By the time students are returning to school grounds or campuses for the new fall semester, temperatures are usually on the decline. Except for regions that remain warm all year round, the cooler weather will also send rodents indoors, looking for warm, dry territory for their continued food hunts, and schools are an ideal location for this.
A Serious Concern for Students’ Health
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated there to be over 35 diseases that rodents can spread, and you do not have to be bitten to become infected. Although you may contract a disease from handling a rodent, there are indirect means that are of more concern due to their difficulty in being detectable, and thus avoided.
You may be bitten by a flea, tick or mite that previously bit an infected rodent, or you may inadvertently come into contact with rodent feces, urine or saliva. As explained by Dr. Robert Corrigan of the New York City Board of Health and Mental Hygiene: “If the droppings’ dust contained allergens or some type of pathogenic microbe, then there could be potential health consequences.”
With budgetary allocations already a serious concern for schools, a six-figure sum to handle removal of rodents is undesirable. But that’s exactly what Ohio State University’s Office of Student Life had to face in 2014 when they shelled out over $124,000 for pest control.
Perhaps it is in response to these unwanted expenses that led the EPA to put forth programs that concentrate more on preventive methods, with the goal of lessening the need for pricey elimination services.
School IPM Programs
It is likely that your city has an integrated pest management (IPM) program for its schools to follow, as recommended by the EPA. According to the EPA, IPM “involves integrating multiple control methods based on site information,” which is obtained through:
- Careful inspection of the property
- Routine monitoring
- Dutiful reporting of sightings
One of the goals of IPM is to limit pesticide application and save it as a last resort. As explained by Penn State Extension: “Issues of poor indoor air quality, pesticide hypersensitivity, pesticide residues and children’s heightened sensitivity to potential damages of pesticides are all cited in the rationale for new legislation across the country.” Thus, trap setting and preventive sanitation efforts are preferred as an ongoing means of rodent control.
If rodent activity escalates and pesticides are put to use, attention must be paid to the rules in your area regarding its placement. A common restriction is for pesticides to be used only in outdoor locations, and away from storm drains or sanitary sewers. It is also recommended that they are placed in bait stations and secured so that they cannot be dragged away by the rodents. The best time to use them is when students are not around, so take advantage of weekends, holidays and especially off-season periods when classes are not in session.
And of course, it falls on students to do their share. Dorm life presents its own challenges, as students must remain as diligent about cleanup and food storage as they would be at home. And since many of them lived with parents who took care of all this for them, this may be the first time they have to clean up after themselves and consider the repercussions of their strewn-about refuse. For those who are only within school walls during class hours and still live at home, there is still the cafeteria or lunchroom that must be kept tidy. Throwing away trash in the proper receptacles and not leaving food behind in a classroom will help. For IPM programs to work, everyone in the school must act responsibly and avoid creating conditions that would attract pests.
Victor® Rodent Control for Schools and Universities
No matter what rodent control methods your school decides to use (and it is recommended that several be used in unison to comply with IPM programs), Victor® has them all. Whether it is the tried-and-true snap trap that Victor® has been improving over the past hundred years, or the more technologically advanced designs that kill up to 10 rodents per setting, we offer a variety to accommodate every situation. Our glue traps and rodenticide selection may be used independently or together, and placing our ultrasonic and scent repellents near an access point will deter rodents from entering through it.
We hope that your back-to-school experience is a rodent-free one, but let us know if it is not and what your school is doing about it. Share in the comments section below or on our Facebook page. By subscribing to our eNewsletter, your school will receive more of our helpful articles and exclusive product updates directly in their inbox.