Mandated by a 2009 state law, the OSU School IPM Program was created to work with schools to improve pest management while reducing costs, workload, and pesticide use. Part of AES and OSU’s Integrated Plant Protection Center, the School IPM Program has developed best practices and provides training for Oregon’s public and private schools and community colleges to reduce their pesticide use. The plans use integrated pest management (IPM), which employs chemicals as a last resort and instead aims to eliminate the conditions that attract pests, some of which can trigger asthma—a condition that 10 percent of all Oregon children have.
Most pests have the ability to chew through plastic snack bags and paper cracker boxes; small ants can even find their way around a twist tie. Pest-proofing means reducing the amount of food, water, and shelter available to pests to discourage them from setting up shop. The OSU School IPM Program helps school staff develop the habit of year-round vigilance as part of an intentional, school-specific IPM program.