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MDARD helps schools practice safe pest management

LANSING As Michigan children start to return to school as summer break comes to a close, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is reminding schools to practice safe integrated pest management (IPM) in spaces where students learn and play. School districts using IPM techniques can reduce the spread of pests such as rats, mice, cockroaches, and ants while practicing smart pest control that doesn't rely solely on chemical intervention.

"Pesticide applications are just one of many pest management tools in the toolbox available to schools," said Mike Philip, Director of MDARD's Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division. "Integrated pest management uses a variety of techniques to combat pests while improving management, lowering costs, and protecting the health and safety of people and the environment."

IPM emphasizes preventing pests from entering buildings by fixing holes in window screens, repairing damaged door sweeps, and sealing holes where pipes and supply lines enter buildings. Putting sanitation practices in place removing food sources attracting pests like removing trash daily, cleaning food debris, and storing food in pest-proof containers.

"When prevention and sanitation methods haven't proven effective, pesticide applications might be the best tool at the end of the day," added Philip. "If schools need to use pesticides, then they need to be following MDARD requirements related to IPM before using a pesticide to keep kids protected."

MDARD requires all Michigan K-12 schools to establish an IPM program and provide notice to parents and guardians before pesticides are applied. Maintaining records of pesticide applications is also required.

Thanks to Governor Whitmer's historic bipartisan budget, MDARD's Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division received additional funding to invest in more training, expand and enhance pest management practices and partner with Michigan school districts to help keep kids safe and healthy.

Visit MDARD's IPM website for more information, including educational resources for applicators and school administrators. For more information about MDARD s Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division, visit