IPM for Childcare Centers: Hows and Whys to Doing an IPM Inspection
[Music] Hi Lyn. Hey Howard how's it going? Fine how are you? Good to see you.
Good, good, so you are going to take us through an inspection today?
Yes, I realize you're going to be responsible for educating other people in your network of child care facilities.
So one thing I want to give you is just a quick run through of the way we try to approach a pest problem.
So, the first thing we do is we try to think like a pest. So what they are seeking is entry into the building, and they are looking for food, water and shelter. If we can eliminate those three things we can pretty much... Then 90 percent of your pest management is done.
Okay, well let's do it.
So, usually the first thing we look for, when you are looking at what a pest is looking for. We look down, up and all around. Because to a pest its a three dimensional world.
So they may be coming in from someplace we're not even looking at.
And so our first thing is looking at points of entry. So most pests come in the same way we come in, through the door. But they are a lot smaller so they come in down here.
So, in a situation like this door, you can see daylight coming through this door. Yes we can see a small amount.
If you look down, you can see a significant amount of daylight in the corners and in the center. Right.
And this is very common, doors take a beating. But I tell you what, in the fall your going to get mice coming in these spaces.
A mouse can fit through a space as small as a dime. Again, you wouldn't immediately notice that there is something going on with this door unless you were thinking like a pest.
So thinking like a pest, you look down, and that's the first thing I notice there. So the recommendation for a facility that has a situation like this would be contact the facility manager. Or whoever is responsible for upkeep of the building and put in new door sweeps.
That's probably standard practice.
And that actually helps with energy savings and everything else too.
Yes, because winter is coming and you don't want heat to escape or little critters to get in.
Exactly. The other thing, looking up, the next possible thing we might see is the window.
Now if you just look at in a quick fashion, you may not notice anything.
But sometimes you have to look more closely, is the window jam intact?
Which it looks pretty good, there is a little crack here. Okay.
Any kind of thing where the integrety of the window has been compromised. Because many pests like little tiny gnats and flies can fit through these very small spaces.
So you want to make sure that the whole window is in good repair, up and down all the way to the top.
That looks pretty good. It does. And also the good thing about this window, the screen is intact. A lot of times there will be a little tear in the screen. And then people will say I want my exterminator to get over here and spray for flies.
But meanwhile, you have a hole in the screen. So really, it's not rocket science.
Its just kind of looking at your building from the point of view of a pest.
Looking down I see a ventilation system, now this may not be problematic but it is compromised somewhat. These things are broken. From the point of view of mice, this is an opportunity.
Anything broken like that now, you don't know if they are getting in. You have to look on the outside where your ventilation system opens to.
But in this kind of situation you might say that could be suspect.
If you have a mouse problem you might be looking at a place like this. Okay. What would you recommend? Of course we want to replace this if necessary, but what is a temporary fix?
Yes, you can always put screening over it. Some kind of screening that would eliminate their ability of them to actually enter the building.
So of course you always look for general cleanliness and that sort of thing.
Everything looks pretty good here. The walk off mat is good. When children walk in any debris or anything they may be dragging in on their shoes gets deposited first on the mat. That's a great practice right there.
And then looking around the edges, we make sure there are no cracks in the wall or anything. This looks nice, the wall looks good.
I do notice though the garbage can is up against the wall.
Which is fine as long as its emptied every day.
And it has no cover on it.
So the reason the wall is significant here is because mice, roaches and everything else love to run against the wall.
So a lot of times in facilities where you can't remove the big garbage cans.
We recommend you move them away from the wall.
Just like this. It's that simple.
Because it really helps.
If you are leaving this over night and not emptying it you would want to put a cover on it.
But let's say in that case, just simple things like that make access by pests much more difficult.
Okay, so do they run up the wall then get into the can?
Yes, and they may be running up the crack, and they run up the woodwork and look in here. There is food materials and candy wrappers.
That's a perfect opportunity.
The day night time business, the reason why that is important is because most of the pests prefer to be out at night.
So you may not notice this is a problem during the day. But at night they are saying, let's go over to that garbage can, it's got oreos in it!
Moving it so it doesn't have access to the walls. Exactly, it instantly makes it less accessible to the pest. Perfect. I know it seems like such a little thing, but a lot of these things are just thinking like a pest.
