New York State IPM Program

August 3, 2020
by Joellen Lampman
Comments Off on Back to School – Keeping the Rodents Outside

Back to School – Keeping the Rodents Outside

We should have little trouble with vermin if builders would hear and understand the ‘language’ of vermin and do a better job in eliminating their entrances and hiding place.” – Hugo Hartnak, 1939

photo of Bobby Corrigan wearing a hard hat, holding a clipboard in one hand and a flashlight in the other pointing out a rusted wall grid plate with a hole large enough for a rat to fit through.

For Bobby Corrigan, pest management is a passion. Called upon for his expertise across the country, we are honored to include him in our conference.

Pests enter school buildings in one of two ways: they are transported in by students, staff, or delivery truck or they make their way in from the outside. The School IPM 2020: Where We’ve Been and What’s Next virtual conference will focus on the first mode, but we will also include information on the second with tips, and a tool, to help with exclusion – or keeping pests out of buildings. Dr. Bobby Corrigan, co-founder of the first Scientific Coalition on Pest Exclusion, will join us to discuss rodent vulnerable areas.

All conference participants that complete the pre- and post-tests and evaluation will be mailed a Frye Inspection Tool (FIT tool). This simple probe can be used to demonstrate if a rodent can squeeze under a gap or through a round opening. By design, if the probe ‘FITs,’ so too can the specified rodent. This tool can be used to educate decision makers about rodent entry points and help justify pest exclusion.

picture of a F.I.T. tool, a probe with two different sized ends and demarcations to measure gnaw mark and dropping size.

A F.I.T. tool allows you to assess potential rodent entryways and identify whether gnaw marks and droppings were caused by rats or mice.

The measurement specs for the FIT are based on the size of adult rodent skulls. If a rodent can fit its head under a gap or through an opening, they are able to wiggle their body through (watch video Mouse Entry Points to see a mouse in action). The FIT can also be used to help differentiate rodent evidence (both gnaw marks and droppings) between rats and mice.

Signing up as a school district? We will mail enough FIT tools to cover all the participants from your district, so be sure to provide information for them all.A picture of a school with a banner that says "School is Open Humans Only" with a bedbug, cockroach, tick looking at the sign. The tick is holding a mouse pull toy and the cockroach is holding a coronavirus shaped balloon.

For the full agenda, registration, and pesticide recertification credit information, please visit https://nysipm.cornell.edu/resources/nys-ipm-conferences/school-ipm-2020-where-weve-been-and-whats-next/.

 

April 25, 2020
by Joellen Lampman
Comments Off on The Pesticide Management Education Program Warns of Unregistered or Off-label Claims for Disinfectant Use

The Pesticide Management Education Program Warns of Unregistered or Off-label Claims for Disinfectant Use

Photo of labled product

Our friends over at Cornell’s Pesticide Management Education Program (psep.cce.cornell.edu) have asked us to help spread information on disinfectants and sanitizers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in adverse health effects from the misuse of these products. There have also been several fraudulent products produced during this time that potential applicators should be made aware of. Please read and share the following:

Beware of fraudulent pesticide claims related to SARS-CoV-2 (the COVID-19 coronavirus):

It has come to our attention that unregistered disinfectants claiming to protect against the virus are being marketed in the US. The efficacy and safety of these products is unsubstantiated and their use is illegal.

Regulators are taking steps to prevent such products from reaching the market, but it is your responsibility to use only those products designated by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for use against SARS-CoV-2, listed at https://www.dec.ny.gov/docs/materials_minerals_pdf/covid19.pdf. Please check this list frequently, as content is subject to change.

Be safe disinfecting your home:

Disinfectants are pesticides and you can only use them as directed by the label. Therefore:

  • Never mix different disinfectant products together because doing so is dangerous. For example, mixing bleach with acids (such as vinegar) or ammonia releases life-threatening toxic fumes.
  • Never use disinfectants or disinfectant wipes on your skin. Instead, wash with soap and water; you can also use hand sanitizer on your hands.
  • Never wash fruits and vegetables with soap, sanitizers, or disinfectants as this could also result in poisoning. Wash produce only in clean water.

