How to Develop an IPM Policy and Plan for Your School District

A guide from PA IPM to aid schools in developing their IPM plan. (Information Complies with Pennsylvania Act 35 of 2002.)
How to Develop an IPM Policy and Plan for Your School District - Articles

Updated: August 24, 2017

How to Develop an IPM Policy and Plan for Your School District

Act 35 requires every school1 in Pennsylvania to adopt an integrated pest management (IPM) plan2 by January 1, 2003. The Pennsylvania Integrated Pest Management Program (PA IPM) (A collaboration of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and Penn State University to promote IPM in agriculture, urban, and other settings) is providing this guide to aid schools in developing their IPM plan.

An IPM policy is a generalized guide to help school personnel develop a more detailed plan for action. An IPM plan is the more specific instructions about how to implement the policy at various school facilities.

The PA IPM Program in conjunction with the Pennsylvania School Boards Association developed an IPM policy for schools. A copy is attached to this guide and is also available from the PDA, PSBA, or the PA IPM website. The IPM policy should be written prior to the IPM plan and included as a part of it.

The IPM plan is basically a blueprint of how your school will manage pests through prevention, monitoring and safe control methods. On paper, your school IPM plan states what your school is trying to accomplish regarding pests and the use of pesticides. It needs to reflect your school's site-specific needs. Your plan will differ from other schools. Finally, your plan will be a working document and should be updated at least annually.

Your IPM plan should include the following components:

  1. General school information.
  2. The name and title of your school IPM Coordinator.
  3. The names and titles of your school IPM Committee.
  4. School IPM Policy.
  5. Identification and description of your school pest problem(s).
  6. Description of your school IPM Information Flow (communication strategy) and Training Format.
  7. A record of pesticide(s) applied on school property.
  8. A record of non-pesticide actions taken on school property.
  9. Evaluation of your school IPM program.
  10. A description of the location of your school IPM plan and records.

The format of your plan can be as follows

1. General school information.

School name, Address, City, Zip Code, Telephone Number, E-mail Address, Plan
Prepared by, and Date Prepared.

2. The name and title of your school IPM Coordinator.

The IPM Coordinator is the individual within the facility who is generally in charge of pest control activities for the school. This individual is someone who has the authority and backing by the school administration or management, has the primary responsibility for ensuring the IPM plan is carried out, and is the primary contact for the IPM Committee. Ultimately, this person is tied directly to the integration of all IPM activities through the coordination of all parties including custodial, building, food service, outside vendors, the pest control contractor, grounds staff, students, parents and teachers. The school may designate their facility director or head custodian as the IPM Coordinator. The pest control contractor cannot be the IPM Coordinator as the IPM Coordinator should be someone directly employed by the school.

3. The names and titles of your school IPM Committee.

The IPM Committee consists of individuals who have interests/concerns or who are involved in activities directly or significantly related to pest control at the school. They might include the school nurse, a representative of the food service staff, a teacher representative, a custodian, the pest control contractor, a PTA member, etc. Outdoor plans might also include a representative of the school athletic department, a parks superintendent, or others who utilize the playing fields.

4. School IPM Policy.

This statement of purpose should state the intent of the school administrator or management to implement an IPM program for your school. It should provide brief guidance on what specifically is expected--incorporation of existing services into an IPM program and the education and involvement of students, staff, and pest control contractor.

5. Identification and description of your school pest problem(s).

Proper identification and inventory of your pest problems is critical to understanding its management and the prioritization and selection of the appropriate non-pesticide and pesticide treatment options. What is the most common pest problem(s)? Is it a new or continuing problem? What specific areas are being impacted? What time of year do pest problems occur? Is the problem related to specific structural deficiencies or sanitation problems?

6. Description of your school IPM Information Flow (communication strategy) and Training Format.

Describe how pest problems specific to your school will be reported. Indicate the type of method that will be used and specify location of a pest and/or service log. Indicate who in the school will be responsible for responding to sanitation and building repair problems that are identified through inspection reports. For example, if a kitchen staff member observes roaches in the cafeteria, who does s(he) inform so corrective action can be taken?

Training is another essential element of the IPM plan. Identify the individual(s) providing the training. Who will receive the training? For example if the maintenance personnel do not recognize that non-chemical sticky traps are used as monitoring devices, these important tools may be inadvertently discarded. Also sanitation should not be viewed as only the maintenance personnel responsibilities. If students and staff are shown the connection between food, water, clutter, and pests, they are more likely to take sanitation seriously.

7. A record of pesticide(s) applied on school property.

Pesticides should not be used unless both the pest has been identified and its presence verified. Pesticides may be used only by a licensed or certified pesticide applicator (never by a teacher or unlicensed individual). Pesticides are generally used when other control methods are not effective or practical in resolving a pest problem. Be aware, Act 36, the companion school legislation, requires a 72-hour notification period prior to any pesticide use, and posting a warning sign 72-hours prior to and 48 hours after any pesticide use.

