COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State University Extension is helping Ohio school systems better manage pest problems while meeting requirements to become Integrated Pest Management (IPM) "Star Certified."
"What we want to do is give schools the tools they need to help control pests and provide them with options other than just grabbing for that can of pest spray," said Barbara Bloetscher, an OSU Extension entomologist and state entomologist with the Ohio Department of Agriculture. "It's all about making the schools safer for youth, faculty, staff by following IPM standards."
OSU Extension entomology and Pesticide Safety Education Program specialists are holding School IPM Outreach programs this summer to help schools become more proactive instead of reactive when it comes to managing pests, such as ants, roaches, mice, and wasps.
"Per law, Ohio schools are not allowed to use any kind of insect chemical controls when classes are in session, and they have to notify parents if any treatments will be scheduled," said Bloetscher. "These School IPM Outreach programs are intended to help school systems comply with those new rules." Information on the new rules can be found at: http://bugs.osu.edu//IPM_in_Schools/OhioIPMLaws.html.
Schools also have the opportunity to become IPM Star Certified, but they must meet certain requirements outlined by the IPM Institute of North America in cooperation with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 in order to qualify. Participating in the School IPM Outreach programs gets them one step closer to certification.
Activities performed during the School IPM Outreach programs include conducting a thorough inspection of the property and school building noting situations that may encourage pest invasion; developing strategies to reduce pest-conducive situations; monitoring of pest populations; and considering all pest control techniques including sanitation, trapping, biological controls and registered pesticides.
"Strategies of pest control include using sticky traps to monitor what pests show up, placing a fine screen over floor drains to prevent pests from accessing places like kitchens and bathrooms, and keeping lids on trash cans," said Bloetscher. "We provide information and solutions other than just using chemicals."
A School IPM Outreach program meeting will be held June 16 in Montgomery County to introduce schools to the program. The meeting is free. For more information, log on to http://bugs.osu.edu//IPM_in_Schools/OhioIPMLaws.html, or contact Bloetscher at 614-292-4624 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.