ants, flies, yellowjackets, and rodents. Education can also increase people's willingness to share their environment with other organisms so that people are less likely to insist on toxic treatments for innocuous organisms. Teaching children about IPM will have a long-term effect on the direction of pest management in this country as these students grow up to become consumers, educators, policy makers, and researchers.
Pests need food, water, and shelter to survive. If the pest manager can eliminate
or reduce even one of these requirements, the environment will support fewer pests.
Design or redesign of the structure design changes can incorporate pest-resistant structural materials, fixtures, furnishings, etc. Sometimes these changes can entirely eliminate pest habitat. For example, buildings designed without exterior horizontal ledges will reduce pigeon problems. Inside, industrial, stainless steel wire shelving mounted on rolling casters helps reduce roach habitat and facilitates cleanup of spilled food.
Sanitation can reduce or eliminate food for pests such as rodents, ants, cockroaches, flies, and yellow jackets.
Eliminating Sources of Water for Pests
This involves fixing leaks, keeping surfaces dry overnight, and eliminating standing water.
Eliminating Pest Habitat
How this can be done will vary depending on the pest, but some examples are caulking cracks and crevices to eliminate cockroach and flea harborage, removing clutter that provides roach habitat, and removing dense vegetation near buildings to eliminate rodent harborage.
Modification of Horticultural Activities
Planting techniques, irrigation, fertilization, pruning, and mowing can all affect how well plants grow. A great many of the problems encountered in school landscapes are attributable to using the wrong plants and/or failing to give them proper care. Healthy plants are often likely to have fewer insect, mite, and disease problems. It is very important that the person responsible for the school landscaping have a good foundation of knowledge about the care required by the particular plants at the school or be willing to learn.
Design or Redesign of Landscape Plantings
Choose the right plant for the right spot and choose plants that are resistant to
or suffer little damage from local pests. This will take some research. Ask advice
of landscape maintenance personnel, local nurseries, local pest management professionals,
and County Extension agents or the master gardeners on their staffs. Include in the
landscape flowering plants that attract and feed beneficial insects with their nectar
and pollen, e.g., sweet alyssum (Lobularia spp.) and flowering buckwheat (Eriogonum
spp.), species from the parsley family (Apiacae) such as yarrow and fennel, and the
sunflower family (Asteraceae) such as sunflowers, asters, daisies, marigolds, zinnias,
Diversify landscape plantings -- when large areas are planted with a single species of plant, a pest can devastate the entire area.
Vacuuming: A heavy duty vacuum with a special filter fine enough to screen out insect effluvia (one that filters out particles down to 0.3 microns) is a worthwhile investment for a school. Some vacuums have special attachments for pest control. The vacuum can be used not only for cleaning, but also for directly controlling pests. A vacuum can pull cockroaches out of their hiding places; it can capture adult fleas, their eggs, and pupae; and a vacuum can be used to collect spiders, boxelder bugs, and cluster flies.
Trapping: Traps play an important role in non-toxic pest control; however, in and around schools, traps may be disturbed or destroyed by students who discover them. To prevent this, place them in areas out of reach of the students in closets, locked cupboards, etc. Another strategy is to involve students in the trapping procedures as an educational activity so they have a stake in guarding against trap misuse or vandalism. Today a wide variety of traps is available to the pest manager. Some traps are used mainly for monitoring pest presence. These include cockroach traps and various pheromone (insect hormone) traps, although if the infestation is small, these traps can sometimes be used to control the pest. Other traps include the familiar snap traps for mice and rats, electric fight traps for flies, and flypaper. There are also sticky traps for whiteflies and thrips, cone traps for yellowjackets, and box traps for skunks, raccoons, and opossums.
Removing Pests by Hand: In some situations removing pests by hand may be the safest and most economical strategy. Tent caterpillars can be clipped out of trees, and scorpions can be picked up with kitchen tongs and killed in soapy water or in alcohol.
Conserving biological controls means protecting those already present in the school
landscape. To conserve natural enemies you should do the following:
Treat only if injury levels will be exceeded.
Spot treat to reduce impact on non-target organisms
Time treatments to be least disruptive in the life cycles of the natural enemies.
Select the most species-specific, least-damaging pesticide materials, such as Bacillus thuringiensis, insect growth regulators that are specific to the pest insect, and baits formulated to be attractive primarily to the target pest.
No Action Alternative
If the reported pest is not a pest of health concern or is occurring in numbers less than the developed thresholds, then no action can be taken. This is called pest tolerance and tolerance can be increased by educating faculty and staff about pests of health concern and those that are simply nuisance pests or random, occasional invaders.
When pesticides are deemed a necessary part of the IPM strategy for dealing with a particular pest, the least hazardous chemical and formulation should be selected. A more detailed section on pesticide selection and use will be created later in the IPM Plan.