Right. The beauty of it is that there is no cost to this. Exactly. So when you implement your protocols, everyone follows and it becomes standard operating procedure.
Some folks get really nervous, like how much is this going to cost, do I have to bring in a specialist? But when you show them things like that it makes it that much more acceptable.
And your building maintenance is something you want to be doing anyway. So this entry way looks good. I don't see any other cracks or crevices, or any way they might get in so let's have a look at the kitchen.
Yes, let's go to the kitchen. Here we are in the kitchen.
This kitchen looks really great. I don't think we are going to see too many pest problems in here.
It looks very clean, very well put together. What are the problem spots that people would tend to not think of, like with the trash can?
If you think like a pest, they are looking for food and water primarily. So first you look at how anything a pest could use as food is contained.
Now some people think, okay. But, to a pest, this is food also. So you always have to consider other things if you are having a pest problem. For example, here we have up against the wall again, we have this container. And it contains cardboard.
Now this may be going into recycling, I'm not sure. But cardboard is something that is a vector, if you will. It brings in roaches.
So in many places, such as warehouses where food is stored in cardboard boxes.
Pests like to hide in these little holes in the cardboard.
So we recommend that anyplace that brings in supplies in cardboard.
They take the stuff out of the cardboard and immediately remove the cardboard from the facility.
That's really great advice.
Because in most places they have these recycle receptacles and people use them until its time to take them out.
Exactly. If you know this is something that they hide in, automatically it's just drop it and take it out.
It's not so bad if it comes in in the morning and gets taken out when people leave for the day, because like I said most of these pests are nocturnal, so they'll hide during the day.
But as soon as they can take this out, the better.
Not only because we got this nice cereal box in here which is providing them with crumbs and things to eat in the meantime.
So you need to be aware of food sources and harborage.
We refer to this as harborage, where the pests are.
So as long as we keep active maintenance, as far as making sure things that come in go out.
Standard operating procedure, cardboard specifically, out the door.
Okay, cardboard's out.
The trash cans, this is good in terms of accessibility and it does covers it somewhat.
But its not a tight fitting lid.
So what happens sometimes in these cases.
Is that say for an example someone comes and throws a banana peel in here.
Well for fruit flies, this is nothing to them. They can get right in there. And if its not taken out regularly, then a lot of times people will see a pest. They'll see the fruit fly, and they'll say something like "we have to spray something, there's fruit flies." But you have to think more like a detective. Like wait, where are they coming from?
Otherwise you spray and spray and they're still coming. Because there is a food source.
So we like to recommend that anywhere there is food going to be in the garbage, that its a tight fitting lid.
Not a lid like this, but it's better than no lid. And it's kept clean obviously, so that's not really an issue.
That would be our recommendation. The next time the facility gets garbage cans, get tight fitting lids.
The other thing that happens with garbage cans sometimes, plastic liners are great as long as they don't get holes in the bottom. And sometimes what happens, people say we empty the garbage religiously, why we are we still getting fruit flies?
Pest detective, go one step further, look under the garbage bag.
So when you take the bag out, a lot of times it may be a situation underneath the bag. Residue is left in the bottom of the trash can.
Which in this case it is clean, your people are doing an excellent job. But it's a very easy thing to overlook.
And its a very simple solution for certain pest problems.
Sure. Once again, these are very simple remedies and saves you from buying all types of pesticides.
You're spraying more than you are actually getting to the root cause. That's where we want to get to.
You don't want to treat a symptom, you want to go straight to the cause.
So, the other thing we would look at, the water source. Of course, there is going to be water left in the sink.
What we are really looking for is if there is any chronic leaks. Any seals not completely sealed.
Because the insects like to hide behind broken seals and they may be getting water from them.
So what's good here is there is no drip. The faucet's not dripping or leaking around the base, and the stuff around the edges is kept clean and flush with the surface.
So what you are really trying to do is make sure there is no place for pests to hide. They can't hide here.
And you always look behind the scenes. This is good, child locks, very nice.
You look down in here and make sure its dry, there's no leaks.
And you look behind things and not just in a superficial way.
Everything is clean and dry back here, but there is a can of Raid of back there.
Now what that probably means, someone here on staff has that Raid available when they see a pest.