For more information on disinfecting your home and how to handle food during this crisis, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/disinfecting-your-home.pdf and  https://instituteforfoodsafety.cornell.edu/coronavirus-covid-19/food-safety-recommendation-consumer/.

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

 

June 30, 2015
by Matt Frye
Comments Off on Fruit Flies of a Different (eye) Color

Fruit Flies of a Different (eye) Color

A common pest in homes is the red-eyed fruit fly: Drosophila melanogaster. Famous for use in genetic studies, and infamous for emerging from store-bought bananas, management of this fly rarely requires more than discarding infested items outside of the home.

IMG_0995

A dark-eyed fruit fly adult

Management of this fly’s cousin, the dark-eyed fruit fly (Drosophila repleta), also requires elimination of breeding habitat. However, finding and addressing that habitat can be more difficult. This is because dark-eyed fruit flies develop in wet, decaying organic material that may be out of sight. They are common pests in bars, restaurants, and some coffee shops where they breed under equipment, near drains, sinks, and beverage taps. In these accounts, customers may observe flies near food, drinks or when they rest on walls. Flies may defecate (poop) on walls and leave black fecal spots on otherwise light-colored surfaces, affecting your client’s brand.

Identify the Problem.

When dealing with dark-eyed fruit flies, the first and most important step is a thorough inspection to identify breeding locations. Focus your inspection on places that remain wet, and where food spillage might be present. In addition to sinks and drains, consider moisture from condensation on refrigerators, ice machines and pipes.

Gaps around sinks and drains allow food and moisture to accumulate, providing breeding habitat for fly larvae or maggots.

Over time, tile grout can break down or be removed, especially in commercial kitchens that are wet cleaned nightly. These spaces can accumulate food and hold moisture to create fly breeding habitat.

Address the Problem.

Whether structural or sanitation issues contribute to fly problems, the solution is to remove breeding habitat. Keeping areas dry and free of food spillage will avoid future problems with fly breeding. Some questions to consider: Is there tile grout missing, allowing water and crumbs to accumulate? Is the floor angled or are depressions present that collect water? Does food fall behind or under equipment and is not regularly cleaned? Are floors power-washed at night, lodging food and water in areas that are out of sight or stay wet throughout the day? Are there cracks and crevices near the sink that do not have a sealant?

Quick Fix.

Once a maggot has completely developed, it will crawl out of its moist breeding habitat and find a dry place to pupate. This fly developed in the moist gap below, and is seen here in a corner of the sink.

Addressing structural or sanitation issues are a long-term solution that will prevent fly breeding. But what can be done in the immediate future to address customer concerns? Dark-eyed fruit flies are attracted to insect light traps, which can be installed in kitchen areas. Traps may also be placed out at night when all other lights are off to harvest active flies. In addition, fans can be used to dry out breeding areas or to keep flies out of customer spaces.

What NOT To Do.

Bug bombs and general pesticide applications do nothing to address the breeding fly population, and therefore do nothing to prevent future problems. Similarly, pest-strips containing dichlorvos are sometimes used illegally for management of fruit flies in restaurants. According to the label, these products are intended for use in confined spaces where people are present for no more than four hours at a time. They are not to be used in areas where food is prepared, stored or consumed. For more information on pest-strips, see our previous post, Pest-Strips: A Kitchen No-No!

May 13, 2014
by Matt Frye
Comments Off on Top 5 Pest Hangouts — in Your Kitchen

Top 5 Pest Hangouts — in Your Kitchen

Spring! Time to fling open the windows, plant some flowers — and begin the annual tradition of spring-cleaning. But are you getting to all those places where pests find food, water, or shelter? Householders tend to overlook these five places. And they could be just the spots where pests come for a free meal or to catch a few zzzz’s.

