Pesticide Use - School IPM - USU Extension

    Pesticide Use

    Describe how pesticides will be stored, used, applied, who applies and how they are accounted for in your district. Cost or staffing considerations alone are not adequate justification for use of chemical control agents. Non-chemical pest management methods will be used whenever possible to provide desired control. All pesticide applications must be approved by the IPM Coordinator in advance. Antimicrobial agents and insecticide and rodenticide baits applied in tamper-proof bait stations are exempt from approval. Non-exempt pesticides will be applied only when target buildings or grounds are unoccupied.

    When pesticide use is deemed necessary, the least hazardous material (as described below) will be chosen. If the governing body chooses to not use contracted pest control, only approved school personnel will apply pesticides and shall follow the Utah Dept. of Agriculture pesticide regulation R68-7. The applicator shall apply all products according to the pesticide label directions. (It is advised to have at least one individual from each school/district obtain a pesticide applicator license from the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. Ideally, those applying pesticides in the school district should be licensed.

    • No routinely scheduled (e.g., seasonal, monthly or weekly) pesticide applications will be made indoors. No pesticide fogging or space spraying will be conducted inside or outside.
    • Pesticides will be used when appropriate, along with other management practices or when other pest prevention and non-chemical control measures have failed to reduce pests below tolerance thresholds. When a pesticide must be used, the smallest amount of the reduced-risk product that meets pest management goals will be used (i.e., spot treatments, not broadcast applications).
    • All pesticides will be stored in a lockable storage closet/room where children do not have access. Pesticide warning signs will be posted on the door of the storage device.
    • Districts must maintain up-to-date pesticide Safety Data Sheets (SDS), pesticide product labels and available manufacturer information about inert ingredients and procedures for pesticide use.
    • A policy for the notification of students, parents, and staff of non-exempt pesticide applications and/or serious pest issues must be created. Indoors, pesticides will be used only in containerized bait formulation, or for spot treatments targeted to insect infestations or problem areas where a minimal amount of material is used. Rodent baits must be applied in a Tier I, tamper-resistant bait box, and must be in a block formulation. Bait boxes shall be inaccessible to children and tethered/anchored when appropriate.

    To ensure the safety of students and staff, the district will use the following criteria to ensure that the least hazardous pesticide and/or the least hazardous method of control be utilized:

    • No use of any pesticide classified as highly acutely toxic by the U.S. EPA. This includes Hazard Category I and II, signal words DANGER and WARNING (use new GHS criteria starting in June 2015).
    • The district/facility shall not use any pesticide unless all ingredients in the product have been evaluated by the EPA and found to include no possible, probable, known, or likely human carcinogens; no reproductive toxicants; no known, probable or suspected endocrine disruptors; and no nervous system toxicants (either cholinesterase inhibitors or listed as neurotoxins by the Toxics Release Inventory). A pesticide will not be used if the facility does not have information on its ingredients, including inert ingredients.
    • All ingredients in pesticides used by the facility shall have a soil half-life of 30 days or less.
    • Properly applied gel bait or tamper-resistant containerized bait can be exempted applications if it represents the least hazardous treatment option.

    Pesticide Use Guidelines

    In addition to becoming informed about the characteristics of the material itself, it is important to develop guidelines to be followed each time a pesticide is used. Prepare a checklist to be used each time an application is made. Make sure the pesticide is registered for use in the state. (Pesticides can be registered in some states and not in others.)

    Pesticide Use Approval

    All pesticides used on school grounds should be approved by the IPM Coordinator and should be on the approved pesticides list. 

    Read the Pesticide Label

    • Follow its restrictions and directions for use, labeling, and storage exactly. 
    • Make sure that all safety equipment and clothing (e.g., neoprene gloves, goggles, respirator, hat, and other protective coverings as necessary) are available and worn when the pesticide is used. 
    • Verify that the person doing the application is certified and/or qualified to handle the equipment and material chosen and has been adequately trained. 
    • Make sure application equipment is appropriate for the job and properly calibrated. 
    • Confine use of the material to the area requiring treatment (spot treat).
    • Keep records of all applications and copies of SDS sheets for all pesticides used.
    • Monitor the pest population after the application to see if the treatment was effective and record results.
    • Be prepared for all emergencies and compile a list of whom to call for help and the kinds of first aid to be administered before help arrives. Place the list in an accessible area near a phone.
    • Dispose of pesticides properly. Do not pour pesticides down the drain, into the toilet, into the gutter, or into storm drains! If you are unsure about how to dispose of the pesticide, call the manufacturer or your local utility company that handles sewage and storm drains.

