- Check all door sweeps. If you can see any light peeking through, remember mice and ants consider that an open door invitation to your building. Replace or adjust door sweeps that allow pests to enter the school.
- Remind teachers and support staff that keeping food stored in plastic containers can significantly reduce pest problems.
- Be on the lookout for new infestations of head lice as students return from winter break. The most common way to get head lice is by head-to-head contact with a person who already has head lice. Students diagnosed with live head lice can go home at the end of the day, be treated, and return to class after appropriate treatment has begun. Consider eliminating school exclusion policies for both nits and lice.
- A comprehensive cleaning program with a written protocol for infection control can help prevent the spread of pathogens (germs) that cause infectious diseases throughout the entire school. It also ensures that facilities use the most appropriate products and procedures available for the task to help avoid exposing product users and other building occupants to potential health hazards.
- Caulk cracks and crevices around foundations that allow ants and other pests to enter the building. Use escutcheon plates around water pipes; fill openings with copper mesh and caulk/seal to prevent entry of rodents and insects.
- Check Pest Vulnerable Areas, especially kitchens, for cockroaches. Place sticky traps in infested areas to track movement, and identify locations of harborages to seal up. Use a HEPA-filtered vacuum to remove cockroaches and debris from harborages.
- Trim branches and limbs of trees and shrubs that touch the building to keep ants and other pests from gaining access via these routes.
- Maintain the area next to buildings as a barrier to prevent pests using rock, clay, concrete or pavement. Don’t use mulch next to the building. Extend the barrier three feet away from building to prevent rodents from digging burrows next to buildings. If using rock, a diameter of one inch or larger and at least a 2 inch depth all around is recommended.
- Check for wasp nests in common locations such as open-ended pipes, dumpsters, trash can lids, underneath outdoor bleachers and trees located close to the building. Remove old nests that are found on school grounds. Place bait traps to lure new queens before they build new nests.
- Make sure any staff that are cleaning up small amounts of rodent droppings, are following CDC guidelines.
- Clover mites are found on the south sides of buildings, sometimes entering through cracks around windows. Carefully sealing/caulking all exterior openings can also prevent indoor migrations. Clover mites migrations can also be prevented by use of a fine layer of various dusts around windows and other points of entry.Talc-containing baby powder, diatomaceous earth, and even baking soda or cornstarch may create an effective barrier through which clover mites cannot pass. Clover mites should not be crushed, as they will leave a rusty stain, but can be vacuumed. Left alone, clover mite problems end on their own with warm weather in May or early June, forcing them into summer dormancy.
- Watch for bee swarms. Bee swarms can be easily re-located and do not need to be destroyed. If you have a swarm that needs to be re-located, contact the Colorado State Beekeepers Association.
- Provide a dry, vegetation-free border, such as gravel or stones, around the perimeter of building foundations to discourage ants from building nests.
- Continue to bait for wasps; replace lures in traps.
- Consider green cleaning. Green cleaning can help reduce the environmental hazards produced from certain chemical combinations. Green cleaning protects the health of custodial staff. Choosing safer products and training staff in proper usage can help reduce the number of injuries caused by caustic chemicals, respiratory irritation, and inappropriate or dangerous equipment. Green cleaning increases the lifespan of facilities. Proper maintenance and effective cleaning extends the longevity and performance of school building materials and furnishings by preventing damage and premature aging.
- Get ready for miller moths. The best way to remove the moths, once inside the building, is to vacuum them. The moths are not very susceptible to insecticides and any moths killed will be rapidly replaced by new moths migrating into the area nightly.
- In the kitchen pantry, avoid storing boxes or items on the floor against walls. Use wire shelving so all of the floor area can be cleaned and completely free of debris. Rotate stored items and remove cardboard boxes when possible.
- Identify the species of ant before starting a control strategy. Different species can require different approaches. Some species are drawn indoors for food or moisture including crumbs or sweet liquid spills. Prompt cleanup can stop problems before they start. If you are using baits to help manage persistent ant problems, eliminating other food sources will make the baits more attractive.
- House flies, fruit flies, phorid flies and fungus gnats are active. Flies can transmit bacteria and disease-causing organisms to food and food preparation surfaces. To keep flies out, maintain window screens and weather stripping around doors and windows. Keep dumpsters covered, clean and away from buildings. Cover or put away foods whenever possible, and promptly clean up spills and crumbs.
