by Janet Hurley, Texas A&M AgriLife
As November comes to an end, and the weather starts to cool, teachers and staff start thinking about the holidays. However, what they probably don’t think about is their role in the IPM program. As parties are planned, decorations brought out of storage and cooler temperatures invite open windows it’s also a good time to remind everyone that mice, ants, and other critters are on the move. This time of year also brings out the clutter bug in all of us, it’s best to keep on top of this behavior then let it take over one’s life.
De-cluttering has the immediate effect of eliminating pest harborage. When clutter is reduced, there is increased access to floor spaces, allowing for more thorough cleaning by custodial staff. The same is true for shelves and inside cupboards. When there are nooks and crannies – created by “stuff” – for pests to hide and breed among, there will be allergens and lots of bugs.
Clutter control also helps improve overall school hygiene. It’s easier for custodial staff to sweep, mop, and dust when things are generally organized. Minimizing clutter also helps teachers stay organized. It’s much easier to keep your room tidy when your cupboards and bookshelves are not overflowing with stuff!
Have a great holiday and remember food, water and harborage can create pests in the most unlikely of places.