Safety Practices

Bugged by Bugs? Try Integrated Pest Control Management (IPM)

The Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed a PowerPoint presentation on Integrated Pest Control Management (IPM). Integrated Pest Control Management is a process that is safer for the environment, eliminates dependence on pesticides, and reduces health risks for children in child care and school settings. Health managers, directors, and teaching staff may use excerpts of this presentation on IPM in Head Start and other child care environments to prevent pesticide illnesses in children.

Why IPM?

  • Reduces pesticide exposure and provides a safer environment
  • Environmentally responsible pest control
  • Reduces dependence on pesticides
  • More proactive vs. reactive approach

IPM Eliminates What Pests Need to Survive

  • Food: Starve Pests Out

    • Clean up spills and crumbs right away.
    • Eat in one designated area
    • Keep a tight lid on trash cans and empty often
    • Don't leave pet food out overnight
    • Store food properly in sealable containers
    • Don't store food products on the floor in cardboard boxes
  • Water or Moisture: Dry Pests Out

    • Store mops "head up"
    • Fix clogged drains and gutters
    • Ensure sinks and counters are dry after use
    • Empty mop buckets
    • Fix leaky faucets promptly
    • Insulate pipes that may be prone to condensation
  • A hiding place: Avoid Clutter

    • Pests thrive in clutter—easy to hide
    • Clutter makes inspection for pests impossible
    • Cleaning efforts are hampered by clutter
  • A way in: Keep Pests Out

    • Seal cracks and crevices with caulk
    • Put screens on windows, doors and vents
    • Keep doors leading outside closed
    • Check boxes and bags for insects before bringing them inside

What are pesticides?

  • Pesticides are chemicals used to kill or control pests, including insects, rodents, bacteria, mold, fungi, and weeds
  • Examples of pesticides:
    • Weed Killer
    • Bug Spray
    • Insect Repellent
    • Flea and Tick Collar
    • Bug "Bomb"
    • Ant and Roach Traps
    • Disinfectants and Bleach

How are pesticides used in Head Start Centers?

  • Regular scheduled "treatments" as preventive measure—can include use of sprays in classrooms, bathroom, and kitchens.
  • Turf and landscape maintenance (for playing fields, lawns, and gardens)
  • Disinfectants and sanitizers in bathrooms and kitchens
  • Treated wood on play-sets
  • Requirement for head lice treatments

Why be concerned about pests in Head Start Centers?

  • Asthma management
  • Bites and stings
  • Disease
  • Missed school days (head lice)
  • Allergic reactions

What are common pests?

  • Ants
  • Chiggers
  • Cockroaches
  • Rodents
  • Lice
  • Ticks
  • Mosquitoes
  • Bees
  • Beetles
  • Fleas

Why is a good pest management program important for all Head Start Centers?

  • Reduces kids' exposures to pests ... and to pesticides that are used to control them
  • Many states now restrict the use of pesticides in schools ..."However, these requirements do not apply to day care centers."

IPM Implementation in Head Start

  • Routine inspection
  • Pest identification
  • Pest prevention
  • Development of IPM Policies and Procedures
  • Staff Training

For More Information, Contact 

Darlene Dinkins 
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 

Kathy Seikel 
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency