How to Approach Pest Control in a School Setting
There’s no room to mess around when it comes to protecting children from pests that carry potential diseases. When you send your child off to daycare, or even off to college, you want to be sure that they’re in the safest environment possible–even when it comes to pests.
Not only do pests contribute to unhygienic conditions and potential structural damage, they also largely defy regulations and health codes of schools–as they do for many other institutions. This is why it’s so important to adopt a holistic pest management approach that’s both effective and safe for students and faculty. This approach is what we call integrated pest management.
Integrated Pest Management
Integrated pest management is an approach that involves the constant monitoring and recognition of any and all possible pest issues. The approach is broken down into three steps:
1. Routine inspection
When it comes to pest management, you need to be sure that you’re proactive in the measures you take. Routine inspection includes determining which pests are most common to your area, possible points of entry and signs of potential infestation or entry–such as droppings, structural damage, etc.
Step two involves identifying the pest as well as its food source and entry points. Then you can begin pinpointing measures to prevent the pest from entering or reentering (i.e. reparations or sanitation efforts).
Step three is the ongoing, continued awareness of potential pests and their entry points into the institution. This allows you and your pest control provider to determine when the building will require services and how often.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the following pests are most commonly found in schools:
- Bed Bugs
- Biting Midges (Gnats)
- Bees and Wasps
Where to Look For Pests in Schools and Education Buildings
Pests, big and small, are all attracted to one common thing–food. Many cases of pest infestation can be found in the cafeteria or lunchroom of schools. Whether it's in between food containers or underneath appliances.
Classrooms are not only a hot spot for pests, they’re also a great breeding ground as well. Each year, anywhere between six to twelve million kids between the ages of three and eleven will get lice–many of which get them from other children at school. To keep pests out of the classrooms, it’s smart to keep paper clutter-free and stored away as well as receiving regular cleanings.
Lockers are the ultimate clutter collectors–making them the perfect home for pests like cockroaches and millipedes. Piles of paper, damp clothing and food are all extremely attractive to pests, so it’s best to make sure that lockers are cleaned out and sanitized regularly.
It’s easy to throw trash into the dumpster and forget about it, which is why it’s one of the biggest reasons pests enter schools. Dumpsters are a breeding ground for all types of pests–rodents included. Once they make their way into the dumpster they can easily crawl their way into the building, so it’s best to place these receptacles as far away from the building as possible.
Doors and windows
Pests can find their way into buildings through a multitude of methods. Some enter by hitchhiking onto backpacks and pieces of clothing, and some enter just by walking right in. Because of the amount of foot traffic schools get, it’s important to monitor doorways and windows and to try to keep them closed as much as possible.
Playgrounds and fields
It’s no secret that pests come from the outdoors. Which is why protection from bugs should be just as important in playgrounds and soccer fields as it is for the indoors. Pests like bees, mosquitoes and termites run rampant in places like school playgrounds, so it’s important to inspect children as they re-enter the school after playing outdoors.
When food and drink are brought onto buses, this makes them much more susceptible to pets. Even the smallest amount of crumbs will attract them and once they make their way onto a bus, pests can easily hitch a ride into the school through backpacks and clothing.
Tips for Preventing Pests in Schools and Education Buildings
Even before you implement your integrated pest management strategy, it’s important to be aware of preventative measures you can take to keep pests out of your education facility. Below are a few best practices for preventing pests in schools.
As we know, pests are widely attracted to food. And because it isn’t possible to eliminate all food from schools, it’s important to keep restrictions on where food is allowed and when. This is why it’s important to designate certain times and places for lunch and snacks. By doing this, all of the clean up can be done at once, eliminating the chance that crumbs get left for pests to collect.
Sealing cracks and holes
Like any other institution, pests can find their way inside through the most surprisingly tiny cracks and crevices. During the routine inspection of your integrated pest management system, it’s imperative to look for any possible entryways from the outside and to repair them as quickly as possible.
For places as important as an education facility, it’s important that you have nothing but the best possible safety measures in place. Experts in pest control can help you through every stage of your pest management system–from identifying possible entry points to determining how often your treatment should be implemented.
However, it’s not enough to just hire any old pest control company. When choosing a company for your school or education building, it’s important to hire someone you can trust. At Killingsworth Environmental, we believe in a holistic and environmentally friendly approach to commercial pest control.
From local daycare centers to large universities, our pest control programs are designed to provide educational facilities the highest levels of safety and protection for those within their walls. We have programs for specialized, complex areas, such as labs, cafeterias, dormitories and sports complexes, as well as classrooms. No one is better equipped to handle pests than us. Schedule a pest control service with our expert staff!