Friday, October 26, 2012

Trick or Treating Pests?

Fall is officially upon us and Halloween is quickly approaching. Don’t let seasonal school pests scare you from practicing integrated pest management (IPM). Try these tips to trick (not treat) pests:

*      Don’t give them something good to eat. During this time of the year, candy and other sweets are a fact of life. Remind teachers, staff, and students to place all sweet treats in sealed containers. That way pests, like ants and mice, won’t be tempted to munch on classroom goodies.
*      Keep out pests that go bump in the night. With the weather cooling down, pests may be looking for warmer places to live, like inside school buildings. Keep pests out by sealing entry points. For example, install door sweeps, secure screens, and close off wall openings. Don’t forget about entry points located on top of and underneath buildings! Many pests are more active at night than during the day, thus you may never actually see them even if they are there. So remember to leave sticky monitoring boards out overnight near the nooks and crannies where pests are likely to hide.

*      Did you hear about that school with the Haunted Storage Shed? Every year around the time it started to rain, M&O staff would start to hear creaks and groans coming from the storage shed. They also noticed that things would be moved around even though no one had been in the storage shed. They were convinced that the storage shed was haunted… Turns out it wasn’t. Instead it was so cluttered that it had become a favorite place for rats and mice to take shelter during the rainy season. To get rid of the storage shed “ghosts” M&O staff threw away the garbage, started using plastic storage bins with tight fitting lids, and organized the stored materials so they were neat and off the floor. Organize the storage areas at your school and don’t let this scary story become your reality.

Use the tips above and other IPM resources found on DPR’s School IPM Web site,, to manage your seasonal pest problems.

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