This is a big no no. And the reason it's a no no is because they may be able to trying to solve a problem without looking at the actual cause.
And they're not communicating with you. You need to know if there is a problem that needs a real solution.
We're not getting a solution, we're just treating a symptom.
The other thing is this is a child care facility. So you don't want any aerosol spray used around the children anywhere at any time.
Because it leaves surface residues on things.
And also, it is technically illegal for someone who is who is in a child care facility to apply a pesticide.
Unless they are a licensed pesticide applicator.
So what you want to have in your protocol, in your education system, is to make sure they understand this.
And that there is a system for them to report a pest if they have one. So that you don't have this situation.
Another issue with this is if you contract with a qualified pest control company to handle your pest problems.
They will use less toxic baits.
They will put a bait trap in here. If a cockroach came it would eat that bait and then die.
If someone is spraying, it repels the cockroaches and they won't go to the bait.
So what you are doing is working against yourself.
When you hire a professional, they know what they are doing.
And then your staff come in during the day and spray this stuff.
So, number one, this gets removed. Number two, they have to report there are pests and then they will manage those pests.
Because the typical reaction is that people tend to treat it as though its their own home as opposed to this is a facility.
So this is one of those things you address with professional development. Just say folks this is not allowable.
Exactly. And the other thing is some people may not report it.
They may see something, smack it, and keep on going.
Yes. Many facilities have a pest sighting log. So there is some person in the building who is aware, and they are the contact person. Let's say John or Jane Q employee sees a cockroach in the kitchen. They will go to contact person and say I saw a pest in the kitchen under the sink.
That's so much better. Yes, then the person whose contacted knows who they are supposed to contact.
Exactly, because sometimes they forget or get caught up in other things.
And then once again it is to move it from informal to a more formal procedure.
Let's put this in the trash, shall we?
Well, what we should do... Or how do we dispose of it, that's the better question?
That's a very good question. This still has content in it, it's aerosol, so it's under pressure.
So what we recommend people do is that most municipalities or counties have one or two days where they accept hazardous household wastes.
It's a little bit ironic, anybody can buy this off the shelf, and you can throw it in the garbage.
But, it's a toxic chemical and it's under pressure. And so you don't want to put anybody else in danger.
So what we recommend is they may be locked away in a safe place.
Anything you may what you want to get rid of, it's a community effort.
When the day comes and they accept the stuff, they will dispose of them all properly.
So what I would recommend is you remove it, educate.
Put it under lock and key someplace with other things you want to get rid of and do it in all one shot.
Sounds great, sounds great.
And should we post signs of any sort, no pesticides or something like that?
You know once again, it's an education process. It takes time for people to move out of their home practices into facility practices.
Whatever works in your facility. You may want to have a sign here saying make sure to notify the proper person if a pest is sighted. That's great.
They may say what do you mean, who is the proper person? Because in these centers often you have high turn over, new people, maybe they missed the training.
We have training for hand-washing, everything else pertaining to communicable diseases.
So you may want to do it for pests as well.
Exactly. But generally speaking it looks very good. The only other thing I would say, see that hole in the back?
It looks like it's access to electricity, but I would cover it anyway. Because mice love that. They can come in from behind the wall, and here's where the water is.
Here's where the food crumbs may be.
So the mice love that. But we don't see any dropping right here.
No we don't. Now if you did, what I would recommend is, maybe you don't look down here everyday.
I mean why would you?
So this would be a good place to set out traps as monitors.
What a monitor is, is a early warning system. They are your eyes when your eyes can't be there. Right. Because they come in at night and we're not here.
Exactly. And you may not think to look in here.
So we have two types of monitors to show you, and you can use these legally in your centers. That gives you an early warning system.
So let me show you what those are and how you might set them.
I have a couple of them with me. I set them here so we wouldn't trip on them.
One thing you could do is underneath this cabinet you might set a mouse trap. We recommend the actual mechanical mousetraps.
Some people use glueboards, but we don't recommend them.
A mouse gets on it and gets stuck and then they are still alive. That's horrible. It's bad, they're crying, they're stuck and potentially dangerous because how do you handle that?
True. If you pick that sticky trap up they may bite you. They're still there spreading dander and all the stuff mice have.