8. A record of non-pesticide actions taken on school property.

The IPM plan should include those non-pesticide pest management methods and practices such as sanitation/housekeeping, trapping, pest proofing (caulking, sealing cracks, repairing screens), and light management.

9. Evaluation of your school IPM program.

At least annually, the IPM plan should be evaluated. Is the IPM plan working? What changes are necessary? Has new technology replaced some of the former pest control tactics?

10. A description of the location of your school IPM plan and records.

Records of pesticide use, service reports, logbook, posting and notification, emergency waivers should be kept at a central location readily available when needed. Remember, records of pesticide use must be retained for three years in Pennsylvania.

Sample IPM Plan

(Only include information that is specific and relevant to your school).

1. General school information.

School Name: ABC School
Address: 123 Center Street
City, Zip Code: Average PA 12345-6789
Telephone Number: 123-456-7890
E-mail Address: abc.sch@school
Plan Prepared By: John C. Ustodian, Facilities Manager
Date Prepared: January 1, 2003

2. The name and title of your school IPM Coordinator.

Name: John C. Ustodian
Title: Facilities Manager
Telephone Number: 098-765-4321
E-mail Address: jcust.abc@school

3. The names and titles of your school IPM Committee.

Name: John C. Ustodian
Title: Facilities Manager

Name: Bea Stinger
Title: Teacher Representative

Name: Pyccop Andropov
Title: PTA Member and Soccer Mom

4. School IPM Policy.

5. Identification and description of your school pest problem(s).

The ABC Middle School has historically had problems with ants and mice. Our pest management contractor has identified these pests as pavement ants and house mice. The mice are usually noticed in the fall as the weather cools off and the ants are seen throughout the school year. There has been a problem with staff and students leaving food wrappers and crumbs in various locations. Current control efforts have been reactive and not effective. The school plans to set up a monitoring program using glue boards for the mice and sticky traps for the ants to detect and pinpoint infestations or hot spots. Maintenance personnel and staff and students will be instructed concerning food waste sanitation. Pest reporting sheets will be provided to each classroom and the kitchen area and will be checked on a regular basis by John C. Ustodian (IPM Coordinator).

6. Description of your school IPM Information Flow (communication strategy) and Training Format.

John C. Ustodian (IPM Coordinator) will meet monthly with Ima Beatle (pest management contractor) to cover monitoring reports. An initial meeting will be held on January 23, to establish a pest activity log binder. The log binder will be kept in the main office of administration and pest activity sheets distributed to teachers and staff. The sheet will indicate identification of pest(s) (if known), number seen, date, time, and location. The assistant principal, Ura Friend, will be responsible for notifying John C. Ustodian of logged pests from staff. Ima Beatle (pest management contractor) will respond to log complaints. If any sanitation or structural changes are needed, it will be written in the log along with remedial recommendation. Specific service reports will also be placed in the log binder that documents particular actions taken by the pest management contractor.

Staff, teachers, and students will be instructed on how to log pest complaints and be given a brief overview on pest identification and the conditions that promote the pests. Pamphlets and fact sheets will be made available at the time of training and/or posted on bulletin boards in specific areas such as the cafeteria and teachers' lounge. This information will focus on pest reduction strategies connecting people behavior such as over watering plants, eating at desks, leaving crumbs on floor, etc. to pest problems. More specific training will be held annually and separately for Maintenance and Kitchen Staff.

7. A record of pesticide(s) applied on school property.

Ima Beatle is our licensed pesticide contractor (BU-00000). Indoors, _______________, a bait box, will be used to control the ants. For emergency situations, ______________ will be used to control flying stinging insects such as wasps.

8. A record of non-pesticide actions taken on school property.

Whenever practical, non-pesticide means to manage or limit pests will be used. Ima Beatle (pest management contractor) will perform a thorough inspection and provide the IPM Committee with a report identifying conditions that are contributing to our ant and mouse problems. Sanitary/housekeeping deficiencies will be reported as well. Once this is done, a priority list will be generated to optimize a plan of corrective actions such as sealing openings with caulk and copper mesh, repairing leaks and screens, reducing clutter, organizing stored goods off the floor and away from walls. Mechanical traps will be used to reduce pests.

9. Evaluation of your school IPM program.

At least once a year, the IPM committee will meet with the pest control contractor to evaluate the success or failure of this IPM plan.

10. A description of the location of your school IPM plan and records.

A copy of this plan, annual evaluations, pest control contractor recommendations, and pesticide use records will be kept on file in the main office. For additional information, check the PA IPM website or contact the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture 717-772-5204, or the EPA publication on adopting IPM.

1School. A school district, an intermediate unit, an area vocational-technical school or any of these entities acting jointly.

2Integrated pest management plan. A plan which establishes a sustainable approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical and chemical (pesticide) tools in a way which minimizes economic, health and environmental risks.