University adopts Integrated Pest Management Plan for University Park buildings
Posted: November 13, 2015
Lysa Holland, environmental compliance engineer in the Office of the Physical Plant, hopes these numbers will drop as a result of the University’s new commitment to implementing integrated pest management (IPM) principles across all University Park buildings.
According to Holland, IPM is a stepwise approach to pest management that combines accurate knowledge of both the pest and the level of potential harm with multiple tactics to prevent, reduce or eliminate pests.
“IPM is all about prevention,” she said. “With everyone working together, we can minimize pest problems on campus and lessen the need for chemicals. This creates healthier indoor air quality, and supports Penn State’s sustainability goals.”
The University’s IPM Committee began meeting in 2009 to discuss the design process of the new Business Building as it implemented LEED-EB (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-Existing Building) standards, a set of rating systems developed by the U.S. Green Building Council that dictate the design, construction, operation and maintenance of existing buildings such that they implement sustainable practices. During that time, there became an opportunity to formalize the committee’s work by creating an IPM plan for the building.
“My feeling was if we were putting together an IPM plan for the Business Building, we were putting it together for everybody,” says Holland. “I didn’t think one building should get a different kind of pest management than the others. So we expanded the IPM requirements for the Business Building to everywhere at University Park.”
In October 2015, the plan, which already had been implemented in the new Business Building, was officially adopted by the Office of the Physical Plant and will be enforced across campus.
According to Holland, the University contracts with an outside vendor, Orkin, Inc., to conduct pest inspections and management. Under the new IPM plan, if an Orkin staff member sees a building situation that is clearly causing a pest problem, he or she must report it to the University’s Work Control Center, which will send a technician out to fix the building problem.
“They’ll still catch the mouse,” she says, “but now they’ll also tell you that the reason the mouse is coming in is because there are no door sweeps. They’ll take pictures of the doors and send those in to the Work Control Center. So we’re fixing the buildings to avoid pest problems from occurring in the future. We had never totally closed that loop before.”
Another component of the campus’s new IPM plan is training. The IPM committee already has started training the custodial staff and will be training the maintenance staff at Penn State about their roles in IPM.
“Custodial staff members might be able to address sanitation problems or report potential building problems, while maintenance staff members can take care of physical problems like missing door sweeps or windows that won’t close,” says Holland.
The committee also is planning to provide information to all Penn State faculty, staff and students telling them what to do if they see a pest, how to report it and how to prevent it by taking steps such as reducing clutter and managing their food areas properly.
Finally, the IPM plan mandates non-pesticidal solutions as an initial response. If pesticides are necessary, only the least toxic pesticides (Tier III) are used, unless a need is formally demonstrated for a stronger substance.
Other members of the IPM Committee include Erik Cable, custodial programs manager, Office of the Physical Plant, Penn State; Dave Manos, assistant director, Housing, Penn State; Chuck Wakefield, assistant director, Food Services, Penn State; Tom Neely and Shawn Ward, facility managers, Hospitality Services, Penn State; Randal Ridenour, pest control vendor, Orkin; Ed Rajotte, professor of entomology, Penn State; and Lyn Garling, IPM program manager, Penn State.