School IPM 2015: Reducing Pest Problems and Pesticide Hazards in Our Nation's Schools
School IPM 2015 Newsletter: September 2013
In This Issue
What's New?
Upcoming Events
Canines on the Trail of Pests
Main's New Statewide School IPM Coalition
The Midwest Consortium

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What's New This Month 


What do you get when you mix asthma, puppets and rock music? The Breathe Easies! EPA and the Ad Council are excited to launch public service announcements (PSAs) featuring a new band of puppets who star in online music videos for kids and caregivers about asthma triggers and how to prevent attacks.


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

October 15-16, 2013

Texas School IPM Coordinator Training

Katy, TX

More Information   


October 16th, 2013

IKE Free School IPM Training 

Fort Wayne, IN 

More Information   


October 22-25, 2013

NPMA PestWorld 2013 

Phoenix, AZ

More Information  


November 9th, 2013

Austin Insect Rodeo

Austin, TX

More Information 


November 10-13, 2013

Entomological Society of America (ESA) National Meeting

Austin, TX

More Information 


November 13, 2013

TIPMAPS Annual Conference

Austin, TX

More Information 

Quick Links

*View this newsletter as a PDF.
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.  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

Canines on the Trail of Pests        

Canines are more than just human's best friend. They use their excellent sense of smell to hunt, find missing people, track escaped convicts, sniff out contraband and even to detect cancer in humans. Bed bug-seeking dogs have received attention in recent years, but did you know that dogs can also be trained to locate termites, screw worms and other pests?


The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Horticultural Research Laboratory in Fort Pierce received a grant to study the feasibility of using canines to find citrus canker, a serious disease of citrus trees. Although the study is still underway, Tim Gottwald, a senior scientist with the Department says that so far canines have been 97 to 99% accurate in detecting canker in the randomized, controlled study. The dogs are owned by J&K Canine Academy, a nationally recognized behavioral training school based in Florida that teaches dogs to detect termites, bedbugs, bombs, some cancers and canker.


There are limitations to using canines for canker scouting. One challenge is the amount of acreage. There are more than 540,000 acres of citrus trees in Florida alone. It may not prove practical to use canines to cover such a large area. Also, canines lose their accuracy when they become overheated and begin panting, a concern in Florida's climate.


Dogs and their human handlers work as a trained team. Oscar Rincon and Jeremy Ecker were trained at J&K Canine Academy and specialize in indoor pest detection. They continuously train their canines by hiding live bedbugs kept in vials with mesh covers to allow the scent to escape. Canines are rewarded with food if they are able to locate the hidden vials. Ecker relates that his career choice requires a unique commitment. He maintains his own colonies of bed bugs for training, allowing them to feed monthly on his forearms. Bed bugs are not known to spread disease, but they can cause an uncomfortable reaction in some individuals, fortunately this is not the case for Ecker.


 The National Entomology Scent Detection Canine Association (NESDCA) was formed by pest control professionals as a certifying organization that assures the highest quality of standards for scent-detecting canines in residential dwellings, warehouses, office buildings, schools, hotels and other indoor facilities. Certification involves a pass/fail evaluation. Handlers and canines are certified together as a team, neither can be certified individually. Teams must be recertified annually.


There are different tests for each type of certification. The number of "hides" the canine must find depends on the certification type, e.g., termites, bed bugs, carpenter ants or rodents. Live pests are hidden at least thirty minutes prior to the start of the test. Two people attempt to distract the canines to simulate what a real life scenario might entail. Teams have twenty minutes to conduct their search and are allowed only one incorrect response. To learn more about the certification process visit the NESDCA  certification rules webpage. 

Maine's New Statewide School IPM Coalition

The role of a school IPM coordinator is a challenging one, often filled by a school professional with a full load of other responsibilities. In many districts, the facilities director serves as IPM coordinator. In small districts a lead custodian, principal or superintendent may be charged with the task.


Coordinating solutions to pest issues can be challenging enough. When that responsibility is combined with managing a major roof repair or implementation of new academic standards, it can be especially difficult. A peer-to-peer support system can be very helpful.


This year, the Maine chapter of the Educational Plant Maintenance Association (EPMA) launched the Maine School IPM Coalition to provide peer support for school IPM coordinators. Modeled after successful programs in other states, the Coalition provides a network for school professionals as they work to reduce pest and pesticide risks in schools.


Coalition members include school IPM coordinators, pest control professionals and representatives from other organizations and agencies supporting school IPM and environmental health. The Maine School IPM Coalition was initiated as part of an EPA PRIA2 grant-funded project led by the IPM Institute of North America. When Maine EPMA stepped up to lead the new IPM Coalition, it was a perfect fit. "Maine EPMA provides training, networking and leadership for the hard-working people that manage Maine's school buildings and grounds," reports Kathy Murray, Coalition facilitator and coordinator of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's Maine School IPM Program, "EPMA is committed to helping schools implement IPM." In June 2013, the Maine School IPM Coalition organized several IPM workshops and recruited new members at the annual three-day EPMA Maine conference.


The Maine Coalition meets monthly to plan activities and share ideas. A series of workshops will be offered this year. A set of 'monthly IPM messages' to raise awareness about pest prevention methods among teachers, coaches and administrators is under development. "We are most excited about our mentoring program," said Jim Reny, Coalition Leader and EPMA Maine President, "New IPM Coordinators need help getting quickly up to speed with IPM. Our peer mentoring program will pair new IPM Coordinators with a veteran they can turn to for tried and true solutions." More information about the Maine School IPM Coalition can be found at

The Midwest Consortium - Expanding Verifiable IPM in Public Schools

In May of 2012, Improving Kids' Environment (IKE) and its collaborators at The Ohio State University (OSU), were awarded a two-year grant from the US EPA to promote and facilitate the adoption of IPM in schools throughout Indiana and Ohio. In addition to setting up five demonstration schools and shepherding the establishment of School IPM Coalitions in each state, the project is designed to develop a series of training programs for school personnel to learn how to establish and run a school IPM program.


At the end of the first year, significant progress has been made towards achieving the goals of the project. All ten IPM demonstration programs schools, representing nine school districts, have operational IPM programs. Seven of the nine school districts have committed to taking the program district wide. The Indiana and Ohio School IPM Coalitions have been established and expanded their memberships through recruitment at training events and dissemination of news and helpful educational materials. While the Coalitions' work remains largely virtual, members are encouraged to meet and share ideas at the training programs offered through the grant.


Until now, six educational programs have been held, providing more than 220 school district personnel the opportunity to learn about IPM. The largest training program was held at Pike High School in Indianapolis this past June with over 70 individuals in attendance. The training offered two tracks, one for school administrators and one for technicians. Both groups were treated to expert presentations of practical information on how to implement an IPM program in their school or district.


Moving forward, work will continue with the demonstration schools in the attempt to establish a verifiable IPM program at each school. Additional training programs are being planned for new locations to make it easier for school district personnel in the far reaches of each state to attend. The School IPM Coalitions in each state will continue to recruit new members by providing incentives such as access to resource materials. Developing a sustainable structure and leadership for the School IPM Coalition will also be a priority. For more information, contact Margaret Huelsman.