Industry News

How to effectively implement an integrated pest management approach

By Austin M. Frishman, Ph.D. 

Integrated pest management (IPM) can be a confusing concept, but it simply means you use more than one approach to create a successful control program. It does not mean you should exclude insecticides, but rather use insecticides alongside inspection, pest proofing and other strategies to ensure control. Here are a few situations where an IPM approach was implemented. 

Yellow jackets at a school 

A school was having a yellow jacket dilemma. Children spilled their food on the lunch table, which attracted yellow jackets. Some children were not aware of the danger and risked getting stung. The pest management professional (PMP) consulted with me to ensure they took the correct actions without harming the children. 

After an inspection, we implemented the following: 

  • Screens were placed on the windows so the yellow jackets could not get in 
  • Teachers cleaned food debris off the tables 
  • The dumpster located near the window was relocated further away 
  • Yellow jacket traps were installed 
  • Active yellow jacket nests on the premises were identified and treated with an insecticide 

Cockroach quarantine for dialysis room 

A dialysis room in a medical facility with even one cockroach cannot be tolerated. Using cockroach bait is effective but should be complemented with a quarantined zone for the best results. Here are the rules and cultural practices we implemented to control an infestation: 

  • We removed all medical supplies from cardboard containers before bringing them into a dialysis area 
  • We placed bags and purses in sealable containers before entering the area 
  • We asked hospital staff to check sticky trap monitors daily 
  • We used cockroach baits in bait trays in the dialysis room and the adjoining room 
  • When possible, wheelchair users were transferred to hospital wheelchairs, and/or personal wheelchairs were inspected prior to entering the dialysis room 

Roof rats in a library ceiling 

Roof rats were active in a suspended ceiling at a library — and the droppings were plentiful. But where were the rats coming from, and why were they there? 

An inspection revealed the rats were dwelling in palm trees about 30 yards from the library. They were entering the building through a broken screen on the second floor as they were looking to establish another dwelling area. Here is how the infestation was handled: 

  • Baited snap traps were set up to eliminate the roof rats in the ceiling 
  • Rodent bait stations and traps were placed around the building perimeter, specifically in areas where rats were most likely to enter  
  • The area where the rats had been entering was pest proofed 
  • Glue boards were wrapped around the palm trees about 3 feet off the ground, so rats were caught as they ran back to the trees  
  • Flexible tree bands were installed  

You will note that in each situation, not only did we suggest how to eliminate an existing pest population, but we also tried to determine why it occurred and took action to prevent it from happening again. We may need to apply insecticides in many situations, but we also need to look at other strategies for complete control. 


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