Whereas these are instant kill. So the mouse is humanely dispensed with and you never have to touch the mouse.
So here's how it works. You set it easily like this, pull the trigger back, link it, and you've never snapped your fingers.
It's set. It's so much better than those wooden kind. I've been snapped so many times by the wooden traps.
You don't even want handle them after awhile because you get bruises more so than anything else.
Then let's use your pen, and let's say this is the mouse.
And it has to step on the paddle to get to the bait which you have place in this little well.
You see how they can't steal it. They can't get under it.
They're smart. So, they have to step on this paddle to get to the food.
And it's a big paddle so you have a high surface area to catch them.
It's going to snap now. So now we have caught the mouse.
In order to dispose of the mouse you can go outside to the dumpster. And all you have to do is push back the on trigger and the mouse is released.
Mouse is released, and you never had to touch the mouse.
And the food is still there so you can reset it. How much do those cost? Oh they are cheap, you can get them by the case, 12 or 24 to a case. There's a lot of different companies that produce this new style.
You can just look online if you can't find them locally.
I notice that some staff won't come anywhere near anything that looks dead. It's sort of like a designated driver. You can have your designated mouse trap checker!
So if they're afraid, if anyone is afraid of actually trying to handle this is there another way?
Have someone in your facility whose willing to do the work. Okay, like the pest contact person.
Exactly. That person knows what to do if there is a mouse found in the trap.
Okay. You do want to check these from time to time, even if you contract with pest control services. They can't come every day.
A dead mouse is one thing, a stinky dead mouse is another.
And when you set this, you will set this in areas where it might be mouse prone.
Now, are there techniques to set it, where they're more likely to go? What does that look like?
Absolutely. The first thing to know about mice is they run along the wall.
So you wouldn't set it out in the middle of the room.
And also, because they run against the wall.
You would never set it out here where people could contact it.
You are going to want to put it down where mice might be in a safe place. But, in terms of positioning, you set the trap and you set it so the trigger would snap up against the wall, like that.
Now the reason for that is mice run against the wall and they'll be coming from this way, or this way.
So you have a 100 percent chance, if it's running along that wall you can get it.
If you set the trap away from the wall, they may decide it looks suspicious.
I'm not going to deal with it, and they run right past it.
Even though they smell the bait?
Yes, you want it be at maximum effectiveness.
If you put it this way, you have a 50 percent chance of catching the mouse.
Because it could be coming this way or that way.
If it runs over it and accidentally trips it, like you said they are smart. They're like, I don't know what that thing is but I'm not going back there!
That's true, that's true.
So this the way you set a mouse trap for maximum effectiveness.
I rememer that movie "The Mouse Trap", the guy destroyed a whole house to get one mouse. We want to make this as easy for everyone as possible.
So where you would set it, for example.
Would be in this cabinet against the back wall near where that hole is.
Because you are thinking like a pest, if a mouse is coming in, that's where it is most likely coming in.
And the same is true for the roach traps, this is just one model of roach trap.
This is a sticky trap.
We like some of these smaller traps because typically mice don't get in them.
And they can actually be stuck on the wall.
There are a lot of different models of roach traps, for actually any crawling insect.
It's like a little tent and you unfold it and set up.
It has this paper you pull off.
So you pull off the paper, and it's sticky, and you build the little tent with it.
And the same thing, you stick it back against the sides, like this, either this way, or this way.
So a lot of times you'll put in behind the refrigerator, behind the stove.
Or along the edge of where the stove is.
Because that's where they run, against the wall, where there might be food.
And that's your early warning system. People may say I don't want to set a trap, it's going to imply that we have pests in here.
No, that's your monitoring system, that's like your insect radar.
And then you'll know.
Let's say you have several set out in places that are susceptible to pests.
And you'll say, we never catch anything here, never catch anything there.
But guess what we always catch them back in that corner.
So that's your cue to investigate further.
Okay, now let's go back to the children. Okay. This is out of the way so we're safe that and child proof locks.
But this, would they be curious and poke at it?
They would. Anything you place, even when pest control people place their baits or gels.
You have to put in a place it where kids can't see it or preferably can't come into contact with it.
They can't be hurt by this.
The worse thing that would happen is they would get stuck to it.
Are there any toxins in the sticky part?
