Wednesday, August 20, 2014

School IPM 2015 Newsletter: August 2014

School IPM 2015: Reducing Pest Problems and Pesticide Hazards in Our Nation's Schools
School IPM 2015 Newsletter: August 2014
In This Issue
What's New?
Upcoming Events
Tawny Crazy Ant Spreading Across Gulf States
What to do with Out-Dated, Unused Pesticides
New Online School IPM Courses Now Available!
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What's New This Month

Kids learn about IPM during a Migrant Education Summer Camp at Southwark Elementary in South Philadelphia. Michelle Niedermeir, community IPM coordinator lead the camp created for children K-5 and their parents from Nepal, Burma, Vietnam, China and several Spanish-speaking countries.
Hands-on training sessions on IPM for diverse audiences are available. Programs and train-the-trainer sessions can be tailored to meet the needs of the audiences.
To learn more visit the training session page or contact Niedermeier at (215) 435 - 9685 or email

Did you know that you can buy IPM evaluation tools from the IPM Institute of North America Inc.?  Tools include: channel lock pliers, flat spatulas, Inspector's Field Guides for Pest Identification, Nite Ize Hip Pock-its and telescoping mirrors. For more information email Mariel Snyder!  

Upcoming Events
August 24-27, 2014
Association of Structural Pest Control Regulatory Officials (ASPCRO) National Meeting   
Missoula, MT 
September 17, 2014
School IPM Coordinator Regional Training
Houston, TX
More Information

October 8-9, 2014
Midwest Healthy Homes & Childcare Conference
Indianapolis, IN
More Information 
October 26, 2014
Education Facilities Management Forum
Chicago, IL
 More Information

October, 2014
Empowering School Integrated Pest Management
Orlando, FL
November 16-19, 2014
Entomological Society of America (ESA) National Meeting  
Portland, OR 
March 24-26, 2015
8th International IPM Symposium  
Salt Lake City, UT   

Quick Links
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Greetings from School IPM 2015!  
Every day, 49 million children attend school in the United States, served by nearly seven million teachers and staff.   But they're not alone.  Schools are also frequented by a number of pests including cockroaches, mice, dust mites and more.  Asthma is epidemic among children, impacting nearly 6% of school children nationally with rates as high as 25% in urban centers.  House mice and cockroaches are potent asthma triggers.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a prevention-based, highly effective approach proven to reduce pest complaints and pesticide use by up to 90% in schools and other public buildings.  IPM practices such as sanitation and exclusion also improve food safety, fire safety and energy conservation.  Our newsletter highlights real-life examples of IPM in practice and can help you start an IPM program in your school district.  For more information, visit

Tawny Crazy Ant Spreading Across Gulf States    
An invasive ant species is growing in numbers and range in Gulf Coast states. Formerly known as the raspberry crazy ant, the tawny crazy ant, Nylanderia fulva, was first spotted in Texas in 2002. Named for their random, nonlinear movement when looking for food, the crazy ant is sometimes found in electrical equipment and household appliances. Studies have shown that the tawny crazy ant is able to sheath itself in protective acid that allows them outcompete fire ants and other ant species, moving them up to the number one pest concern where they are present.


Tawny Crazy Ant
Eli Sarnat,
Tawny crazy ants, covered in reddish-brown hair, are about 3.2 mm long, smaller than the red imported fire ant. They do not have a centralized nest or mound, but shelter under stones, wood piles or other existing cavities including fire ant nests that they have taken over.

The tawny crazy ant can damage electrical systems in its search for harborage, causing overheating and system failures. The tawny crazy ant can also impact the environment by displacing other ants, and discouraging tree-nesting birds and other small animals. Tawny crazy ants do not sting, and their bites are not as painful as fire ant stings, but their enormous numbers create a tremendous nuisance for other animals.

Tawny crazy ants are challenging to control in part because they can quickly re-infest areas previously treated. Prevention forms the basis for an IPM approach. Remove easy access to any food, water and harborage, such as leaf litter, fallen limbs and clutter.

The ant does not fly, and spreads slowly once introduced into an area. Introduction typically occurs through ants stowing away in garbage, yard debris, compost, potted plants, bales of hay or other objects moved by humans. Be sure to thoroughly inspect all items before transferring them to a new location.

To learn more about the tawny crazy ant, visit the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Extension's webpage by clicking here.
What to do with Out-Dated, Unused Pesticides
School districts frequently struggle with how to discard unused, no longer needed pesticides and lab chemicals. Budget constraints can delay proper disposal, and uninformed administration and staff are sometimes unaware of old pesticides and lab chemicals accumulations in schools resulting in hazards. "As chemicals age, they can breakdown into other substances that can be more dangerous than the original, parent chemical," explained Mark Shour, Iowa State University Extension.

