MDARD works to provide a healthier school environment through smart, safe pest control
LANSING – Pest infestations can destroy property, contaminate food, spread disease, and worsen health issues like asthma. To avoid these problems and to limit children’s exposure to pesticides, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) requires schools to implement an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program.
“IPM uses a variety of pest management tools and techniques to reduce pest levels,” said Brian Verhougstraete, MDARD’s Pesticide Section Manager. “Because a properly implemented IPM program reduces the use of pesticides, every school in Michigan is required to have one in place.”
MDARD requires any person applying pesticides in schools to complete an approved training program. Pesticides include any product such as an insecticide, herbicide, fungicide, or rodenticide claiming to control, repel, kill, or prevent pests. Each year, MDARD conducts inspections at school districts around the state to ensure they have an IPM program in place and that pesticides are being applied safely.
“We provide schools with a variety of resources including a comprehensive training manual, model program, brochures and other resources to help them establish an IPM program that is in compliance with Michigan’s pesticide law,” Verhougstraete added. “While these tools are aimed primarily at school administrators and maintenance personnel, many of the IPM principles and concepts discussed can help manage pests in any building or situation.”
In addition to having an IPM program, each school is also required to notify and provide specific information to parents about pesticide use at the school; except in emergency situations, the notification must occur at the beginning of the school year and at least 48 hours prior to an application. It is also important to note that certain pesticides such as disinfectants and sanitizers are exempt from the notification requirements.
Additional information about the MDARD IPM program is available online.