What is IPM?
Integrated pest management (IPM) is a sound, sensible approach to dealing with pests—insects, plant diseases, weeds, and more—with methods that protect human health and the environment while saving money. IPM integrates a range of biological, organic, cultural, mechanical, and chemical options to prevent and solve pest problems. And IPM is about more than just bugs—it's also about fungi and mildew, bacteria, viruses, weeds, and wildlife, all of which can be pests if they’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. And it’s about management because you can only manage pests—you can’t get rid of them forever, no matter what anyone tells you.
In coping with pests, the best offense is a good defense. If we had to sum up IPM in four words it would be: Think before you spray.
Step 1: Be prepared. What pests can you expect and how can you avoid them? Learn which tactics work—and under which conditions—if pests show up in school buildings, playgrounds and athletic fields. Learn about the beneficial organisms that can help you out.
Step 2: Think prevention. It’s the first step in IPM.
- Keep pests out: caulk and seal cracks and holes from cellar to attic
- Don’t feed pests: keep it clean, inside and out
- Keep plants and lawns healthy so they resist pests better
Step 3: Stay alert. Scout routinely, keeping tabs on potential pests. Know your threshold—the point when a few pests become a few too many.
Step 4: Look at your options. Every tactic costs something. Will your benefits justify the costs? Know all the options before you commit.
Step 5: Choose and use. Choose tactics and tools for the best results that protect children, staff and visitors--and Maine's valuable natural resources, too--while staying within budget. Whatever option you settle on—do it right! Plan carefully, make smart choices, and keep records!
Step 6: Think again. How did it work? How much has the situation changed? What did you learn? What is left to learn?
Maine Regulations Require all K-12 Schools to Use IPM!
Frequently Asked Questions
School IPM Rules (Chapter 27)
Notification and Posting Requirements
Parental consent needed for school staff to provide or apply insect repellents to students [PDF]
High School Agriculture/Horticulture Program Exemption [PDF]
Maine's School IPM Requirements in a Nutshell [PowerPoint]
LD 837: School Pesticide Use Under Scrutiny
Pesticide Use in Maine Schools (results of October 2000 survey)