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School Planning & Management Magazine: Integrated Pest Management

4/6/2007

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) has become a hotly debated topic for school superintendents, administrators and facility managers across the country. The presence of pests and rodents in schools can affect the health of students and teachers in addition to causing significant property damage,.

Yet, for an issue that is often supported with fervent rhetoric, there is little consensus about the definition of IPM. Various definitions circulate but what fails to be clearly communicated is IPM’s holistic approach – one that compels an individualized and comprehensive treatment of pest problems and demands partnership with a licensed, educated pest professional.

For school decision-makers, making choices about the well-being of students may be commonplace but certainly, never easy. The emergence of IPM is important for schools as it presents an approach to pest control based on common sense and sound solutions. Pest professionals never employ a “one size fits all” method in IPM, but rather, utilize a three-part practice: 1) inspection, 2) identification and 3) treatment by pest professionals. This attention to finding the best treatment for a pest problem, and not merely the simplest, is critical when the top priority is protecting students’ health and safety.

In seeking a pest professional who practices IPM, consider the following suggestions:
• Educate yourself about IPM
• Seek a unique and comprehensive treatment of pest problems through: inspection, identification, & treatment by a pest professional
• Contact neighboring schools for recommendations of pest control companies previously used.
• If a sizable amount of money is involved, solicit bids from several pest management firms.
• Don’t rush a decision. You are paying for a professional whose judgment you can trust.

Cindy Mannes is the Vice President of Public Affairs for the National Pest Management Association. For more information about IPM or pest control, visit WhatisIPM.org or www.Pestworld.org.
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