Integrated Pest Management in Missouri Schools LogoIntegrated Pest Management (IPM) in schools is a decision-making process that combines practical pest management strategies to prevent or control pests in ways that reduce risks to health and the environment. IPM is an approach that has been around for several decades and has been widely used in agricultural settings. Schools can adopt IPM practices, too, to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment both indoors and out.

Why Use IPM in schools?

People vary widely in their sensitivity to chemicals such as pesticides and can be sensitive to certain pests, such as cockroaches and stinging insects. Schools must balance the known health risks of uncontrolled pest infestations, the safety of school staff and students and the use of pesticides. IPM can be used to achieve that balance.

Instead of routine chemical applications, IPM is an approach to pest control utilizing cultural, mechanical, educational, biological and physical controls with selective use of pesticides. Chemical controls are used only when needed and in the least-toxic formulation that is effective against the pest. Under IPM, a well-organized and comprehensive approach is in place to prevent pests from reaching unacceptable levels utilizing low-risk control strategies when necessary. IPM is not a quick fix but can be achieved through administrative support, involvement of the school community and communication with Pest Management Professionals.

IPM is a long term investment which can result in cost savings for schools. Pest prevention measures include some of the same structural fixes for increased energy efficiency. Barriers to prevent pests’ access into a building quite often tighten up windows, door thresholds and utility entrance points, which in turn will help insulate. Schools may also see a return investment from less absenteeism with healthy buildings that help maintain student and staff health. All of this in turn can reduce school liability. View a short video, "Integrated Pest Management in Missouri Schools," to see how several Missouri districts benefit from using various IPM methods at their schools. (Note: If you are having problems viewing the video you may need to download Windows Media Player)

Below are a few questions you may want to consider with regards to pests in Missouri schools:

  • Does your school have an IPM Policy?
  • Does your school contract with Pest Management Professionals?
  • Does the contract list specific IPM practices?
  • Are school staff and students participating in IPM practices?

Implementing IPM in Missouri Schools

The Missouri Department of Agriculture and the Missouri Center for Safe Schools were awarded a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to implement IPM in Missouri schools.

As part of this grant, a state IPM Workgroup was assembled to work on developing school policies for IPM, provide sample IPM contracts for schools and provide schools with IPM resources.

Members of the IPM Workgroup represent several organizations and agencies including:


Missouri Department of Agriculture
P.O. Box 630
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Phone: (573) 526-0837
Fax: (573) 522-1109