• Welcome to IPM for schools, homes and communities

    This website helps all of us create healthy indoor and outdoor environments in our homes, schools and communities using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in a safe, sustainable and efficient way.

    We will be posting weekly on pests and how to control them, so come back often. For additional information, go to the Center for Integrated Pest Management at Colorado State University.

    You can contact us by following this link and filling out the form.

  • Flickr Photos

    brown dog tick

    Rocky Mountain wood tick

    yellow sac spider

    More Photos

Today is National Healthy Schools Day

NHS Day 2014

What’s the indoor environment in your school or workplace like? We can improve indoor and outdoor environments using Integrated Pest Management. There are many health benefits.

  • IPM protects human and environmental health by limiting the risk of exposure to pests and pest allergens; increased asthma is associated with exposure to cockroaches, mice and other pests.
  • IPM improves indoor air quality; there are lower allergen levels and chemical residues.
  • IPM reduces exposure to pesticides; children are more sensitive to the effects of pesticides, due to their growing and developing bodies.
  • A healthier environment reduces the number of missed school or work days.

Indoor air quality programs in schools have led to improved workplace satisfaction, fewer asthma attacks, fewer visits to the school nurse, and lower absenteeism. According to a  2000 U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics report, about 25 percent of U.S. schools need extensive repair or replacement of one or more buildings. Nearly 11 million students attend these schools. Improper building operations and deferred maintenance contribute to poor indoor environmental conditions. About 40 percent of schools report at least one unsatisfactory environmental condition such as poor ventilation, heating or lighting problems, or poor physical security.

To learn more, go to the National Healthy Schools Network or contact the Colorado School IPM Program.

It’s time for wasp traps

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, more than two million Americans are allergic to stinging insects, more than 500,000 enter hospital emergency rooms every year suffering from insect stings, and between 40-150 people a year die as a result of these stings.

This trap can be used to catch yellowjackets.

This trap can be used to catch yellowjackets.

We see two types of wasps around buildings – the European paper wasp and the western yellow jacket. See our fact sheet on stinging insects to determine what type of wasp you have. If you need assistance to identify a wasp, collect and submit a sample to the CSU Pest Diagnostic Clinic or your local Extension office. Yellow jackets are attracted to meat, and European paper wasps are attracted to fermenting fruit.

The primary type of wasp trap sold in garden and home centers contains heptyl butyrate, a chemical that is attractive to the yellow jacket wasp, but not to the European paper wasp. Now is the time to place these commercially available traps for yellow jackets.

If your main concern is the paper wasp, thoroughly inspect the eaves and overhangs around your home or school. Knock down and remove all old wasp nests. You can make your own trap for the European paper wasp using a soda bottle trap with a mixture of 1 part fruit juice to 10 parts water + 1 tsp. liquid detergent. The juice must begin to ferment in order to be attractive, and so it may take a day or two for rapid fermentation to begin.

Bugs and smells

Scientists recently reported that there are more than 1 million odors that humans can smell. Many bugs release odors called alarm pheromones. Historical reports say that bed bugs smell like coriander. In fact, older literature refers to the bed bug as the coriander bug. I think that stink bugs smell like licorice.

If you don’t like coriander, licorice, or having these insects around, consider using herbs such as lavender, mint, tansy and sweet woodruff as a repellent. Common tansy has been used as an insect repellent from the Middle Ages to modern times. Research found oil distilled from the plants to effectively repel mosquitoes, though not as well as commercial preparations containing diethytoluamide. A word of caution – don’t grow common tansy in your garden. It is on Colorado’s B list of noxious weeds.

Biting bugs

What are you doing that’s ‘green’ in honor of St. Patrick’s Day? Have you considered eating bugs? On this blog, we often talk about methods to get rid of bugs. A lot of people consider all bugs as “pests”.  What better way to get rid of them than to eat them?

The only problem is that this time of year here in Colorado we don’t have a lot of bugs to choose from. Look at the website, Girl Meets Bug. There is a list of different arthropods that are eaten in around the world. The only ones I found, that I can also find in my house, are sowbugs, also known as pillbugs or rollie-pollies.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, two billion people eat 1,900 insect species as part of their diet. We might want to consider insect farming. While cockroaches are consumed in some parts of the world, I would rather know that my cockroaches had been consuming healthy food. We can even use humane methods to kill them. If you put them in the freezer, they slowly fall asleep.


Relax, it’s just lice

I learned more about head lice yesterday from Dr. Richard Pollack from the Harvard School of Public Health. He discussed several myths about head lice. None of these is true:

  • The presence of head lice is a sign of neglect.
  • Head lice are shared readily and cause epidemics.
  • Head lice can cause disease and/or harm by transmitting pathogens.
  • Head lice can jump, fly, or survive for weeks off a host.
Be sure it's really a head louse.

Be sure it’s really a head louse.

Dr. Pollack emphasized how important diagnosis is. You must first find the creature. Next, confirm it is a louse. There are many other things that may look like head lice, including knots in the hair, dandruff, and other creatures, such as book lice or carpet beetles. Finally, determine it is alive. Recent research has found that head lice can only survive off a host for a few hours; it has commonly been published that head lice can survive 1 to 2 weeks off a host.

People infested with head lice pose negligible risk to themselves or to anyone else. He believes that schools unnecessarily quarantine infested children and recommends that schools eliminate their exclusion policies – for both nits and lice.


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