Schools and Childcare Centers
Schools, day care centers, Head Start centers, and other child-care facilities are places of learning of nurturing. They’re also places where we want children to feel safe and to be safe and free from distractions, so they can focus all their attention on the hard work of learning.
The problem, of course, is that pests don’t care that schools are places where children gather to learn. Pests like cockroaches, ants, rats and mice, stinging insects, and even fleas and bed bugs infest schools just like they do any other buildings.
Keeping schools free of these and other pests is an important part of creating a safe, healthy school environment. Many insects and rodents carry serious diseases, can trigger allergic reactions, or can inflict painful bites and stings; and pretty much any pest in a school can distract children’s attention from their studies.
Pest control in schools does have its challenges, though, and they’re not limited to regulatory and record-keeping requirements. In addition to providing a pest-free environment that is conducive to children’s health, safety, and learning, we also have to do it in such a way that minimizes are eliminates pesticide use to avoid contributing to reactions in children who may suffer from asthma, allergies, or other respiratory problems. Pest management in schools should be designed around a program that emphasizes inspection, prevention, and non-chemical control, and minimizes or eliminates the use of chemical pesticides.
This method of pest control is known as School Integrated Pest Management, or School IPM for short.
What is School IPM?
School Integrated Pest Management is a holistic pest control philosophy that emphasizes safe, non-toxic, non-chemical methods of pest control whenever possible. It’s an approach to pest control that places the safety of children first, avoiding methods or products to which some children might be sensitive in favor of a more natural approach to pest elimination.
School IPM relies heavily on regular inspections by extensively-trained technicians who utilize the most modern techniques to make a school as inhospitable to pests as possible. Pest management professionals performing School IPM rely on their knowledge, their skills, and a flashlight more than on pesticides. In fact, we consider it a success when no chemicals at all are needed or used during a School IPM service call.
Avoiding the use of chemicals isn’t enough to make a School IPM program successful, however. More so than any other kind of pest control, School IPM is a community effort that requires good communication and the cooperation of the Pest Control technician, the school administration, the faculty and staff, and even the children. School IPM is based on observation more than anything else, and the more eyeballs that are observing, the more successful the program will be.
In order to facilitate communication, every School IPM account we service has a Pest Management Log Book. It’s not something that only we’re allowed to write in. It’s a two-way communication device that has pages for teachers and staff members to make notes of any pest sightings, so our technician will know about them when he or she arrives to perform the routine service.
Of course, we also urge school administrators to call us for a special visit any time an urgent problem is observed, such as a hornets’ nest in the playground. Some problems just can’t wait.
The children themselves can also help to make a School IPM program successful. Kids are curious by nature. Even nursery school-age children notice things like bugs. At Bugaboo, we encourage schools to thank children for bringing pest problems to teachers’ attention so the sightings can be reported and the problems treated.
How Bugaboo Pest Control’s School IPM Programs Work
At Bugaboo Pest Control, we take a comprehensive, scientific approach to School IPM. Here are the components that make our school pest control programs successful.
Inspection, Inspection, Inspection
The first time we visit your school, we perform a complete and thorough inspection. We look for current pest problems, evidence of conditions conducive to infestation, and non-chemical measures that need to be implemented in order to avoid pest problems and the need for chemical pesticides. Once we take over the account, we continue to inspect on an ongoing basis. It is the core of our program and the most important thing we do.
We also ask the faculty, staff, and even the children to help us as “deputy inspectors” by reporting pest problems when they see them, so we can solve those problems for you. The more eyeballs looking for pests, the better a job we can do at keeping your school pest-free.
Documentation and Communication
As mentioned earlier, we provide a Pest Management Log Book to every one of our schools. It’s the way we maintain communication between your staff and ours, and it also provides an ongoing record of everything we do to keep your school pest-free. We also make sure that your school is in compliance with all relevant regulations related to pest control, and provide training to key staff members regarding the School IPM program and their part in making it work.
Non-Chemical Pest Control
We employ a wide variety of non-chemical pest management measures including:
- Pest monitors that provide early warning of pest problems.
- Pest traps, including sticky traps, light traps, pheromone traps, or mechanical traps, as needed at a particular school.
- Pest exclusion, which consists of things like caulking, sealing, repairing damaged screens, installing door sweeps, and so forth. We can provide these services, or we can advise your own maintenance personnel of the needs so they can perform them.
Limited, Precision Application of Pesticides, Only When Needed
There are times when the use of pesticides can’t be avoided. When these situations come up, we use products that are specially chosen for their low hazard potential. In most cases, the products we use fall into one of the following categories:
- Borates, which contain boric acid as their active ingredient. Boric acid is commonly used in eye drops, and it’s also an effective, low-toxicity insecticide.
- Insecticide baits, which usually are applied in tiny amounts using a syringe, directly into cracks and crevices. They are non-volatile, so they don’t get into the air and have no odor.
- Diatomaceous Earth is a desiccant powder made from ground-up sea creatures called diatoms. It simply scratches up insects’ cuticles, which causes them to dehydrate.
- Pyrethrum is an extract from a type of chrysanthemum.
The Bugaboo Advantage
Bugaboo Pest Control and School IPM are a perfect fit. For more than 30 years, we’ve practiced an Earth-friendly approach to pest control that emphasizes safety, harmony with the natural environment, and avoidance of unnecessary pesticide applications. We have more experience in non-chemical pest control that any other pest management company in the Portland or Vancouver areas. As we often say, we were green long before being green became all the rage./p>