- Mosquitoes are of concern in the school environment because many species are painful biters and/or are capable of transmitting diseases, such as West Nile Virus. The immature stages of mosquitoes (larvae and pupae) are often found in standing water around the school building. Identifying and eliminating these sites – any water that stays still, lacks predators (like fish), and lasts for more than a few days – is the most effective nonchemical control measure.
- One of the most important preventative repairs you can do will keep mice from entering the school– check all exterior doors and, if you see daylight, adjust or replace the door sweeps.
- Miller moths tend to aggregate in the crevices around doors. The best way to remove the moths, once inside the building, is to vacuum them. Insecticides have little or no place in controlling millers.
- If pigeons are “loafing” on the building, deterrents such as spikes, coils, sloped surfaces and netting can be useful. Close openings with wood, metal, glass, or rust-proofed iron mesh in buildings that allow access to indoor nesting sites.
- Fit all operable windows (crank, slider, flap) with screens with a gasket to prevent pest entry. Screens should be taut, without tears, and 10 mesh or smaller.
- Use multiple strategies to control ants. Ant entry can be reduced by caulking around door thresholds, windows, and openings where utility pipes and wires enter buildings. Keeping all food in airtight containers will help eliminate food sources for ants.
- Use baits to control pavement ants. Place baits near trails and other locations where ants are likely to encounter them. Place baits outdoors; avoid indoor baiting as that may attract more ants into the building. Place in protected areas inaccessible to children and pets. Offer small portions of each bait to see which one is preferred before employing an extensive baiting program. Follow up regularly to make sure bait is working and place fresh bait as necessary.
- Phorid or humpbacked flies are found wherever moisture exists around plumbing and drains in bathroom and kitchen areas, garbage containers, garbage disposals, crawl space areas, wall voids, or basements where plumbing leaks provide wet areas supporting mold or fungal growth. Occasionally, drainpipes will break under slab floors, and phorid flies can breed in immense numbers in the organic debris deposited through the break in the pipe. Check areas where any fruits or vegetables are stored outside of refrigerators or coolers. Also inspect recycling bins, garbage cans, damp mop closets and used rag storage bins, and beneath refrigerators where dust and other organic deposits can be found in damp evaporation pans. Fly trapping products that utilize a sticky surface may be effective in determining areas of infestation.
- Locate dumpsters 50 feet from the back door whenever possible. Keep dumpster lids closed or use self-closing lids. Place trash cans/dumpsters on a concrete slab, designed and graded so that it is possible to spray with water to clean.
- Use CFL light fixtures with yellow CFL bulbs in order to attract fewer flying insects.
- Caulk/seal along baseboards, floor and wall joints, window and door moldings, edges of electrical outlet covers, and radiator covers. Caulk smaller openings using elastomeric silicone sealant.
- Schedule IPM training for your staff. Let your school administrators know that IPM is an important component in keeping your school green and healthy.
- Inspect all doors leading outdoors and submit work orders for new or repaired door sweeps.
- Remind teachers and support staff that keeping food stored in plastic containers can significantly reduce pest problems.
- Place sticky traps to monitor for insects in Pest Vulnerable Areas (PVAs). These are places in and around buildings that provide food, water/moisture, and shelter for a pest. PVAs are usually areas that are dark, warm, moist, and shadowy and have a food source.
- Help control mosquito activity using IPM. Practice good sanitation around the school as litter and debris in the yard can collect water and enable mosquito breeding. Turn over pails and empty planters or anything that can hold stagnant water. Maintain the water in ornamental ponds and other receptacles that require water to function. Cover openings for standing water sources, such as septic tanks, rain barrels, and catch basins with fine mesh screening. Clear gutters. Fill natural depressions in landscaping, tree holes and rotten stumps with sand to absorb water retained after rainfall and to conserve water. Drain abandoned pools. Drain water from play sets by drilling holes in the bottom to help with drainage. Water lawns and gardens minimally to prevent puddles. Mow tall grass to reduce shady areas where mosquitoes prefer to rest.
