New York State IPM Program

April 7, 2020
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on National Healthy Schools Day 2020

National Healthy Schools Day 2020

national healthy schools header

THE NATIONAL HEALTHY SCHOOL DAY Organization shares this: Most schools and childcares are closed. They can work NOW towards healthier facilities for all children when they re-open. National #HealthySchoolsDay is April 7 and the theme is COVID19 and the impact on children.  .

National #HealthySchoolsDay is Tuesday, April 7. “This annual day of focus on the environmental health of children and schools has never been more important and school outreach has never been more important to children and their families.” Join us this year on putting school health in the spotlight: www.NationalHealthySchoolsDay.org

During the pandemic, we thank all our schools for their new work to educate and feed children. They can also use their buildings and grounds workers to fix up the physical environment for when schools reopen. See Resources and tips at http://healthyschools.org/National-Healthy-Schools-Day/Plan-Your-Activity.

During National #HealthySchoolsDay in Public Health Week, and every week, we can all work hard to make children’s lives better. www.NationalHealthySchoolsDay.org

Worried about the COVID at school? For #HealthySchoolsDay, share our unique Resources on cleaning and disinfecting schools and childcares.  https://tinyurl.com/u4cbxfm

green cartoon banner saying we support healthy schools day

The New York State Integrated Pest Management Program of Cornell University is a Partner of the 18th annual National Healthy Schools Day 2020! Together we can make an impact and spread awareness for the importance of healthy school and childcare environment. See http://nationalhealthyschoolsday.org and register an activity today!

It is easier to work on empty buildings. While schools and childcare facilities are closed let’s get messy but important jobs done.

See Resources and tips at http://healthyschools.org/National-Healthy-Schools-Day/Plan-Your-Activity.

RECENTLY, the NYSIPM Program created three blog posts to help school administrators, building maintenance directors and staff, and custodians find resources reminding them of the importance of MONITORING, EXCLUSION and SANITATION to reduce SCHOOL PESTS.

Here are our links:

Post #1 MONITORING

photo shows someone checking an insect trap for signs of activity inside a school kitchen.

Without monitoring, schools are unable to access pest activity.

Post #2 EXCLUSION

photo of gap around pipe filled in to exclude pests

Closing gaps near utilities withe proper fill is key to keeping pests out.

Post #3 SANITATION

Photo shows metal storage shelves with proper spacing and pest-resistant storage of food items. Spacing the metal shelves in a way that allows cleaning and reduces pest habitat

Keeping stored food on well-spaced shelves, out of cardboard when possible, and in pest proof containers is key to reducing pest habitat.

NYSIPM IS PROUD TO BE PART of the NORTHEASTERN IPM CENTER‘S School Working Group, and the BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES FOR SCHOOL IPM WEBSITE.

photo shows a screen shot of the front page of the school best management practices website

Visit and bookmark this School IPM Best Practices website, with resources for school nurses, administrators, teachers, staff, parents, custodial and building maintenance staff, school grounds managers, athletic directors and pest management contractors.

To learn more about the great work done nationwide, follow these links:

www.HealthySchools.org   – who we are, what you can do, help for parents and others

www.CleaningforHealthySchools.org –  green and healthy products

www.NationalHealthySchoolsDay.org – since 2002, join us for the 18th annual on April 7, 2020

 

April 6, 2020
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Timely School IPM Tip #3: Sanitation

Timely School IPM Tip #3: Sanitation

This is the third and final post dedicated to tactics of school IPM most appropriate to the current situation of shuttered schools. (If your building is open to provide meals for at-home students, we applaud your efforts!)

Post #1 Scouting, Post #2 Exclusion. Sanitation is a third step in structural pest management, as it reduces pest habitat (food, water, shelter).

Sure to gain your attention, this photo (below) proves there’s been a lack of sanitation (and scouting, and exclusion!) But this scenario might well be the case in buildings left unattended during the Covid-19 closures. This may seem extreme, but sanitation isn’t just removing dead rodents, it’s keeping storage areas, kitchens and classrooms free of crumbs, condensed water, and recyclables.

photo shows a sticky trap with three mise on it. one is still alive, the other two dead. one is just what's left after other pests have fed on it.