Clean these often:

The Stove Top — or rather, the space right beneath it

Stove Top

Stove Top

Most cooks wipe down the top of the stove when they’ve fixed a meal. But what about the space under the stove lid? Here, spilled liquids, crumbs and other food materials can accumulate out of sight, providing food for rodents, cockroaches, and other pests.

Counter-Top Ledges

Counter-top Ledges

Counter-top Ledges

Crumbs, spilled coffee, whatever — they’re easy to see and clean up on your countertops. But food particles and liquid can accumulate on the undersides of ledges too. So while you’re at it, wipe down those ledge undersides.

The Toaster

Toaster

Toaster

Toasters and toaster ovens are great hidey-holes for crumbs. Lots of crumbs. Just be safe when you clean — unplug the toaster. Then pull out the tray and wash it. For even better results, invert the device to shake out the crumbs or go at it with your vacuum cleaner.

Behind the Faucet

Behind the Faucet

Behind the Faucet

The sink is our go-to place for cleaning dishes and utensils. But how often do we remember to clean behind the faucet or around its handles? Here, water and spilled food particles could make for the pest equivalent of the soup kitchen if not cleaned regularly.

The Trash Receptacle

Trash Receptacle

Trash Receptacle

Let’s face it — plastic bags are easy to tear. Too often, something we toss out tears the bag; then the combination of (for instance) food scraps and wet coffee ground means we’ve got stuff leaking out. The solution? Clean the receptacle when you take out the trash.

Sanitation. It’s core to managing pests.

All photos by Matt Frye, NYS IPM

April 1, 2014
by Mary M. Woodsen
Comments Off on Mice in Your School? Who’s Job Is It, Anyway?

Mice in Your School? Who’s Job Is It, Anyway?

School kitchens, cafeterias, and food storage areas provide great habitat for mice. And it takes real dedication and attention to detail to deep-clean those hard to reach places.

Those greasy pathways and mouse droppings — are they days or months old? Only thorough, timely cleaning will keep you on top of your game.

Those greasy pathways and mouse droppings — are they days or months old? Only thorough, timely cleaning will keep you on top of your game.

But here’s why you’ve got to: Mouse droppings, urine, and even the greasy sebum trail — grease marks from protective oils on rodent fur —aren’t just health risks and code violations. They make it really hard to tell whether your pest management practices are working. Because — how could you know if these droppings are days or months old?

Behind equipment. Deep under sinks. Hard to reach corners. They’re easy to miss during daily cleanings. And often they’re not in the contract between a school and its service provider. Or if everything is handled in-house, they can get lost as different departments assign their roles and responsibilities.

Assign deep-cleaning responsibilities as soon as you possibly can.

What best management practices prevent mouse problems?

Every day:

  • Clean up food scraps, spills, and grease residue asap
  • Sweep and wash floors — often
  • Place garbage in outdoor dumpster
  • Rinse all garbage cans inside and out — including wheel wells
  • Clean — and dry — countertops
  • Clean up spills, grease, and sugar on stove tops and cooking or warming units

Every week:

  • Clean hard-to-reach areas — molding, walls, and flooring behind and under appliances and cooking equipment
  • Clean food carts, shelves, wheels, and wheel-wells
  • Clean work-area shelves and food-tray return areas
  • Clean with food storage areas — and get rid of clutter

Every three months:

  • Move vending machines; clean under, behind, and to the sides
  • Clean greasy buildup on light fixtures
  • Find ways to reduce those difficult-to-clean areas to a minimum: put equipment on casters, move equipment 6″ from walls, and remove inoperative equipment

Preventing pests and careful monitoring are two vitally important IPM practices. Thorough cleaning eliminates not only food and shelter, but evidence of past pest issues as well — and saves you time and money in the long run. We’ll say it again: Assign responsibility for these cleaning practices as soon as possible.

 

Author: Joellen Lampman, School and Turfgrass IPM Extension Support Specialist

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