September – Pest IQ, Bed Bugs, Weed Killers, Unused Pesticides, Mosquitoes, & Upcoming Events
“What you don’t know about pests, can it hurt you?” blog post by Dr. Thomas Green, IPM Institute of North America
What to do with outdated, unused pesticides
Following is an update to the original article provided by Joni Rix, Environmental Project Manager, Denver Public Schools:
“Most large school districts (Denver, Jeffco, Aurora, Cherry Creek, St. Vrain, Cherry Creek, Thompson, Poudre) have methods in place for disposal of chemicals or toxic items, which would include pesticides. School districts should be contacting their District Environmental Department for disposal not outside agencies – if they don’t have such a department, then the link you sent is appropriate.”
September 30 – EPA Webinar – “Creating Tick-Safe Schools Using IPM”
November 5-7 – NEHA Workshop – “Biology and Control of Vectors and Public Health Pests: The Importance of Integrated Pest Management”
“What you don’t know about pests, can it hurt you?”
Dr. Thomas Green, IPM Institute of North America, asked members of the National Parent Teacher Association these questions: How is your children’s school doing? Are you, your kids or your kids’ teachers unhappy with the pest control at your school? Do you see pests, or signs of pests such as mouse droppings? Read his post “What you don’t know about pests, can it hurt you?“
Be ready with a written policy for bed bug control
“Bed bug infestations are continuing to spread through single-family and multi-unit homes. This means that more people are living with bed bugs than ever before. When more people live with bed bugs the possibility of people transporting bed bugs to other locations increases. Children living with bed bugs at home will bring bed bugs to school. We need to accept the fact that bed bugs have the potential to be transported to school every day that school is in session. Thus, there is a great probability any particular school will experience multiple bed bug introductions every year.” Dr. Dini Miller, Virginia Tech
Dr. Miller advises schools to develop a Code of Practice for when a bed bug is found. It will be 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. The infested classroom will require professional treatment and quite possibly, parent notification of the infestation. A single bed bug on a child will require discretion. Have a written code of practice in place for both situations. Communicate this code of practice to all faculty and staff.
The Colorado School IPM program has the following tools to help you develop policies for bed bug management:
Bed Bugs Fact Sheet
Bed Bug Recommendations for Nurses, Teachers, and Administrators
Dealing with Bed Bugs in Schools
In this 2 1/2 minute video, Roger Reyes, IPM coordinator for Denver Public Schools, tells why it is important to educate staff on pest problems, including bed bugs, in their school. From the 2014 School IPM Statewide meeting in Aurora, CO.
Common weed killer is widespread in the environment
In our 2012 survey of Colorado schools, 96% of schools reported that weeds have been a problem. The most common practice to control weeds was to spot spray weeds in turf areas and/or pavement areas (66.5%). Although we did not ask which herbicides were being used, Glyphosate (Roundup and many other trade names) is a popular herbicide due to its ease of use and effectiveness on a wide variety of plants. Glyphosate by itself is no more than slightly toxic to birds, fish, and aquatic invertebrates; and exhibits relatively low oral and dermal acute toxicity to humans (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).
Recent studies, however, have documented the potential for other health effects. Many studies indicate that commercial glyphosate formulations can be more toxic than pure glyphosate due to the toxicity and/or action of additives, such as surfactants (detergents). U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists report that glyphosate and its degradation product AMPA (aminomethylphosphonic acid) are transported off-site from agricultural and urban sources and occur widely in the environment. This study is the largest and most comprehensive assessment of the environmental occurrence of glyphosate and AMPA in the United States conducted to date, summarizing the results of 3,732 environmental samples collected between 2001 and 2010 from 38 states.
Most observed concentrations of glyphosate were well below existing health benchmarks and levels of concern for humans or wildlife, and none exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Maximum Contaminant Level or the Canadian short-term or long-term freshwater aquatic life standards. However, the results indicate that glyphosate and AMPA frequently add to the chronic low-level exposures to mixtures of pesticides and pesticide degradation products that plants and animals experience in a wide range of ecosystems in the United States.
From the U. S. Geological Survey http://toxics.usgs.gov/highlights/glyphosate_2014.html
What to do with outdated, unused pesticides
School districts frequently struggle with how to discard unused, no longer needed pesticides and lab chemicals. Administration and staff may be unaware that old pesticides and lab chemicals have accumulated. Problems occur when pesticides and lab chemicals are discovered years after they were originally purchased. They may no longer be legal to use and disposal is expensive. In Colorado schools, we have found old pesticides from horticulture or agriculture programs, and in maintenance storage areas, especially when an in-house structural or grounds pest management program becomes outsourced. These old pesticides and other chemicals may cause 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.
All pesticides should be stored safely and according to the label found on the container, in a cool dry place away from food and out of children’s reach.
Tony Pierce, a former science teacher, 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”, said Pierce.
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. Many large school districts along the Front Range of Colorado have a District Environmental Department, which has policies in place for disposal of chemicals or toxic items, including pesticides. If your school district, does not have an environmental department, contact your state clean sweep coordinator to learn how to safely dispose of these containers.
When transporting pesticides, keep an emergency spill kit (gloves, cat litter or other absorbent material, goggles and coveralls) on hand. 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.
Learn more about safe pesticide disposal:
- EPA Safe Disposal of Pesticides
- EPA School Chemical Clean-out Campaign (SC3)
- If you have questions about chemical disposal call the National Pesticide Information Center at 1-800-858-7378or email them.
Mosquito IPM for Schools
The following tools from the Colorado School IPM program can help you understand and manage mosquitoes:
Mosquito’s Fact Sheet
Throughout the fall, continue to remove sources of standing water where mosquitoes breed. Some examples of key habitats for egg laying and larval development include tree holes, buckets, tires, tarps, unused swimming pools, storm drains and clogged gutters. Turn over water-holding tools, such as wheelbarrows when not in use. Eliminate stagnate water in birdbaths, ornamental pools or other outside areas. Cover dumpsters, trash and recycling bins to prevent water accumulation. Remove old tires or drill holes in them to drain water. Cut back or remove dense brush and other vegetation from around buildings.
Avoid adult mosquitoes by wearing dark colors. Some mosquitoes are attracted to dark greens, browns and black. Make sure window and door screens are in good repair.
EPA WEBINAR – SEPTEMBER 30 – CREATING TICK-SAFE SCHOOLS USING INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT.
This webinar is one in a series of EPA webinars to help school districts adopt a proactive approach to pest control by offering information on plans for implementing IPM.
Register for the Creating Tick-Safe Schools webinar here: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/211517777.
The Colorado Coalition for School IPM has developed the following fact sheet on ticks:
Time out for Ticks! Fact Sheet
FREE WORKSHOP – NOVEMBER 5-7 – BIOLOGY & CONTROL OF VECTORS & PUBLIC HEALTH PESTS: THE IMPORTANCE OF INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT.
The workshop features presentations from top entomologists and IPM experts in the U.S. and includes interactive group activities and discussion on a variety of important topics including:
- Integrated pest management (IPM)
- Vector-borne diseases of public health importance
- Rodent management
- Bed bug biology, control and interactive inspection
- Mosquito management
- Tick management
- Pests in the Housing Environment
- Pests in the Food Environment and Interactive Inspection
For more information about the workshop or to register online please visit: http://www.neha.org/public-health-pests-conference.html.
This workshop is being presented by: National Environmental Health Association and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Environmental Health, Environmental Health Services Branch (CDC/NCEH) In cooperation with Colorado Environmental Health Association.