Below is a (partial) look at our recommended Best Management Practices chart. We left off the Daily practices in favor of what can be done best during shutdown. Sanitation is more than just cleaning greasy stove tops.  It’s getting to all those places we’d rather ignore, and reducing clutter and keeping food products in pest-proof containers.

a partial chart of things to do monthly, quarterly or annually to reduce pest problems in buildings.

For example, the non-chemical practices to reduce cockroaches:

The key factor is sanitation and reduction in habitat. Take care not to bring them in on packaging material (inspect incoming food). Clean up all spilled foods; don’t leave dirty dishes overnight; store all food in pest-resistant packaging; modify areas where pipes and utilities enter walls (caulk and screen all entrances); reduce moisture by improving plumbing and insulating pipes that routinely sweat. Empty garbage every day. Keep floor drains capped or full of water. Increase ventilation in moist areas. Baits are the most efficient and widely used form of control, but prevention is the least toxic method of control.

photo shows a corner in a storage or boiler room where rodent droppings have accumulated.

(Above) Mouse droppings are not just unsightly, they can cause allergic reactions and health issues, and can carry disease. Cockroaches exacerbate conditions like asthma. SANITATION also assists monitoring. If this area was cleaned last week, you can be sure the droppings are new.

photo shows a plugged floor drain in a commercial kitchen

(Above) Drain Fly Harborage: Clogged floor drains with decaying organic material provides breeding habitat for drain flies.

Photo shows metal storage shelves with proper spacing and pest-resistant storage of food items. Spacing the metal shelves in a way that allows cleaning and reduces pest habitat

(above) This commercial storage area shows good spacing and pest-resistant storage. Keeping cardboard to a minimum, and providing space between items, and space below and behind the shelving makes for easier cleaning. (photo Dr. Matt Frye)

Here are some resources:

UC IPM: How to Get Rid of Pantry Pests

(A longer video on Cockroach control in the home) Minnesota Dept. of AG and EPA: Cockroach Prevention and Control  and (En Espanol)

Green Cleaning Products – EPA – Protecting Students and Staff with Green Cleaning Products

And in this time of specific cleaning needs, EPA Recommended Cleaning products against Virus

 

April 2, 2020
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Timely School IPM #2: Excluding Pests

Timely School IPM #2: Excluding Pests

Last week we promoted SCOUTING for pests.

Today, we want to emphasize ways to EXCLUDE pests. Exclusion is a fundamental way to reduce pests in buildings. Unfortunately, it’s not always a quick and easy job.

Some gaps are easy to see. Improperly fitting door sweeps or gaps along utility lines, for instance.  Others, like gaps along roof lines are harder to locate, and harder to access.

We’ve included some videos and some links to METHODS and exclusion product resources. NOW is a great time to address pest reduction or prevention needs in quiet school buildings. Trade names used herein are for convenience only; no endorsement of products is intended, nor is criticism of unnamed products implied.

While you’re at it, visit our School IPM Best Management Practices Website where we’ve gathered plenty of resources for successful school IPM.

Photo shows the gaps entry doors of a school building

(Above) “You might be a pest management champion” if you automatically look for gaps like this in structural doors.

Photo shows a large2-3" gap around a pipe going into a brick wall foundation

(Above) This gap is obvious, but so often ignored. A proper job of completely sealing this with cement will keep rodents out. Even so, areas like this should be scouted on a regular basis, as pests will find a way to re-use old pathways.

photo shows a gap in a cement wall around a utility pipe.

Before adding ‘exclusion’ in the form of stainless steel wire mesh fiber

photo shows gap around pipe filled with metal mesh fiber

After. Stainless steel mesh resists rusting.

VIDEO: NYSIPM Rodent Management – How to keep them out

VIDEO: NYSIPM: Exclusion – an old concept with new life

VIDEO: TEXAS SCHOOL IPM: Sealants versus Caulking

VIDEO: TEXAS SCHOOL IPM: Patching a rat hold with mesh

ONLINE ARTICLE: PCT’s Annual Pest Exclusion Issue.

ONLINE ARTICLE with VIDEO: Stop Pests in Housing: Developing a Pest Exclusion for Cockroaches and Rodents

December 7, 2018
by Debra E. Marvin
Comments Off on Everything Wants to Prepare for Winter

Everything Wants to Prepare for Winter

Squirrels appreciate the protection of an available attic.

Today’s blog post is by Lynn Braband.