    Timing Treatments

    Treatments must be timed to coincide with a susceptible stage of the pest and, if at all possible, a resistant stage of any natural enemies that are present. Sometimes the social system (i.e., the people involved or affected) will impinge on the timing of treatments. Only monitoring can provide the critical information needed for timing treatments and thereby make them more effective.

    Example: To control scales on plants using a low-toxic material such as insecticidal soap or horticultural oil, it is necessary to time treatments for the period (often brief) when immature scales (crawlers) are moving out from under the mother scales, seeking new places to settle down. It is at this stage that scales are susceptible to soaps and oils.

    Spot Treatments

    Treatments, whether pesticides or non-toxic materials, should only be applied when and where needed. It is rarely necessary to treat an entire building or landscape area to solve a pest problem. By using monitoring to pinpoint where pest numbers are beginning to reach the action level and confining treatments to those areas, costs and exposure to toxic materials can be kept to a minimum.

    Make sure that the product is registered for use in Utah and know the laws regarding its use.


    Read the Pesticide Label

    Follow its directions for use, registrations, storage, and disposal to the letter.  Understand the new Globally Harmonized System of pesticide labeling. All persons applying pesticides in the school or district should receive training on how to read and interpret these new labels and safety data sheets. A training video developed by OSHA can ensure a base knowledge of GHS

    Personal Protective Equipment

    Make sure that all safety equipment, such as gloves, goggles, respirator, hat, etc. are available and worn when the pesticide is used.

    Pesticide applicators should be licensed

    Commercial operators must have a license to apply pesticides on school grounds and be able to handle all equipment needed for the application. While 392-200-7(12) does not mandate that a license is required to apply pesticides on school grounds, if pest control is outsourced the commercial applicator must be licensed. It is advisable that every IPM Coordinator receive a pesticide applicator license through the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food. 


    Make sure it is correctly calibrated and appropriate for the job at hand.

    SDS Sheets should be available.

    Keep records

    What pesticide was used and for what? How much was used? Be sure to list all pertinent information about the treatment for future reference about what was done. Records should be kept of ALL pesticide applications and should be available for local health officials upon request. This is true if pest control is handled in-house or contracted. 

    Monitor for pests after the application

    Post-treatment monitoring can help determine the method's success.

    Compile Emergency Contact list

    Keep the Utah poison control center phone number by the phone.



    Pesticide storage, transportation, disposal

    Proper handling and storage of pesticides is important in a school environment. Transportation of pesticide containers to and from school property should be conducted with caution. Keep an emergency spill kit (with chemical resistant gloves, cat litter or other absorbent material, goggles, and coveralls) with you when carrying pesticides in a vehicle as well as at the storage site. A truck or pickup is probably the best vehicle for pesticide transportation, and you will want to load the pesticides into the back of the truck, never in passenger areas. Inspect containers very carefully when loading and unloading.

    Pesticides should be stored in dry, well ventilated locked rooms or closets and be accessible only to people authorized to use them. They should not be stored with food, pet food, plants, or fertilizer. Storage areas should be away from food areas, classrooms, and other sensitive environments. Keep pesticides in original containers with their labels. Watch for expiration dates or leaks and dispose of pesticides properly according to the directions on the label. States have developed regulations for how to discard of many pesticide containers, including instructions for rinsing, destruction, and location for recycling or disposal.? All pesticides and pesticide storage areas should be appropriately labeled in both English and Spanish and with universal symbols (skull and crossbones). New pictographs associated with the GHS may also be needed. 

    Do not put pesticides down toilets, sinks, or other drains or gutters. Follow the manufacturer's directions for proper disposal.