The Situation
All pesticides should be stored safely and according to the label found on the container. This includes storing the pesticide upright, in the original container, in a cool dry place away from food and out of children's reach.

Problems can occur when pesticides and lab chemicals are discovered years after they were originally purchased. They may no longer be legal to use, perhaps having left the market due to toxicity, persistence or other concerns, and often cannot be returned to the vendor. Disposal can be prohibitively expensive.

Inappropriately stored chemicals will leak, Iowa State University Extension
Old pesticides found in school storage locker, Iowa State University Extension
On the Front Line
Tony Pierce is a former high school and middle school science teacher who now works in the Compliance and Enforcement Section of the Hazardous Waste Program for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. He reports that the most common problem he sees is ignorance. "Few know chemicals are hiding until someone retires and they open the cabinets.  This is a common problem in schools.  Teachers hoard and don't communicate what they have, then they retire/leave and the stockpile has to be sorted.  If there is better communication throughout the school, some items may not even be wastes-they can be used by other classes/departments," said Pierce. Educating teachers individually emphasizes the importance of compliance and gives teachers the opportunity for professional responsibly.

Other common locations for old pesticides include horticulture or agriculture programs, and unused pesticide storages, e.g., storage rooms or cabinets neglected when an in-house structural or grounds pest management program becomes outsourced.

Three types of pesticide wastes may require proper disposal: unused pesticides in original containers, leftover pesticide mixtures in application equipment or other containers and empty pesticide containers. The first step is to read the label if still attached to the container and readable for disposal instructions. Keep in mind that state and local laws may be more restrictive than the label, and old labels may not represent the latest science in terms of safe disposal. You should never pour pesticides down the drain, on the ground or in a storm sewer.

"Sometimes the original product's container has rusted, been torn or otherwise unsound, spilling contents in the area it is stored," says Shour. You will need to contact your state clean sweep coordinator to learn how to safely dispose of these containers.

When transporting pesticides, keep an emergency spill kit on hand including gloves, cat litter or other absorbent material, goggles and coveralls. Be sure to inspect containers thoroughly before loading them into your vehicle. It is best to use a vehicle that has a separate area to store the chemicals, such as a pickup truck.

When rinsing out empty pesticide containers, always wear protective clothing and use the triple-rinsing process. Puncture holes in the containers to make sure they will not be used again. Contact your state environmental agency to find out if the pesticide container can be recycled.

To learn more about safe pesticide disposal please visit the resources listed below.
New Online School IPM Courses Now Available!   
IPM professionals who need to earn continuing education credit can now do so without traveling. Funded by the Southern IPM Center, a new web-based school IPM curriculum has been developed by Texas A&M AgriLife specialists. Courses are designed for school IPM coordinators, pest management professionals and animal control/code enforcement officers.
Located at, the online workshop series contains nine courses. Each course contains a pre-test to gauge current knowledge, and slides and handouts on pest biology and management procedures. The courses include:
  • Ants 101
  • Bats 101
  • IPM Basics
  • Texas School IPM Coordinator Crash Course
  • Mosquitoes 101
  • Pollinators 101
  • IPM for School Gardens 101
  • IPM for Texas Schools 101
  • Stinging Insects 101
Janet Hurley, school IPM specialist at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, remarked that every year she would receive inquiries about IPM continuing education credits from individuals who were unable to travel to workshops.  

"The biggest challenge for us is reaching animal control officers and code enforcement officers in rural areas," Hurley said. "They don't always have the opportunity to get training about how to deal with bats and mosquitoes, but they have to deal with them frequently."
Participants will earn a minimum one hour of continuing education credit for each course. Participants receive a login, allowing them to finish the course at their own pace. The courses range in cost from $10 to $25.

Hurley says the list of courses currently on the site is only the beginning. The Stop School Pests National Standard IPM Training Program will be added to the site in 2015 and plans are already in the works for a training on cockroach IPM. Fellow school IPM specialists are beginning to translate years of material from workshop trainings into online slideshows, all of which will be housed on the site.

"The potential is unlimited," Hurley said. "You can't always be there for everyone. Now you can get training wherever you have a computer. And the fact that we got dual credit [for animal control officers] means that we can get a much larger audience than just the typical pest control specialists."

To learn more about these courses, please join the National School IPM Working Group Joint Steering and Advisory Committee Meeting on September's monthly conference call where we will walk through the courses in more detail. Contact Mariel Snyder for more information.

To enroll in a course today, visit 

Contact Rosemary Hallberg, Southern IPM Center, for more information about the online courses. 

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