COMMUNITY IPM EDUCATOR
NYS IPM Program, 2449 St. Paul Blvd., Rochester, NY
Lynn has major responsibilities in assisting New York State schools and municipalities in the implementation of IPM. Activities have included organizing school IPM implementation workshops throughout the state, surveying schools on the status of their pest management programs, and conducting IPM demonstration projects at schools. Recent projects have included addressing nuisance geese on athletic fields, efficacy testing of yellowjacket container traps, and wildlife damage management outreach such as the revision of the publication Beasts Begone

 

 

Winter is on the horizon (although this year, it seems like it has been here for over a month), and many animals, including tree squirrels, begin preparing for the long, cold months. In addition to their well-known behavior of caching nuts during autumn, squirrels look for protective sites for over-wintering. Often, these locations include the attics and walls of houses and other buildings. It is not unusual to have 8, 10, or more squirrels over-wintering in a building. Structural damage caused by the animals’ chewing can be significant. There is also the possibility of infestations of parasites associated with the animals, and at least the potential risk of disease transmission.

Exclusion is not a quick fix, but work such as this prevents many problems later.

As with the management of any pest situation, prevention is preferred over seeking to rectify a well-established problem. For squirrels, this would include an inspection of the building exterior looking for potential entry sites and routes of access. August and early September are optimum times for inspecting. This is ladder work, so safety is a very important consideration. Consult ladder safety sites such as http://www.americanladderinstitute.org/?page=BasicLadderSafety .

Lynn pulled this oldie-but-goodie photo out of his files–two great examples of chimney inserts that act as exclusion barriers against birds, bats and rodents.

Cage trapping is a common tactic of many homeowners and businesses in seeking to rectify a squirrel or other wild animal problem. The animals are then transported off-site. However, this is illegal in New York State, and many other places, without a state-issued permit. Visit http://www.nysipm.cornell.edu/factsheets/buildings/NY_wildlife_laws.pdf for a synopsis of the legal framework for dealing with nuisance wildlife.

Individuals who operate under such a permit are referred to as Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators or, simply, Wildlife Control Operators. These individuals have passed a comprehensive exam on solving wildlife problems and have the experience and equipment to address nuisance wildlife and wildlife damage situations. For names of permit holders, contact your regional office of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation http://www.dec.ny.gov/about/50230.html . Another source is the NYS Wildlife Management Association, the state trade group for wildlife control operators http://www.nyswma.org/findanwco.php .

 

March 28, 2018
by Joellen Lampman
Comments Off on Managing monsters: Ladybugs problematic for many this winter

Managing monsters: Ladybugs problematic for many this winter

Originally published on March 24, 2018 – Courtesy of Paul Hetzler, CCE St. Lawrence County

Unlike for vampires, there are no silver bullets for Harmonia axyridis. But good screens certainly help.  Photo: John Flannery

Pest management used to be a lot simpler, and more effective. For those bothersome vampire problems you had your basic wooden stakes, cheap and readily available. The well-to-do could afford silver bullets, an elegant and tidier solution. And of course, garlic was the solution to prevent repeat infestations. These days many people are asking where to find teeny silver bullets for Asian multicolor lady-beetles, because they are a real problem this winter.

On sunny fall days, the Asian multicolored lady-beetle, Harmonia axyridis, often hangs out with its pals on west or south-facing walls. The insect may be beneficial for gardens and harmless to us, but as winter approaches, these insects quit swarming to seek shelter in outbuildings, wall cavities, firewood piles and other nooks and crannies. Eventually, some of them find their way inside our homes. I don’t know what the sanctioned collective noun is for a gathering of Harmonia axyridis, but it should be a drove, since they can be enough to drive you out of the house.

From what I can tell, the orange-and-black ladybug, darling of small children everywhere, first arrived in the U.S. — at our invitation — in about 1916, as a control for aphids on pecan trees and other crops. Adorable lady-beetles didn’t turn into ogres until the mid-1990s. There is evidence to suggest the current population might be a strain accidentally released at the Port of New Orleans in the late 1980s or early 1990s. Whatever their origin, these new lady-beetles are here to stay.

Asian multicolored lady-beetles don’t carry disease, damage structures, suck blood or sting, and they eat harmful agricultural pests. More importantly, they do not breed indoors. However, they stain, give off a foul odor when disturbed and will even pinch one’s skin on occasion. It’s their sheer numbers, though, amassing in corners of garages and porches, coating the insides of picture windows, which unnerves and bugs us.

