Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is an approach to pest control that relies on a combination of common sense practices for preventing and controlling pests and unnecessary exposure to pesticides. See links at the end of this page for details.
DATCP operates Wisconsin's School IPM program to reduce the need to rely on chemical pesticides when dealing with pests on school grounds. In partnership with the University of Wisconsin Extension Entomology and Horticulture Departments, the DATCP assists Wisconsin's schools in a balanced approach to control the risks posed by pests and the risks from the exclusive use of pesticides. Some pests can carry allergens, bacteria, viruses or cause venomous stings. Pesticides are toxic chemicals that should be used only when it is clear that practical, non-pesticide methods will not be able to control the pest problem.
In an IPM approach, considerable effort is also put toward preventing pest problems by controlling conditions that may attract and support pests. For example, to control an infestation of pavement ants in a classroom, placing ant baits (pesticides) in areas inaccessible to children, or applying gel baits to baseboards might be effective control options. However, Wisconsin schools have experienced repeat problems because pesticides alone, do not usually achieve long term control. Some schools have also received complaints when repeated, frequent application of a pesticide takes place in areas where children are present every day.
For long-term pest control, it is essential to identify why the infestation arose in the first place. Non-chemical controls such as sealing cracks and crevices to prevent access, improving sanitation around food preparation, waste/recycling storage areas, and limiting where food can be eaten will help prevent the problem.
IPM addresses the cause of the problem (food scraps and crumbs throughout the building) to avoid the development of the symptoms (the ant infestation).
Depending on the type of pest(s), condition of school facilities, resources, and commitment of the administration and staff, IPM plans take many forms. We can assist your school in customizing an IPM plan that meets your needs and is flexible.
We offer free on-site pest management consultation, and on-site and off-site IPM training sessions for your school staff, so your school personnel can gain the skills needed to maximize pest control while minimizing pesticide risks to students and staff
FAQ's - 8 page PDF
Frequently asked questions on pesticide use in schools and integrated pest management.
School Pesticide Use
School boards and administrators have specific legal responsibilities for pesticide use on school grounds. Link to the statutes governing pesticide use at public schools and School Board responsibilities.
Links to other related school IPM information including chemical products and environmental health resources.
Contact information for the Wisconsin School IPM Program.
Wisconsin School IPM Manual
The Wisconsin School IPM Manual is currently under revision and is not available online. If you would like a bound copy of the manual ($10 per manual) contact the School IPM Program at 608-224-4547 or send us an email.
Teachers' Resources - 1 page PDF
Integrated Pest Management curricula and resources for K-12 teachers.
Dealing with Mold Using IPM: a school's guide - 4 page PDF
Using integrated pest management to control mold in schools.
Costs of Pesticide Storage on School Grounds - 1 page PDF
Why chemical inventories cost schools money: how to avoid it.
Safe and Legal Pesticide Storage on School Grounds - 1 page PDF
Requirements and simple suggestions for school staff.
View the proper signage required when pesticides have been used on public school grounds.
Advisory Committee - 1 page PDF
School Integrated Pest Management advisory committee members.
School Training Opportunities
School personnel who have pest problems, pesticide concerns or need assistance with their pest management program can contact the DATCP School IPM program for details or to request service in several areas.
- Training Seminars - Taught by UW-Extension IPM staff, these one day sessions provide information on the principles of IPM, technical information on how to manage turf, landscape and indoor pest problems and information about the administrative challenges facing schools at any stage of their IPM program. Nominal fee includes a copy of the Wisconsin School IPM Manual and refreshments.
- Have trouble with pests in the building or outdoors?
- Lack funding or administrative support to get rid of pests on school grounds?
- Want to minimize the use of pesticides and get rid of pests that can carry diseases, cause venomous stings and allergies?
- Access the experience of school IPM staff who will conduct an on-site review of your school's pest management plan. We will review your known pest problems and the potential for increased risks to health and property. We will provide IPM choices, recommend non-chemical methods to deal with pests and their habitat and counsel you on pesticides if they will be necessary. We can also answer your questions about IPM cost and implementation. An assessment usually takes up to 2 hours at no charge to the school.
DATCP/UW IPM staff work with school to manage difficult pest and pesticide issues, present information to school boards, staff, teachers and students.