Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Traditional pest control involves the routine application of pesticides. In addition to posing a dire threat to pollinators and biodiversity, pesticides can have short and long-term impact on children’s health. Children are more sensitive than adults to pesticides and young children especially can have greater exposure to pesticides from crawling, exploring, or other hand-to-mouth activities. Adverse effects of pesticide exposure range from mild symptoms to serious, long-term neurological, developmental and reproductive disorders.

The EPA recommends that schools use an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan to reduce pesticide risk and exposure. IPM is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach that offers a wide variety of tools to reduce contact with pests and exposure to pesticides. EPA recommends a “Smart, Sensible & Sustainable” approach to pest control. Smart: IPM creates a safer and healthier learning environment by managing pests and reducing children’s exposure to pests and pesticides. Sensible: Practical strategies reduce sources of food, water & shelter for pests in school buildings and on grounds. Sustainable: The emphasis is on prevention, which is economically advantageous. Learn more below about developing an effective school IPM plan. In addition to the resources noted, county and state cooperative extension offices offer excellent IPM information!

Tip: Also visit our National & State Green School Programs page to learn more about local and national Green School programs and resources to help you improve the health & sustainability of your school!

Honey Bee Haven Sign

Before You Start

Design and Preparation


Using Your Project

Sharing Your Project

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