Where You Work and Go to School
No matter where you work or go to school, pests such as insects, rodents, fungi, and weeds can interfere with your day. These pests can cause human health problems, structural damage, and plant damage.
Pesticides are often used to prevent or correct these problems. Although pest control where you work may be necessary, it also means that you may be exposed to pesticides from:
- The air you breathe inside your workspace
- Direct contact with pesticides that have been applied on surfaces within your workspace
- Direct contact with landscapes on which pesticides have been applied
- Applying pesticides at your workplace
Reduced-risk pest management practices are available that can soften the impact to human health and the environment, and PestWise programs and initiatives are working to increase use of these practices.
Whether you are a facilities or grounds manager controlling pests directly or you hire a professional, you can reduce risks by using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) (print version, 2 pp, 1MB, About PDF) techniques. IPM is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. Examples of IPM practices include:
- utility companies introducing specific plants or mulches to control vegetation growth or promote desirable plants along their rights-of-way (Rights-of-Way Fact Sheet (print version, 2 pp, 1.6MB, About PDF)),
- office building managers ensuring that refrigerators are regularly cleaned and food is properly disposed of in pest-proof waste disposals, and
- schools repairing leaky pipes and caulking cracks as well as using screens and traps to manage pests.
Quick Facts about IPM
- Based on information regarding the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment
- Uses this information in combination with available pest control technologies to manage pests economically and with reduced risk
- Takes advantage of all appropriate pest management strategies, including the careful use of pesticides when necessary
PestWise program partners are expanding the use of IPM in communities across the United States. For example:
Since 1999, Steritech, a Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP) member, has increased the use of non-toxic rodent monitoring baits by 469% throughout the company. When combined with improved use of monitors, glue boards, and other safe pest control methods, the company has reduced the percentage of rodent control programs based strictly on toxic bait from 99% in 1999 to 52% in 2007. Learn More about PESP >>
With technical assistance from the Biopesticide Demonstration Program (BDP) and PESP, American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA) treated nearly 6000 unattended swimming pools and ponds in New Orleans with the biopesticide Vectolex®, a relatively short-term pest control technique which is effective as long as mosquito larvae are present. AMCA also introduced mosquito fish minnows, a more long-term and environmentally friendly control, which feed on mosquito larvae and pupae, interrupting the mosquito life cycle. Learn More about BDP >>
The IPM Institute of North America received a grant to promote our shared goal of all U.S. schools using IPM by 2015. The Institute is using these funds to establish regional demonstration projects, a train the trainer program, and new methods for documenting risk reduction for school IPM. Learn More about the IPM in Schools Program >>
The Landscaping Initiative, together with its partners, educates the public and landscaping professionals about using sustainable and cost-effective lawn management methods. For example, the Initiative reached thousands of people through its "Mow Right, Feed Right, Water Right" posters that were displayed on 250 buses in Montgomery County, Maryland as well as through its "Green Lawn" series of materials providing information and tips on lawn management. Learn More about the Landscaping Initiative >>
The following resources can help you learn more about implementing IPM where you work and go to school:
- Integrated Pest Management In Buildings (20 pp, 773KB, About PDF)
Guide to help building managers understand how to implement and verify IPM services.
- EPA Integrated Pest Management in Childcare
Young children may be more vulnerable than adults are to the health problems linked to both pests and pesticides, so responsible pest management is very important in childcare. Resources on how to apply IPM to childcare are available from this page.
- EPA Pest Patrol: A Backyard Activity Book for Kids on Integrated Pest Management Teaching IPM at the grade school level can provide children with important information about pest identity, biology, and ecology. It can also help children understand the impact that personal choices can have on our environment.