School IPM—Pest Solutions

What is a Pest?

A pest is any living thing—a plant, an animal, or a microorganism—that has a negative effect on humans. It can be an unwanted plant (weed), fungi, nematode, microbe (such as bacteria or virus), insect, spider, mite, bird, fish, rodent, or even a deer. Labeling an organism a pest is a very subjective concept that varies with each individual’s point of view. In general, pests are unwanted or undesirable because they:

  • reduce the availability, quality, or value of human resources such as food, feed, water, or space;
  • injure humans, animals, crops, structures, and possessions;
  • spread or cause disease; or
  • interfere with human activities by causing annoyance, discomfort, or inconvenience.

Many organisms may become pests, certain organisms are often pests, but none are inherently pests.

[back to top]

What is a Pesticide?

pes-ti-cide: any substance used to kill, repel or otherwise control a pest. Pesticides are often referred to by the type of pest they control: insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides and disinfectants (to name a few).
How can you tell if it’s a pesticide? If it’s a chemical substance and you’re using it with the intention of controlling a pest, then it’s a pesticide! This includes homemade solutions.

What you should know
Pesticide use is strictly regulated in Maine schools. With few exceptions, pesticides may only be used by a licensed commercial applicator and each application must be approved in advance by the school’s trained IPM Coordinator. When pesticides are applied in areas accessible to students or staff, signs must be posted to indicate what, when, where and why a pesticide application is scheduled andparents/guardians and staff must also be notified 5 days in advance. In addition, a pesticide may only be used precisely as directed on its label, which is a legal document. For rules governing the use of pesticides in and around schools see School IPM Regulations.

Some common types of pesticides:

  • Insecticides—kill insects.
  • Herbicides—kill weeds and other plants. Found in weed control products including lawn ‘weed & feed’ products.
  • Fungicides—kill fungi. Used to control mold & mildew or to protect plants from diseases.
  • Molluscicides—kill snails and slugs.
  • Rodenticides—control mice, rats and other rodents.
  • Disinfectants and sanitizers—control human disease-producing microorganisms (like bacteria and viruses).
  • Repellents—repel biting insects or vertebrates like birds or deer.

[back to top]

Maine School IPM Manuals (How-To Guides)

  • School IPM Tool Kit
  • Outdoor IPM for Maine Schools [PDF]
    • Schools are complex systems including different physical spaces, indoors and out. Most school buildings are unintentionally built with inconspicuous entry points and shelter for insects, rodents, and other unwelcome wildlife.  This manual will assist school IPM coordinators with outdoor pests.
  • IPM for Northeast Schools [PDF]
    • This booklet was developed to help school personnel specifically in the Northeast establish a comprehensive IPM program. This includes developing an IPM policy statement, identifying roles and responsibilities of members in the school community, and providing an IPM bid specification to use in contracting with outside pest management contractors.

[back to top]

School IPM Action Plans

[back to top]

Pest Photo Gallery [gotpests.org]

[back to top]

Pest Diagnostic Lab

[back to top]

Outdoor Pests [all PDFs]

[back to top]

Indoor Pests [all PDFs]

[back to top]

Turf and Lawn

[back to top]

Mold, Mildew, and Microbes

[back to top]