Healthy Colorado Schools Newsletter
This newsletter is designed for faculty, staff, students and parents in Colorado schools. Our goal is to help schools maintain a safe and healthy environment for students and staff using Integrated Pest Management. IPM emphasizes long-term prevention of pest problems and reduces exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.
SAVE THE DATE. The spring meeting for Colorado Coalition School IPM will be held on Friday, April 3, 2015, sponsored by St. Vrain Valley School District. Stay tuned for more details.
The 8th International IPM Symposium will be held in Salt Lake City, UT, March 24-26, 2015
For the first time, the U.S. Green Building Council is including the toxicity of chemicals in materials as part of their LEED certification, and offering credits in its LEED 4 standard for the GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals. “The GreenScreen is becoming a global standard for chemical hazard assessment, and its use in the building sector will help drive green chemistry innovation in this sector.”said Lauren Heine, director of the GreenScreen program. Learn more about GreenScreen here.
What training is needed in your school district? Contact us if your school district would like to schedule workshops on implementing IPM. We have new training programs available for kitchen staff, nurses and health aides. We can also provide workshops or online materials for facility managers, custodial staff, grounds managers, teachers and principals.
If you know of upcoming workshops of interest to Colorado school IPM, let us know and we will post them in the next newsletter.
Does this look the the food storage room in your school kitchen??
MANAGING KITCHENS AND CAFETERIAS
Kitchen, nutrition and cafeteria staff know that food handling and preparation areas are among the most vulnerable areas for pests. Mice, ants and cockroaches can find everything they need in a school kitchen. Here is a check list for school kitchen staff:
- Food scraps, food spills and grease residue are cleaned up daily.
- Consistent efforts are made to reduce clutter.
- Floors are swept and washed as often as possible.
- Garbage is removed outdoors daily.
- Garbage cans are lined with plastic liner bags.
- Empty disposable/recyclable containers are rinsed well before storage.
- Counter-tops are cleaned and dried daily.
- Mops and buckets are rinsed well and hung to facilitate drying.
- Stove tops and cooking/warming units are cleaned of spills, grease and sugar each day.
- Hard-to-reach areas–molding, walls and flooring behind and under appliances and cooking equipment–are cleaned weekly.
Learn more about how food service staff can implement IPM.
California contracted with a film company and hired an actor to produce these school IPM videos – check them out!
The CDC Biology & Control of Vectors and Other Public Health Pests: The Importance of IPM is being converted to an online training course. The course will cover the basics of IPM as well as ticks, cockroaches, mosquitoes, rodents, bed bugs and more. Available at no-cost, the course will be ready for viewing in late summer 2015. We will be looking for individuals to beta test the online course once it is completed. If you are interested in being a part of that, please contact Christl Tate at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chip Osborne is offering his one-day Natural Turf Management workshop in Boulder, CO on February 26, 2015. Click here for more information.
BED BUG POLICIES
Kudos to Poudre School District, who approved their plan for dealing with bed bugs. According to Dr. Dini Miller, urban pest management specialist for Virginia Cooperative Extension, each school district should develop a policy for when a bed bug is found. It is critical to decide how to respond to a single bed bug found on a child’s clothing versus how to respond to one or more bed bugs loose in a classroom. Communicate this policy to all faculty and staff. Draft recommendations can be found on our website.
See our publications and poster on bed bugs here.
INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT IS DISEASE CONTROL
Leah Colton, Medical Entomologist and Zoonoses Epidemiologist, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
In 2014 Colorado had 16 human tularemia cases, the most we’ve had since 1983. Twelve of these cases were hospitalized, and almost all of them occurred along the Front Range. Both children and adults became ill with tularemia.
Tularemia is a disease carried by rodents and rabbits, and it can be spread by ticks and biting flies. When people touch, handle, or are bitten by these creatures they can get tularemia. Since infected animals can contaminate the environment, people can also get tularemia from contaminated soil and water.
Tularemia starts with a fever, and most people get swollen glands somewhere on their body. It can affect your eyes, lungs, throat, or give you a skin sore. It can also cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. This disease can be treated with antibiotics but it usually takes several weeks to get better.
The best way not to get tularemia is to stay away from infected creatures and keep them out of your environment so they cannot contaminate the area. Integrated pest management can help with this. Strategies that stop rodents from infesting school buildings will also keep this disease at bay.
Vegetation management on school grounds can reduce the size and presence of rabbit populations, also helping to control this disease. Landscape management can control tick presence on school grounds, and barriers such as screens can stop biting flies from entering schools. Integrated pest management therefore serves to control disease, and thus safeguard the health and well-being of our schoolchildren and school staff.
PEST OF THE MONTH
I like to watch the squirrels do their acrobatics in the trees outside my window. They chatter at the dog and flap their tails. While they are entertaining, tree squirrels and ground squirrels may be a health risk. They are hosts for fleas and may act as carriers for plague, which is widespread in the western United States. They can cause damage to structures, where they may find warm shelter, food and water.
The first step in wildlife pest management is identifying the animal. There are ten species of squirrels recorded in Rocky Mountain National Park.
The best way to prevent damage from squirrels is to make the property less hospitable:
• Keep your property clean and maintained.
• Prevent wildlife pests from getting inside buildings by sealing up holes with caulking, and/or copper or stainless steel mesh screening.
• Trim trees six to eight feet away from buildings to prevent squirrels from jumping onto roofs.
• Secure garbage cans in a garage or outbuilding and keep the lids on.
• Keep pet food inside.
• Place birdfeeders 15 to 30 feet from buildings. Consider using squirrel proof feeders or removing them if wildlife pests are a problem.
If squirrels become a problem, they can be trapped inside or outside of buildings by licensed wildlife pest control operators. There are no chemical controls federally registered for use on squirrels.
The Colorado Coalition for School IPM is a collaborative effort by Colorado State University, U.S. Environmental Protection, USDA National Institute of Food & Agriculture, Colorado Department of Agriculture, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado Department of Education, school districts, National Environmental Health Association and private pest control professionals, committed to implementing IPM principles in schools throughout Colorado.