Author Archives: Debra E. Marvin

About Debra E. Marvin

Community IPM Program Assistant for Schools, Daycare and Horticulture. New York State Integrated Pest Management Program, Cornell University, New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, 630 W. North Street, Geneva, NY 14456 Email: dem35@cornell.edu

An Update on School IPM

Recently members of the NYS IPM Program met in Albany as part of a joint meeting of the Clean, Green, and Healthy Schools Steering Committee and the Statewide School IPM Committee.

NYS IPM Educator Joellen Lampman demonstrates ‘dragging for ticks’ as a method to determine tick presence on school grounds.

Clean, Green, and Health Schools is coordinated by the NYS Department of Health and helmed by Dr. Michele Herdt. Their purpose is to promote a healthy learning and working environment in our state’s schools, both public and private.

From their page at health.ny.gov:

 

What is a School Environmental Health Program?

School environmental health is the way the physical environment of school buildings and school grounds influence the overall health and safety of occupants. School environments can impact occupant health, absenteeism, employee/student retention and satisfaction, academic performance, and operation costs for the school. Children are more vulnerable to environmental exposures because they eat and drink more, relative to their body weight, than adults, their body systems are still developing, and their behaviors put them at greater risk, such as hand-to-mouth action and playing on the ground.

Unfortunately, gaps in outside doors are a common problem in public buildings and offers easy access to rodents.

The New York State Clean, Green, and Healthy Schools Program is designed to help all school employees, volunteers, students, parents, and guardians contribute to improving their school’s environmental health. The program has been developed by a multi-disciplinary Steering Committee to help schools improve their environmental health through voluntary guidelines. Schools that participate in this program gain the opportunity and knowledge to create schools with better environmental health. The program provides information for all school occupants on policies, best practices, tools, knowledge, and resources in nine main areas:

  1. Indoor Air Quality;
  2. Energy and Resource Conservation;
  3. Integrated Pest Management;
  4. Mold and Moisture;
  5. Chemical and Environmental Hazards;
  6. Cleaning and Maintenance;
  7. Transportation;
  8. Construction/Renovation;
  9. Water Quality.

Last year, they began a free pilot program to create safer and healthier learning and working environments for all students and staff across New York State. We are looking for schools that would like to be a part of this pilot program and improve the environmental health of their school through low or no cost actions.

As of October, 2018 they have ten school buildings involved, and hope to have at least 10% of NY schools enrolled in the program by 2024.

The NYS IPM Program is glad to be part of the efforts.

Later in the morning Vickie A. Smith and David Frank from the NYS Dept. Of Education shared their work with charter schools, engaging the participants in the joint meeting with ideas on how to better reach this growing segment of education in NYS.

While we have sought to find a way to work with non-public schools in NY, charter schools are also another subset with their own particular concerns.  Like many non-publics, some charter schools operate in rented buildings (some are indeed buildings owned by a public school), and therefore it is not always clear who is responsible for environmental issues school staff face. Charter schools have multiple authorities to report to depending on their location: The NYS Board of Regents, SUNY trustees, NY City Department of Education and the Buffalo City School District. Many students in charter schools are ‘at-risk’. 80% are considered economically challenged, or have disabilities or language barriers.

Charter schools are considered public schools and must comply with many of the same rules. Our day of discussion proved there are plenty of opportunities to increase the use of IPM in all schools in NY State.

Best Management Practices website hosted by the Northeast IPM Center

Geese on school grounds has become a growing pest problem as resident geese populations increase.

Staff of the NYS IPM Program finished out the day’s meeting with a look at Don’t Get Ticked NY efforts. This included sharing the Ticks on School Grounds posters.

More information on our work with schools

For more on ticks visit our page Don’t Get Ticked New York.

Download this poster and others on reducing the risk of ticks

Protect Your Health When Cleaning Up After Mice

Worldwide, rodents carry approximately ten diseases, most of which we’ve never heard of. Centuries ago, ‘the Plague’ spread via flea bites from infected rats. Today, most diseases spread by direct contact with a rodent or–more likely–it’s excrement (saliva, urine, or feces).

While you may not plan to touch a mouse or its droppings, you may put yourself at risk by simply inhaling microscopic particles that are released into the air when you:

  • remove a dead mouse or its trap
  • sweep or vacuum to remove nesting materials or droppings.

Deer mouse and white-footed mouse usually live outdoors but enter homes to forage for food.

Hantavirus, when dissipated in the air (microscopic virus clings to particles), stays alive after rodent activity. In fact, it may be viable up to fourteen days, but according the the CDC, it is more likely three to four.

How do you know?

It is difficult to determine just how old these signs of activity are, so always take precautions with your health and those around you.

No one wants to see this work ahead of them, but do you know how to protect your health while cleaning up?

Here’s the quick list of what to do to protect yourself:

  1. We repeat: ALWAYS TAKE PRECAUTIONS!
  2. Use snap traps to monitor current activity.
  3. Wear rubber, latex, or vinyl gloves when cleaning.
  4. SPRAY the urine, droppings, nest materials or carcasses with a disinfectant. The CDC recommends 1 part bleach to 10 parts water (10% solution) or a commercial disinfectant. SPRAY ENOUGH TO COMPLETELY MOISTEN THE ITEMS AND AREA.
  5. Use paper towels, and place everything in the garbage. (Double bagging with grocery bags can be helpful. Always double bag dead rodents.)
  6. After all signs of activity are removed, disinfect the area and any thing that might have been contaminated. MOP floors and DISINFECT counters with commercial disinfectant or 10% bleach solution. Toss out gloves that can’t be disinfected.
  7. Steam clean or shampoo upholstered furniture and hot-water wash any bedding, towels or clothing that may have come in contact with rodents. MOISTENING EVERYTHING IN YOUR CLEAN-UP AREA WILL SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE THE OPPORTUNITY FOR AIRBORNE VIRUS TO ENTER YOUR LUNGS.
  8. When a significant clean-up job comes along, a cheap dust mask will not do the trick. Invest in a proper filtered safety mask. It’s worth the cost!

Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome (HPS) and Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome (HFRS) are two extremely dangerous conditions you do not want to encounter. These diseases do not affect the rodents that carry (vector) them.

Even without the threat of disease, clean up work often causes breathing problems for those in and around the area. Don’t forget that cockroaches and their excrement and shed skins are also a main cause of childhood asthma.

Make proper clean-up procedures part of your IPM plan.

Partner with the EPA to assess Economics of School IPM

Health Resources in Action has partnered with the EPA to assess the economics of Implementing an IPM program in schools. To do so, they are looking for partners like you, and will provide funding as well.

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The EPA’s “Keeping the Pests Out” needs schools that now use an IPM program after switching from a more traditional pest extermination strategy.

Why apply?

  1. Economic assessment is free to the selected schools
  2. $6000 to the selected schools
  3. Includes a detailed cost analysis of their IPM program
  4. This will help increase adoption of IPM in schools

The Deadline is May 6th, so we’re here to give you a push… Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Have your superintendent write a letter of commitment. Example: your district  is interested, feels it would be an asset to the research, and agrees to work with (HRIA) Health Resources in Action from Jun 2016-March 2018
  2. Provide the name of your IPM Coordinator
  3. Be contracted with a licensed IPM Provider (Pest Control company that follows IPM procedures)
  4. Show that you’ve implemented IPM
  5. Share 24 months of pest management records from when you used traditional pest treatments and 24 months of records after transitioning to IPM  **see note below
  6. Provide records that may help track incidences of asthma problems with students and staff in your district
  7. Fill out the application online  and hit send! See the link below which shows the application you’d need to fill out.

**IPM means recordkeeping after all, so here’s what they hope you can provide:

 -Records for at least 24 consecutive months of a traditional exterminator model, and at least 24 consecutive months of IPM model.

-Those records should include: pest management contractor invoices, work orders, IPM logs (pest sightings), IPM work plan, IPM contract reports, IPM materials (if purchased by the district), custodian annual cost per square foot, training cost for staff training on IPM, custodian overtime (for addressing pests if they are doing additional IPM work),energy cost, Average Daily Attendance
/Average Daily Membership and annual Occupational Safety and Health Act reports.

They may also collect stories from school personnel regarding changes in pest problems in the schools. Since some of these records may be held by the pest contractor, we assume that each school with request the specific data elements directly

Here is the link! http://asthmaregionalcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/RFQ-for-School-Districts-for-IPM-Economic-Evaluation.pdf

We’d love to see you be part of this important work.

 

IPM for Turf on School Grounds

The EPA has another great webinar coming up on Tuesday, March 15th.

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You must have Adobe Connect to watch and listen to this free online webinar. A “Quick Start” link is included on the EPA website.

Whether school turf management has been part of your job for years or you’re just starting out, this webinar will describe how you can implement Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices into your turf management program. This webinar will provide insight for improving the quality and playability of your athletic and recreational fields. You will leave with an increased understanding of the importance of IPM in turf maintenance, cultural and physical control options, record keeping and key turf issues that can be addressed and applied to your program.

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Join in to learn how you can incorporate IPM into your school district’s turf management program.

Featured presenters will be:

  • Kim Pope Brown, Pesticide Safety Education Coordinator, Louisiana State University
  • Alec Kowalewski, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Turf Specialist, Oregon State University

Register now and you’ll receive an email confirmation with information on how to join in the webinar. Tuesday March 15 — 2  to 3:30pm

Pest Prevention by Design?

Another great EPA webinar is coming up next week. Pest Prevention by Design helps school administrators, engineers, and ‘green’ builders understand how to design pests out of buildings rather than be in a battle to control them after they’ve entered. 2000px-Environmental_Protection_Agency_logo.svg

On Tuesday, February 23, 2016 at 2:00pm, you can be part of a live webinar (online workshop) simply by registering. From your desk, laptop or tablet, you can watch, listen and interact as desired while two pest exclusion experts share their knowledge. If you’ve never used Adobe Connect, get a quick overview at: http://www.adobe.com/products/adobeconnect.htm

For example, where a school may traditionally address a rat infestation with rat poison, the guidelines would recommend sealing the gap in the door frame that let the animals enter in the first place, putting a better lid on the dumpster out back, or removing the English ivy from the landscaping (a preferred rodent habitat). By following these recommendations, we can keep pests out, thereby improving indoor air quality and saving money over the life of the building.DSC01130-B

Join us to learn how you can better incorporate pest prevention in your school district’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program.

Featured presenters will be:

Chris Geiger, Ph.D., IPM Program Manager, City of San Francisco

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Robert Corrigan, Ph.D., Rodent IPM Specialist, RMC Pest Management Consulting

Robert M. Corrigan in downtown Manhattan. (Photo: Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times)

Robert M. Corrigan in downtown Manhattan. (Photo: Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times)

Space is limited to the first 1,000 to attend, and that number is not unexpected. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information on how to join the webinar.

REGISTER NOW!