- Earwigs can be nuisance pests when found indoors, often under rugs, potted plants or in stacks of newspapers. Prevent earwigs from moving into schools and other buildings by sealing cracks and crevices along foundations and using tight-fitting door sweeps. Clear the area next to the building of sheltering debris (including mulches) used by earwigs, particularly near doorways and window wells.
- Remove ivy, weeds, piles of leaves, or rubbish that is close to the foundation. Keep water and moisture away from the structure by repairing drain spouts, grading the area so water drains away, and ventilating crawl spaces to minimize moisture.
- Use cockroach traps to locate areas with high population density. Traps will not eliminate an established colony, but are a useful tool in determining what your next steps should be. Place traps under sinks, against walls, in dark corners, and in cabinets. If the traps remain empty after a couple of days, then move traps to another likely location.
- Regularly inspect all school buildings for signs of mold, moisture, leaks or spills. Identify and correct high moisture conditions quickly. Dry all wet areas within 24 to 48 hours.
- Use sticky traps along baseboards to monitor and help control ground dwelling spiders. Caulk, seal and screen all entry points into the building to exclude spiders. Change exterior lighting from the standard lights to sodium vapor bulbs to limit prey insects coming to the building. Vacuum regularly to suck up spiders, webbing, and other insects that can serve as food for spiders. Minimize clutter in classrooms to reduce areas suitable for spiders to hide, reproduce, and lay eggs.
- Control western yellowjackets to prevent or at least minimize stings. Keep sweet items covered. Bees and wasps, like children, are attracted to sweets. This includes recycle bins and garbage cans that contain soda cans or fruit scraps. Change bin and can liners often and clean them with soap and water regularly. Cover all outside garbage cans and recycle bins with a self-closing lid. Don’t harass the wasps by swatting at them or going near nests. When a yellowjacket nest is spotted, have a professional remove it at night.
- Monitor and inspect areas where bats can enter buildings. Watching bats leave the roost at dusk can help locate entry sites. These include gaps under and over attic doors, gaps around pipes passing into the ceiling, pocket doors that slide into the walls, loose fitting baseboards, and broken plaster. Use exclusion only between October and March.
- Boxelder bugs are commonly found in and around schools in the fall. They don’t bite or sting — just annoy — people. They may stain lightly colored materials and they emit an unpleasant odor when smashed. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove indoor populations. You can also seal cracks that may allow boxelder bugs to enter buildings.
- The most common way to get head lice is by head-to-head contact with a person who already has head lice. Students diagnosed with live head lice can go home at the end of the day, be treated, and return to class after appropriate treatment has begun. Consider eliminating school exclusion policies for both nits and lice.
- Repair or replace damaged or missing door sweeps on exterior doors, and seal all other openings that allow entrance. Any hole ¼” or larger can accommodate a mouse. Remove indoor and outdoor debris that could harbor mice such as woodpiles, clutter and mulch piles.
- Use exclusion techniques for bats only between the months of October through March when bats are hibernating elsewhere. Seal openings with sealant, hardware cloth, or wood after all bats have exited.
- Cluster flies are the most common fly found in buildings during the cool months. They can sometimes be serious nuisance problems, particularly in taller buildings where they tend to concentrate on upper stories on the south and west sides. The best way to control cluster flies in the winter is to use a fly swatter or vacuum. To prevent them from finding a sheltered place in your school to spend the winter, caulk and seal all exterior openings.
- Close areas under modular buildings where skunks, rabbits and other animals may seek residence. Install fencing that extends 1 to 2 feet below ground and seal foundation openings to prevent skunks from denning under buildings.
- Reduce clutter to eliminate living areas for pests.
- Store all edible items in airtight containers. Edible items include food, science supplies and pet food.
- Barn or cliff swallows usually arrive in April and leave in the fall. Problems arise when swallows build their nests around schools, although regular cleaning of bird poop with soap and water should eliminate concerns about histoplasmosis. Exclusion is the most permanent approach – prevent them from building or returning to their nests. Frightening and repellents are not effective for barn or cliff swallows. Plastic net or poultry wire can provide a physical barrier between swallows and a nest site. Some grounds managers have prevented swallows from returning by washing nests down with a water hose. ONLY do this if there are no eggs or young in the nest. Other methods to prevent swallows include using slick surfaces discourage nesting or, if you have a new building, avoid overhanging eaves or other design structures that would encourage nesting.