No, nothing at all, its just glue.
And if a kid gets stuck to it, you can use cooking oil to dissolve it and get it off.
Well that's good, that's great. So if a kid is walking around with the thing stuck to their forehead...
That wasn't my immediate concern. And also this is a large one, there are many that are very small.
And you can choose the type of sticky trap. Work with your pest control provider, because they have these things.
Most places contract with a pest control provider, and you'll be having this conversation with them.
Right. So Lyn, we were also talking before about people to responding to the site and getting to the root cause of where pests are.
Does this help us?
It absolutely helps you, because it shows you where the symptoms are. Okay.
Because any pest issue is a symptom of a underlying problem.
So, if we find maybe two or three in there, then what is our next step?
Then you are going to look more closely at what are the surrounding conditions where those finds have been.
That means there is something there that is either allowing them in, feeding them or watering them.
Okay, lets look at some possible feeding areas.
We looked at the water, we looked down here. Now nother common place is a stove.
Which you don't have a stove in here.
But you have a microwave, and a convention oven and toaster oven.
Now stoves are a big problem.
Things fall behind them and you have to move the stove to look behind it.
But this much easier to handle because these are small units.
So the main thing about these units is keep them cleaned out.
They can easily be pulled out to see what is going on behind them.
Make sure everything is sealed, so they have no way. If they come out they are going to have to come out in the open and they don't like that.
So this is good, everything is sealed. Everything looks quit clean, I don't see crumbs laying around.
You are doing everything you need to do here in this facility.
There's not much in here at all. I've seen some of these that are a nightmare!
[Laughing] Kitchen nightmare!
They have very good practice going on here.
Let's see what we have going on in the cabinets, with various kinds of foods in it.
Now for example, all purpose flour. I don't know if its for eating or making glue with the kids.
But that's the kind of thing that doesn't often get used quickly. Right. Plastic containers.
Plastic containers with tight fitting lids. Because this sort of thing you can start getting kitchen moths in.
So anything that is going to be in the kitchen a long time.
High turn over stuff is somewhat less of an issue.
You know if it's chocolate chip cookies, it's not staying there very long.
Are there are pests that are attracted to specific types of foods?
Yes there are. Stored products pests they call them, meaning dried beans, flour, rice, all that kind of stuff.
You keep those in tight fitting containers.
There are certain species of beetles and moths that are attracted to the smell of that.
And they can sometimes come in with a new product.
Let's say you go to bulk foods store and you shovel in two pounds of flour, and you bring it in.
Well a lot of times that flour brings the pest in.
And once they're in there, then they're like oh boy, all this other good stuff.
So it just depends. You know how you are using things in this facility.
Something like this is not a good long-term storage. They can easily crawl up in there.
I don't even know what these things are, it's like lentils. As long as this is being used quickly and you don't see sign of pests.
Generally speaking we recommend they be put in plastic containers.
And once again, that's a low cost solution.
Something you can get at the dollar store.
So just being aware and keeping things tidy and neat, but we can always step it up another notch.
Yes, just an ounce of prevention. Because once you get insects in here then it's not a fun thing.
No. And so if you can prevent that easily its always a good idea.
And I like the fact that we can give them some guidelines but also make it fun.
The kids could paint the containers.
Oh yeah, absolutely!
They could take the containers home, show it to their parents.
This fits in with what you were saying about involvement with the community.
Because you educate the children and out of the mouths of little children.
They go home and talk to their parents.
They have a way of changing behavior, more so than adults do.
When a child comes up to you and says you need to be using this container mom!
Because this container keeps out the bugs, your less likely to say no.
[Laughing] Okay, fine, we'll try it.
Exactly. Its a good thing, a good thing.
So this looks generally good, just a couple recommendations regarding this.
And, cups are all clean. Microwaves also can be problematic.
And why is that?
When these things are plugged in, they generate heat somewhere.
And another thing roaches in particular may be looking for is a warm place to just hang out.
And a lot of times these cooking implements not only generate heat.
They often have food next to them.
So if they can get everything in one place, one stop shopping, they are happy to go there.
Oh, it's like a super market.
So things like toasters, anything that's plugged in and has a heat element.
Make sure it is ultra clean.
Okay. And once again, with the pest management monitor.
