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Integrated Pest Management for Schools and Childcare Facilities

Pest Management Practices - Sanitation


Pest Vulnerable Areas Kitchens and Other Food Prep Areas Kitchen Storerooms Dumpster and Trash Management Tips - Reducing Pest Activity via Proper Handling of Food Waste Teacher's Lounge Janitor's Closets and Mop Rooms Classrooms - Reducing Pest Problems by Reducing Clutter Seal it UP: Common Pest Harborages - Recommendations for Using Caulks and Sealants

Good sanitation is pest management, because it limits the resources pests need to survive and reproduce. Schools and childcare facilities are generally very clean environments, because staff work hard to protect the health and well being of the children. However, because insect and rodent pests require relatively little food to survive, the standards for sanitation must be very high. Sanitation practices for pest management include: - Thorough cleaning of food preparation areas, including hard-to-reach areas - Good trash management - Storing food in tight-sealing containers - Eliminating clutter and removing cardboard wherever possible - Equipment cleaning and maintenance (including floor drains and vents) - Repairing water leaks and eliminating standing water - Sealing gaps or holes that lead into wall voids or other pest harborage areas - Good landscape management practices to reduce pest attraction

Pest Vulnerable Areas

Remember that pests are most likely to occur and become established in those areas where all the pest’s needs are met: food, water or moisture, warmth, and a hiding place (harborage). In schools and daycare centers, pest vulnerable areas include: - Kitchens and other food prep areas (including storeroom and dishwasher room) - Dumpster and trash receptacles - Teachers lounges or break rooms - Concessions or other areas with food sources - Custodial closets - Classrooms with food, water, and other favorable conditions - Pools and locker rooms Return to top of page

Kitchens and other Food Prep Areas

Here are some tips for pest management sanitation in kitchens, concession stands, and other food preparation areas: - Put in extra effort to clean hard-to-reach areas - If possible, put heavy equipment on rollers to improve cleaning and inspection - Continuously monitor all food areas for pest activity - Clean floor drains and ventilation screens on a regular basis - Seal gaps around pipes and fixtures to eliminate harborage - Replace any cracked floor or wall tile - Reduce moisture levels and eliminate standing water - Employ good trash management practices - Store all food products in pest-proof containers - Eliminate clutter and reduce cardboard - Keep soda dispensers clean and repair any leaking lines Return to top of page

Kitchen Storerooms

Good shelving versus bad shelving: Use wire shelves that allow spilled food or debris to fall through for easy cleaning. Shelves should leave 18” between the floor and the bottom shelf to facilitate cleaning and inspection, and shelves should be away from the wall to facilitate inspection and discourage rodents and other pests. Avoid wooden shelving units because wood is porous and absorbs food, odors and grease, and is generally attractive to cockroaches because it resembles their native habitat. Also, avoid any shelving with “kickplates” that create areas that are inaccessible for cleaning and inspection, or shelving with hollow spaces for pests to hide in. Return to top of page

Dumpsters and Trash Management Tips

Reducing pest activity via proper handling of food waste [PDF File] Return to top of page

Teacher’s Lounge

Teacher’s lounges and staff break rooms normally contain food, water, warmth, and plenty of hiding places for pests. These areas need to be kept clean and should be monitored to prevent pest infestations. Store all food products in sealed containers. Return to top of page

Janitor’s Closets and Mop Rooms

These rooms are often overlooked as pest vulnerable areas, but they are often a source of cockroach or rodent infestations in a school. They bring together all those things that pests need: food, moisture, water, warmth, and living space. To reduce pest pressure in custodial closets: - Keep the area clean and clutter-free - Keep mop sinks and buckets empty and dry when not in use - Hang all mops and allow to dry between use - Do not eat or store food in these rooms - Repair plumbing leaks - Utilize appropriate shelving and storage practices - Clean floor drains on a regular basis - Seal gaps around pipes and fixtures to eliminate harborage - Replace any cracked floor or wall tile - Continuously monitor these areas for pest activity Return to top of page


Generally speaking, classrooms are not especially vulnerable to pests. Most classrooms lack the resources pests are looking for. There are exceptions, however. The following is recommended with regard to pest management in classrooms: - Food in classrooms. As a general rule, the fewer places where food is stored and consumed in a school, the easier it will be to focus pest control efforts. If food is kept in classrooms it must be carefully stored in pest-proof plastic containers or sealable plastic storage bags. Don’t overlook food items such as beans or corn kernels that are not consumed but are used for games or counting. These can become sources of pest infestations such as Indian meal moths, saw-tooth grain beetles, or weevils. Food preparation areas and serving tables must be thoroughly cleaned after each use. Insect monitors should be installed in any classrooms where food is served on a regular basis. - Classroom sinks. Cabinets under classroom sinks should be kept free of clutter and accessible for inspection and pest treatment if necessary. Pipes leading into walls should be tightly sealed with escutheon plates (“pipe collars”) and should be checked regularly for leaks. - Pets in classrooms. Keeping pets in classrooms may provide valuable learning opportunities as well as fun for students, but can lead to pest infestations if pets are not properly managed. Keep all pet food stored in plastic containers with tight-sealing lids and be careful to clean up any spilled foods promptly. Pet cages and aquariums must be cleaned on a regular basis. The area under, around, and behind the pet habitat should be readily accessible for cleaning and inspection. Inspect aquariums regularly to assure that there is no water leakage.

- Clutter and pests go hand-in-hand. The biggest potential pest threat in most classrooms is clutter. Many pests, including cockroaches, spiders, and mice thrive in areas cluttered with papers, cardboard boxes, and other materials. Pests gravitate towards cluttered areas because clutter enables pests to hide and reproduce undisturbed from predators and people. Clutter control is essential in classrooms to reduce potential habitats for pests. Keep materials organized in plastic storage boxes with lids if possible. Eliminate cardboard wherever you can. Try to store items several inches away from walls so that storage areas can be easily inspected for pests. Additional suggestions for reducing clutter [PDF File] - Monitor for pests. Classrooms with a high potential for pests should be monitored using sticky traps and mouse monitoring stations. (Examples: Home economics room, or any classrooms with a history of pest problems.) Return to top of page

Seal it up! All pest vulnerable areas of buildings should be inspected carefully to determine any potential entry points into harborage areas for pests. Pests such as cockroaches and mice gravitate toward dark hollow spaces and cracks and crevices where we can't reach them. Here is a list of potential hiding places and some of the pests that may be concealed there:


Wall voids Sink voids Equipment voids Cabinet and shelf voids Clutter Decaying organic matter Unsealed food goods


cockroaches, mice cockroaches, cockroaches, mice cockroaches, mice cockroaches, mice, spiders small flies stored product pests

All gaps and cracks into potential harborage areas should be properly sealed, to prevent pests from utilizing them as living spaces. Sealing gaps and crevices will also prevent pest such as cockroaches or mice from easily traveling from one area of the building to another without being seen. It is important to select the right type of material for the job. Recommendations for using caulks and sealants Return to top of page

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