Managing ladybugs, it turns out, can cut your heating bill. Caulking around windows, vents and where cable or other utilities come through the wall, and between the foundation and sill, will help immensely with lady-beetle control, and somewhat with reducing drafts.  Photo: Joellen Lampman

Managing ladybugs, it turns out, can cut your heating bill. They are looking for someplace rent-free and cozy to spend the winter, and as warm air leaks out here and there from your house, they follow it to its source and let themselves in. Caulking around windows, vents and where cable or other utilities come through the wall, and between the foundation and sill, will help immensely with lady-beetle control, and somewhat with reducing drafts. It is also helpful to ensure that door sweeps/thresholds are tight, and check for cracked seals around garage doors. Installing screens on attic vents and inspecting all window screens is in order as well.

It’s best to avoid swatting or crushing them because they will release a smelly, staining yellow defense fluid. For a variety of reasons including the ladybugs’ habit of seeking inaccessible areas, indoor pesticides are practically useless against them. Spraying inside is strongly discouraged. Instead, use a broom and dustpan to knock them down and then suck them up with a vacuum cleaner or shop-vac.

You can use a simple knee high stocking to ensure vacuumed lady-beetles don’t end up in the vacuum bag or canister and can be easily dealt with.  Photo: Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann

You can make a reusable “mini-bag” out of a knee-high nylon stocking inserted into the hose of a canister-type vacuum. Secure it on the outside with a rubber band and hang onto it as you clean up the bugs. Just remember to quickly empty it into a pail of soapy water (gas or kero is hazardous and unnecessary).

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to combat multicolored Asian lady-beetles once they are inside — we have to persevere and vacuum and sweep them out for now. Home improvements this summer will help prevent repeat bug visits. I have no doubt that it must be more satisfying to dispatch vampires in one easy step than to fight endless lady-beetles, but I would bet it is a lot more dangerous, too.

Contact Paul Hetzler of Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. Lawrence County at ph59@cornell.edu.

For more information on multicolored asian lady beetle, brown marmorated stink bugs, boxelder bugs, and other occasional invaders, check out How to deal with occasional invaders on the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program’s What’s Bugging You? page.

September 1, 2015
by Lynn A. Braband
Comments Off on Everything Wants to Prepare for Winter

Everything Wants to Prepare for Winter

squirrel

A Gray Squirrel checks out a possible winter home.

Although summer heat is predicted for New York State through at least the Labor Day weekend, signs of the inevitable change of seasons are upon us. The daylight hours are becoming shorter, territorial singing by birds has decreased greatly, and many animals, including tree squirrels, begin preparing for the long, cold months of winter. In addition to their well-known behavior of caching nuts during autumn, squirrels look for protective sites for over-wintering. Often, these locations include the attics and walls of houses and other buildings. It is not unusual to have 8, 10, or more squirrels over-wintering in a building. Structural damage caused by the animals’ chewing can be significant. There is also the possibility of infestations of parasites associated with the animals, and at least the potential risk of disease transmission.

As with the management of any pest situation, prevention is preferred over seeking to rectify a well-established problem. For squirrels, this would include an inspection of the building exterior looking for potential entry sites and routes of access. August and early September are optimum times for inspecting. This is ladder work so safety is a very important consideration. Consult ladder safety sites such as the American Ladder Institute.

Cage trapping is a common tactic of many homeowners and businesses in seeking to rectify a squirrel or other wild animal problem. The animals are then transported off-site. However, this is illegal in New York State, and many other places, without a state-issued permit. Read Dealing With Wildlife and the New York Laws That Protect Them for a synopsis of the legal framework for dealing with nuisance wildlife.

Individuals who operate under such a permit are referred to as Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators or, simply, Wildlife Control Operators. These individuals have passed a comprehensive exam on solving wildlife problems and have the experience and equipment to address nuisance wildlife and wildlife damage situations. For names of permit holders, contact your regional office of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Another source is the NYS Wildlife Management Association, the state trade group for wildlife control operators.

For more information on dealing with squirrel issues, see:

Controlling Squirrel Problems in Buildings

Wildlife Damage Management Fact Sheets: Tree Squirrels

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