Their responsibility can be go in and check these things on a regular basis.
And bring it to people's attention.
When you hire a pest management professional in your facility.
So many child care facilities have a landlords that makes those decisions.
So once again, the communication becomes really important.
So if you communicate with the land lord, say there are children here.
This is a sensitive environment.
We'd like to have IPM practiced in this facility. Who do you work with to provide pest control services?
Try to work together with them to make sure that it is a really top notch IPM provider.
Many pest management companies are practicing IPM now, and some aren't.
They aren't required to. So its a learning curve, everybody needs to be learning at the same time.
And you ask a person your contracting with, a pest control service.
You want to make sure your getting the service you want.
Absolutely, that's why the professional development is so important.
Because it's not only just looking at where the potential problems may be.
Its strategies on how to prevent it year around.
And that everyone is on the same page. So your pest control provider, your staff, your administration office, every body knows this is how we do it here.
Right. And once again going from an informal to a more formal practice.
So this looks good, once again the Cheereos, the oats...Plastic containers.
Yes, exactly. Tight fitting lids.
Tight fitting lids and something colorful too.
And I like this too, I like that it's open because you can see what's going on.
And I realize that was probably not why it was done, but that is helpful.
Coffee maker, same thing, dripping water. You always look for anyplace where there might be water.
Storage here is good, but you do have a cardboard box down here.
I don't know what's in it, but generally speaking you want to ban boxes.
Right, because of the roaches. Primarily german cockroaches, and when you get those they are a real pain to deal with.
Okay. What's the difference? You mentioned a german cockroach, what makes them so difficult?
They are very small, and they reproduce very rapidly. Okay. Is that a common pest?
Yes, the german cockroach is extremely common because they are all over the place.
And like I say, they are often in warehouses and place where you might buy food.
So if you bring in boxes take them out.
Got it. Got it.
So you're helping them hitchhike into your facility.
So you don't really want to do that.
So yes, we try to encourage people to not take this into their own hands.
There are ways to do this in the safest and most effective way.
And we'll all be on board and do it that way.
Let's talk about that for a second, because staff come in with different cultures.
We have different cultures involved, especially in the city.
And they have different ways of looking at pests.
And like you mentioned with the cotton ball, that might be a cultural thing.
This is how we've always done it, this is how we do it.
How do you address those types of things without making people feel uncomfortable?
That's a very important question.
Because as we've mentioned before, anyone can get a pest.
We need to take away the stigma of it, first of all.
Because people have very strong beliefs because of that.
This is way we always did it!
You also have to help them understand, their own home is one thing.
But a center where all children are together is another.
They can't bring this things in and implement them in a public place.
Also, we sometimes have to help them understand.
Just because they are familiar with it doesn't make it safe.
And so for example here in Phildelphia, one of the things we did when were developing our program of outreach education.
We went and looked at the poison control data for Philadelphia.
And we sorted by zip code, and we said why we are getting so many poisonings due to moth balls?
Kids are eating moth balls.
I never would have thought of that. It turns out that in certain communities.
One of their standard practices is to crush up moth balls and sprinkle along baseboards.
Because they say it get rids of roaches. Well the fallacy of that it you don't get rid of roaches by putting sometihng smelly down.
They go where the food is.
And they are going to continue to go where the food is.
So the issue with moth balls, unbenknownst to us.
Was this practice of the crumbing the moth balls and putting them along baseboards. The children put everything into their mouths.
So they see this sparkly white stuff that looks like candy to them.
And they start to eat it and parents realize and they don't know how much they ingested.
So they call poison control. This could be avoided.
Because of the awareness it could be dangerous to children and also the awareness that it doesn't really work.
And the definition of work is prevent and get rid of roaches.
Right. And we were also talking about cultural sensitivity.
Because some cultures have practices that are long standing.
They have difficulty adjusting, so how do we deal with that?
I think the way to do that is to put people at ease, we're all here to solve the problem.
It's not a refection of you, it's not bad sanitation.
Well, there may be sanitation issues.
But you want to approach it as an effective control of pests and it's safe.
Usually when you talk to people about the safety of their children is when they come around.
When you explain, yes, it seemed like maybe this worked.
But here in this environment, in this particular situation, these are safer methods.
