Tag Archives: cockroach

“How to’s”… more School BMP tools for Indoor Pests

Our Best Management Practices for School website holds a lot of practical help for anyone who wants to increase their knowledge of IPM. This post focuses on Indoor IPM and includes the links to:

An Ounce of Prevention: IPM for Schools and Childcare. A resource for staff and parents, because everyone has a role in pest reduction.

Air Quality and IPM– Asthma Concerns from EPA Asthma is the most chronic illness affecting children.

Asthma and Cleaning Products: What workers need to know  Cleaning products can cause breathing problems in custodians and other staff, as well as students.

BMPS for Indoor Non-Food Areas  Here’s a checklist for yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily practices to reduce the chance of pests in areas such as boiler rooms, locker rooms, gymnasiums.

BMPs for Kitchens, Cafeterias and Storage Areas  A checklist for custodians, administrators and food service staff. Number 1 on the list:   An IPM policy is in place that gives specific plans of action to both deal with pests, and to improve pest management

Cockroach Identification  It does make a difference, you know…

Introduction to IPM for School Faculty.  Here’s an easy way to spread the word!


Slide 1

University of California IPM: Green cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting, A Curriculum for Early Care and Education

IPM Poster for Custodians

Bed Bugs in Schools – Prevention


Exclusion and sanitation are key factors in structural IPM.  Because schools and child care facilities rarely provide the favored overnight buffet found in homes and hotels, bed bugs found in schools and daycare facilities (as well as libraries, restaurants, theaters and public transportation) generally don’t create the same long term infestations. They will, however, be doing their best to find a blood meal, feed, and be on their way in less than fifteen minutes.

No one can prevent a bedbug incident, but the risk of infestation can be reduced if you and your staff learn to be proactive.


Bed bugs travel via clothing, coats, backpacks, purses, book bags, instrument or document cases, etc. Obviously, checking everyone as they come in the door, and their belongings is unrealistic. Bed bugs don’t hop or fly, so they rely on speedy locomotion and you.

BedBugSuitcase_lg from bedbugcentral

bed bugs on a suitcase. Image from Bedbugcentral http://www.bedbugcentral.com/


Take note: Exclusion still plays a part in bed bug control, and we’ll discuss this in a future post. And never adopt or accept second-hand furniture without a thorough examination.


Cleanliness has nothing to do with the presence of bedbugs, but clutter is any pest’s best friend. Clutter provides habitat and makes inspection (scouting) difficult. Large, long term infestations may occur where cleaning and sanitation has lapsed.

Where do they hide?

Insects the size of poppy seeds or apple seeds can find shelter anywhere. They prefer to be close to their food source (why not?) so look in the folds, seams and hidey places in and around upholstered fabric. Use a putty knife, playing card or plastic card along the edges of carpeting, along wall molding and trims, and behind wall art. Visually inspect behind electrical wall plates. (At home, electronics such as bedside clock radios can harbor bed bugs).  Any resting place for humans can become bed bug habitat.

If your school has had bed bug incidents, you should be inspecting on a regular basis.

Examine pillows, cushions, seams and all parts of upholstered furniture, including under and inside the frames. Do this in teacher lounges, libraries, auditoriums and any classroom or office with upholstered furniture or a resting area.

Know what you are looking for. Study the photo resources we’ve provided and other online information

Look for active bedbugs, cast skins and tell-tale reddish-brown-to-black spots of excrement.

Reduce clutter. This may be the most difficult step in a classroom. Keeping classroom paraphernalia in totes and keeping them mobile makes inspection and cleaning easier, and reduces bed bug travel opportunities. This is also an excellent way to reduce the chance of ants, cockroaches or mice.

Train your staff on how to reduce the chance of infestation.  Also, discuss bedbug prevention openly with staff and students to reduce shaming and ridicule. Do not panic if a bed bug is found. If it’s an isolated case, there is no way to know where that insect came from.

Have a policy in place and know how to capture, keep, and identify a bed bug.

More on Inspection:

Take along a flashlight, putty knife, playing card or plastic card, a screwdriver, wide clear tape, magnifying glass, small zippered bags or tightly-closing plastic containers, facial tissue, tweezers. Have large garbage bags on hand, and remember to fill out an inspection form.

NYSIPM – steps in inspection and collection

BedBug TV: How to inspect a couch

A detailed Bed bug resource from Toronto aimed at public housing

Bed Bugs in Schools – Is it or isn’t it?

The person responsible for pest management decisions in your school or child care facility should be able to identify bed bugs, as well as understand their life cycle, habitat needs and how to prevent or remove them. But all of us should do ourselves a favor and learn about this pest.  With ever-increasing incidences of bed bug infestations, knowledge is your number one key to prevention.

