We all take steps necessary to ensure that there are as few pests as possible making their way into our home. We do this not only for the sanctity of our house, but for the safety of our family. But what happens when you send your children off to school? Are they safe from pests there, too?
Pest elimination in schools isn’t taken lightly. After all, you’re talking about a huge group of children in a relatively small area. Children, particularly the younger ones, are more susceptible to diseases that might be carried by certain pests. Pest elimination in schools is serious business.
The danger of pesticides
For many businesses, pest control usually includes the use of pesticides. Depending on the size of the building and whether or not there are a large number of patrons during the day and/or night, pesticides can often be safely administered without any risk to consumers or employees. Pest elimination in schools, however, is a more sensitive topic. Just as children are more susceptible to the dangers of different types of pests, they can be even more susceptible to the effects of pesticides. This is why their use is often frowned upon in sizable quantities.
Integrated Pest Management is the preferred method
A school’s primary job is to educate our children, but they must also keep them safe. For this reason, school officials try not to allow a great deal of pesticides within its walls, because doing so can create health hazards for children.
Many schools utilize a program set up by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency called Integrated Pest Management. It was developed to provide guidelines for pest elimination in schools, and is designed to keep children safe. Here are the basic guidelines that are utilized with this program:
- Trash disposal — Trash is disposed of on a daily basis.
- Trash cans — Each week, every trash can and dumpster is washed.
- Dishes — By the end of each day, every dish, utensil, and eating area that has been exposed to food are thoroughly cleaned.
- Litter — All litter on school grounds is picked up and thrown away no less than once a week.
- Vegetation — Any vegetation, including shrubs and wood mulch, must remain a minimum of 12 inches from each structure.
- Cracks and crevices — Any gaps found in the floors, walls, pavement, or elsewhere are either removed or sealed up promptly.
- Fertilizers — Some schools apply a large amount of fertilizer once a year, but for better pest elimination in schools, it is recommended that smaller applications be done throughout the year. One application for each season should suffice.
- Pesticides — In the event that pesticides are needed, spot treatments are used instead of spraying a large area.
Photo Credit: School of Business