IPM TECHNICAL RESOURCE CENTER
Integrated Pest Management for Schools and Childcare Facilities
Pest Management Practices - Exclusion
The Quarter-inch Rule Occasional Invaders Seal it Up! - Recommendations for Using Caulks and Sealants Common Pest Entry Routes Cockroach "Special Delivery"
Eliminating pest access to the inside of the building is one of the most basic and important IPM practices for control pests in schools, daycares, offices, and homes. By denying pests access to buildings, the need for chemical control measures can be greatly reduced.
The Quarter-inch Rule
How much space does it take for an insect or rodent to gain access to the building? - A mouse can squeeze through a 1/4-inch opening under a door or around a pipe that isn’t sealed. - Insects and spiders can gain access through any space big enough to allow outside light to shine in. For example, if you can see light under a door from the inside, that is enough space to allow ants, spiders, crickets, etc, to enter the building. Return to top of page
If you are finding crickets, millipedes, ground beetles, and similar occasional invaders in your school or daycare facility, chances are good they are sneaking in under a door that doesn't seal. These aren’t really pests, since they pose no danger to human health, but they are a symptom of a building that needs some attention, to prevent a real pest problem from occurring. Return to top of page
Seal it Up!
The inside and outside of buildings should be inspected carefully to determine any potential entry points for pests, and these should be properly sealed. It is important to select the right type of material for the job. Recommendations for using caulks and sealants. Return to top of page
The Most Common Pest Entry Routes Include:
- Open doors. Sometimes people prop doors open, allowing easy access for pests. Always keep doors closed when not in use, especially kitchen doors or other entry points near dumpsters. - Doors that don't seal. This is often a primary means of pest entry. A door that is closed to humans may present no obstacle for a pest, if it isn’t properly sealed. - Other openings from outside. Gaps around pipes, conduit lines, and ventilation ducts are also common entry routes for pests. All of these should be properly installed and sealed tightly with the proper sealant material. - Open windows. All windows should have screens if they are used for ventilation. Remember: good exclusion measures go hand-in-hand with energy management and building security. Investing the time and money it takes to adequately exclude pests will pay off in the long run in reduced pest problems and a reduced need for chemical control measures. Return to top of page
Some pests, particularly German cockroaches, will “hitch a ride” into buildings by hiding in cardboard boxes delivered to kitchens or other areas, in purses, bookbags, equipment, furniture or wheelchairs. Shipping boxes should be opened and inspected on arrival. Even if no cockroaches are found, cardboard should be broken down and removed if possible, since it can provide potential harborage for cockroaches. If a box has roaches, it can be immediately resealed, wrapped in a black plastic bag, and placed in the summer sun for 3-4 hours to kill the roaches. Or boxes can be placed in the freezer for 3-4 days to kill the roaches. Contact any supplier that sends you roaches and let them know about the problem. If it happens repeatedly, you should consider changing suppliers. It is not realistic to prevent the possibility of a child or staff member occasionally brining in a cockroach in a bookbag, purse, or by other means. If buildings are kept clean and tight, and a monitoring program is in place, these pests will be detected and can be controlled before they get out of hand. It is a good idea to inspect furniture and equipment such as computers, microwave ovens, and so on, before bringing it into the building, to reduce the potential for pest delivery. Return to top of page
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