When they see it, and if you raise their awareness about the potential harm to the children.
That's usually what gets through.
There is something we talked about a little bit earlier. We actually found something on the base here.
Do you want to go back over it?
Yes, I remember that.
So there is a practice that the staff had that was really about the staff feeling good.
Tell us a little bit about that again and why it needs to be adjusted.
Your staff was under the impression that if you take cotton balls and permeate them with peppermint oil that will keep mice away.
Right. So what is the fallacy with that then?
Well there is a couple of things. One you are in a child care center.
So you don't really want things that look like marshmellows laying around because kids are going to do what?
Put them in their mouth.
I might do that, smells good!
[Laughing] So first of all, there is the kid aspect.
Second of all there is real no known efficacy of this working.
Mice are smart, they are looking for food not cotton balls.
They may think ooh that stinks and they run around it while they look for their sandwich.
So this really doesn't deter a facility from having mice.
So once again, that is probably one of those things an adult has been taught from childhood.
And they are bringing in an informal practice into a formal setting.
It could be that, or do you know what is happening Howard, the age of the Internet.
People are concerned about not using toxins so they are looking to alternatives.
And you get all kinds of snake oil out there.
You're right, you're right!
So people go on the Internet, what's a nontoxic way to control mice?
And somebody wrote something about this, and they are like, oh I can do that.
On one hand its a good impulse to want to be looking for alternatives and least toxic.
And to be actively engaged.
But in this day and age it is very difficult to good accurate information.
Where would be go? In the training manual, there are websites that people can go to.
In the case of integrated pest management, we are really lucky.
We have a lot of groups that are university-based, science-based.
They are working on IPM in schools and child care centers.
They all have manuals, they have protocols, checklists, they have sample contracts for pest control operators.
There are tons of resources out there.
How often would you recommend professional development around this?
Because you know everyone's time is stretched in many different ways. Is it once a year, twice a year, should we have an audit done on pest control?
It really depends on your facilities. If you have a only a couple of centers and you have control over the facility.
And you don't have high turn over, you can do it once a year.
Reporting out, what are we seeing, training.
Hands on training like we are doing right now, we can do with staff, you can do with staff.
In other cases in it might have to be more often.
If you have more facilities, more turnover, more people involved in decision making. It just depends on the situation.
All right. This all makes sense.
I like the fact you are bringing to our attention these practices which we have the best intentions.
But unfortunately may not have the results we desire.
This is good.
I like that people are looking for alternatives, and want to take action.
Absolutely it shows initiative.
Exactly. But you just want to help steer them in the proper direction.
So the cardboard boxes, we'd definitely take a look at that.
The cotton balls absolutely we'll do that, everything else pretty good.
It does look very good, as long as it's kept clean.
Your difficulty is sometimes its difficult to move things.
Like you have a dishwasher here.
You need to be aware that they sometimes leak and it's difficult because you would have to pull it out to see. Right.
So you just have to be aware.
If you are thinking like a pest, what we see is not what they see. They see what's behind there.
You wish you had X-ray vision.
Right, but you are always going to have to be looking a little deeper.
And that's what your pest control professional should be doing for you. They should be monitoring and knowing where to look. So hopefully it's not you that has to actually move this out of the way!
No we'll definitely make sure!
But those are the kinds of the things I would check.
You are always looking for the little signs pests might leave behind.
If you found little mouse droppings or whateve.
Of course that would be a surefire indication but it looks good.
I have to say the staff, when we first got involved with IPM, they didn't have a clue.
And everyone was again, like why are we doing this, why are we doing this?
Then once they saw that it really does make a difference.
And everything we talked about to reducing allergens and exposure to possible pests.
They embraced it.
So you make adjustments, that's what we always have to do.
Everything is never 100 percent all the time.
No, no it's a process.
And situations change, and that's why you have ongoing training, because is is a process.
But people are usually very satisfied once they take on an IPM approach.
Because they are preventing pests in the first place.
Nobody wants pests!
Right, and they can use it in their own homes as well.
It's news you can use!
Yes, it's news you can use.
Thank you Lyn for coming out.
Thank you so much, we appreciate what you are doing.
We appreciate the technical assistance.
Because with another set of eyes it makes it easier for us to make those adjustments.
Thanks a lot.