An official website of the United States government.

We've made some changes to If the information you are looking for is not here, you may be able to find it on the EPA Web Archive or the January 19, 2017 Web Snapshot.

Effective Pest Management in Routine Cleaning and Maintenance for a Healthy School Environment

On this page:

Why It's Important

  • Pesticides are products used to control or eliminate insects, rodents, fungi, bacteria and weeds in order to protect students and employees and preserve the school’s appearance. 
  • Common school pests can: 
    • Spread disease or contaminate food
    • Cause allergies and asthma attacks
    • Inflict painful bites or be life-threatening to those with allergies
    • Cause structural damage
  • However, pesticides can cause possible health hazards and contribute to environmental pollution. 

What You Can Do

  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a safer, usually less costly option for effective school pest management. An IPM program uses commonsense strategies to reduce sources of food, water and shelter for pests in schools.
  • EPA’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in Schools) provides several useful resources to learn more about IPM and get the tools to start an IPM program at your school. 
  • The Prevent Pests and Reduce Pesticide Exposure component of EPA's model school environmental health program provides information to help schools create and maintain clean, productive learning environments.


EPA and Federal Partners

  • EPA's Pesticides addresses topics such as health and safety, environmental effects, ways to control pests, regulations, compliance and enforcement, and more. The website includes state and regional contacts as well as activities for kids.
  • EPA's Model K-12 School Environmental Health Program provides guidance for schools and school districts that are beginning to develop, or are strengthening, a school environmental health program, including the key steps for implementing a program and practical actions that schools can take to address a wide range of environmental issues associated with building design, construction and maintenance.
  • EPA's Pest Control in the School Environment provides recommendations for best management practices for using pest mitigation that reduces the use of pesticides and is cost effective.
  • EPA's The Basics of School IPM is a webinar that provides an overview of school IPM and what is involved for starting or reinvigorating an IPM program in your school district. 
  • EPA's Sensible Steps for Healthier School Environments - Pesticides and Pest Management provides an overview of issues related to pesticides and pest management in schools.
  • Reducing Pesticide Exposure at Schools by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) explains how exposures and potential health risks to children and school staff can be reduced by avoiding routine pesticide applications through an IPM program. 

The following links exit the site Exit

National Organizations

  • IPM Standards for Schools by the IPM Institute of North America offers guidance on administrative planning and policy as well as landscape and pest-specific information. The home page for the website contains a description of the Institute's certification program; a list of upcoming IPM events; and an extensive page of IPM links.
  • iSchool Pest Manager is a project developed through a cooperative agreement between EPA and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. This project is a central hub for IPM materials for school districts’ use in verifiable IPM. The goal is to increase the number of schools conducting verifiable school IPM programs, improving human health, the environment, and/or the school community.
  • National School IPM Information Source by the University of Florida and sponsored by EPA describes IPM as well as common pests and treatment strategies. Includes teacher's resources and a school toolbox for planning and implementing an IPM program.
  • Pesticides and Integrated Pest Management: Resource List by the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities offers an annotated list of links, books and journal articles on the use of pesticides, integrated pest management guidelines, specifications, training, implementation and management in school buildings and grounds.
  • Resource Guide for Integrated Pest Management in Schools/Childcare Facilities (PDF) (86pp, 2.46M, About PDFby the Midwest Pesticide Action Center provides forms and documents to help schools/childcares set up and maintain an IPM program.
  • School Smart IPM: The Sensible Way to Work the Bugs Out by the National PTA discusses the importance of school IPM to create a safer and healthier learning environment by managing pests and reducing children's exposure to pests and pesticides.
  • Creating Healthy, Safe Spaces for Students and Staff using IMP are free online courses sponsored by the National Education Association, Education Support Services, and North Central IPM Center. These courses provide professional development for K-12 school staff to learn how to reduce pesticide use, prevent pests from entering schools and outdoor areas, and create healthy, safe spaces for children and staff using an IPM approach. 

State and Local Entities

  • IPM for Pennsylvania Schools: A How To Manual by the Pennsylvania State University hosts school-specific IPM information, including newsletters, case studies, reports, an IPM resources database and information on pest control tactics.
  • Maine School IPM Program by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry offers tools, templates and tips for implementing a school IPM program, including state manuals and regulations, a newsletter, Web resources and more.
  • Massachusetts School IPM by the University of Massachusetts Extension School describes IPM and provides information specific to parents, schools and daycares, and pest management professionals.
  • Agricultural Pesticide Use Near Public Schools by the California Department of Public Health presents a study of schools in the top 15 counties, finding that 36 percent of schools had pesticide use within 1/4 mile.