Bed bugs are small insects that feed on blood. They prefer to be active at night and to hide out in dark, narrow crevices or creases during the day, but daylight (or keeping the lights on) won’t prevent bites if they’re hungry.

5380033 eggs on box spring hatched

Hatched bed bug eggs on fabric of a box spring. Photo by Gary Alpert, Harvard University, Bugwood.org

Bed bugs have an incomplete metamorphosis (three stages – egg, nymph, adult) meaning they don’t pupate. Once an egg hatches, that tiny bed bug is going to need to eat. Before that first meal, it is semi-transparent, pale and the size of a poppy seed.

5486223 adults, nymphs and frass

Bed bug adults, nymphs, frass on fabric. Photo by Barbara Bloetscher, The Ohio State University, Bugwood.org

Nymphs look like miniature adults and as they grow, they molt (shed their “skin”- their exoskeleton) until they are full-sized adults. For this reason, cast skins are a sign of infestation.

5443240 mixed stages on nickel

Mixed life stages on nickel. Photo by Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org

Both males and females eat blood meals. In all cases, their excrement gives them away–look for dark droppings or stains. Unfed bed bugs are flat; rounded ones have had their meal.


Adult, nymphs and blood spot (feces). Photo by Gary Alpert, Harvard University, Bugwood.org

Bed bug identification is key. Don’t confuse them with other small insects found in the home:

Carpet beetle

1233092 carpet beetle and larvae

Adult and larva- black carpet beetle. Photo by Clemson University – USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, Bugwood.org –

Spider beetle

5460354 American spider beetle

American Spider Beetle Photo by Pest and Diseases Image Library, Bugwood.org

5370352 spider beetle

Whitemarked spider beetle. Photo by Joseph Berger, Bugwood.org

cockroach nymph

5380141 American cockroach nymph

American cockroach nymph. Photo by Gary Alpert, Harvard University, Bugwood.org

1435179 Oriental cockroach nymph

Oriental cockroach nymph. Photo by Clemson University – USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, Bugwood.org

We hope this has improved your bed bug ID skills. For more on bed bugs in schools, as well as homes, visit the New York State Integrated Pest Management program website!




Reporting Pesticide Regulations Nationwide

Cover of American Entom summer 2014

The most recent issue of American Entomologist (Volume 60, Number 2) contains an interesting article authored by 11 top professionals concerned with the safety of  pest management practices. One of the authors is our own Lynn Braband who leads  the NYS Integrated Pest Management Program’s SCHOOL IPM group.

The article, Regulating Pesticide Use in United States Schools, is worth a read for its non-political, practical insight into what is going on nationally in schools.

The first law to regulate pesticide use in schools was passed in 1991 in Texas. Since that time, 39 states have enacted legislation and policies to regulate the use of pesticides including changes to how pesticides are applied, record-keeping, pesticide-free zones, pre-notification and posting when pesticides are applied, limitations on active ingredients that can be utilized, and enforcement or penalties for violations.

Capture GRAPH for article Summer 2014 Am. Entomologist

Numbers of states with legislation in key components of pesticide-use safety in 1998 and 2008, as well as the number of states without such legislated compliance.

Why is this important? School pests are not only annoying but they can also affect children’s health. The number one cause of student  medical absences in schools is asthma brought on by allergic reactions to exposure to cockroaches, rodents and dust mites. Simply increasing pesticide use  is not the answer, because exposure to pesticides is also linked to increased incidence of asthma.

As a parent, pesticide applicator, school safety officer, teacher or staff, or concerned citizen, it is wise to understand the larger picture of pesticide use in schools across the nation as we all work to improve pest management in your school district.

Through interviews with state officials, the article’s authors assessed the effectiveness of regulations, compared them, and inquired after officials’ wish-lists as to how to improve them.

There is no federal law addressing pesticides or Integrated Pest Management in schools, so state provisions vary widely. For example, eleven states restrict or require notification of pesticide applications to reduce drift. Nine states have buffer zones, but they vary from 300 feet to two-and-a-half miles. Quite a difference.  Does your state have these restrictions? You should know, or find out.

The New York State Neighbor Notification Law (2000) applies to all public and non-public K-12 schools (not universities) and requires all parents and staff to be notified in writing at the start of each school year that pesticides may be used periodically, and that the school is required to notify them 48 hrs in advance IF REQUESTED.  Those who request notification are placed on a registry and, unless there is an emergency application, receive notification.  In the future we will devote a blog post to the concept of ’emergency applications’,  just one small part of the larger discussion. Another post will address the incidental changes in attitudes this law created.

http://ae.oxfordjournals.org/content/60/2/105 is a link to the Journal and gives you the option to download the full article as pdf.

A lot of work went into this article and should serve as a basis to improve pesticide safety on school grounds. We appreciate their efforts and this important article.