Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Traditional pest control involves the routine application of pesticides. In addition to posing a dire threat to pollinators and biodiversity, pesticides can have short and long-term impact on children’s health. Children are more sensitive than adults to pesticides and young children especially can have greater exposure to pesticides from crawling, exploring, or other hand-to-mouth activities. Adverse effects of pesticide exposure range from mild symptoms to serious, long-term neurological, developmental and reproductive disorders.

The EPA recommends that schools use an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan to reduce pesticide risk and exposure.  IPM is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach that offers a wide variety of tools to reduce contact with pests and exposure to pesticides. EPA recommends a “Smart, Sensible & Sustainable” approach to pest control. Smart: IPM creates a safer and healthier learning environment by managing pests and reducing children’s exposure to pests and pesticides. Sensible: Practical strategies reduce sources of food, water & shelter for pests in school buildings and on grounds. Sustainable: The emphasis is on prevention, which is economically advantageous. Learn more below about developing an effective school IPM plan. In addition to the resources noted, county and state cooperative extension offices offer excellent IPM information!

Tip: Also visit our National & State Green School Programs page to learn more about local and national Green School programs and resources to help you improve the health & sustainability of your school!

Before You Start

Introduction to IPM: Principles & Benefits

Introduction to IPM in Schools

Form an Action Team

Green Existing Schools Web Training: Groundskeeping (6mins)

Green Existing Schools Companion Guide: Groundskeeping

EPA Webinars: Pest Management in Schools

Design and Preparation

Conduct a General Environmental Review Checklist

Conduct a Pest Management Audit

Easy Start: 15 Simple Steps to Reduce Pests at School


Healthy Schools Action Plan

Sample Pest Management Action Plan

Blank Pest Management Action Plan

EPA: Steps to Establish a School IPM Program

IPM Institute School IPM Toolkit

Pesticides & Pollinators: Reduce Pesticide Risks to Pollinators

Tools for School Facilities Staff:

  • Greening Schools Implementation Guide: Outdoor IPM Sample Plan
  • Greening Schools Implementation Guide: Indoor IPM Sample Plan
  • Green Shield Certified Products
  • Need Help? EPA Contacts for IPM in Schools

    Using Your Project

    Student IPM Curriculum for K-12 Teachers

    EPA Lesson Plans, Teacher Guides & Online Resources for Educators

    EPA Pesky Pests & Household Hazards Lesson Plan (Ages 9-13)

    Eco Schools K-12 Resources for Educators

    Eco School National Standards & Curriculum Alignment

    Green Education Foundation: Sustainability Lesson Clearinghouse

    Learning Lab Sustainability Lessons

    Project Learning Tree Curriculum Offerings

    Eco Schools Green STEM Initiative

    Sharing Your Project

    Stop School Pests IPM Professional Development Training for School Staff

    Apply for IPM STAR certification!

    School IPM Recognition & Certification

    Signs: Share About IPM

    EPA Pesticide Posters

    Resource Center

    Project Resource Library: Learn More!
    IPM Institute of North America: School IPM
    EPA: Pesticide Information for Students and Teachers
    National & State Green School Programs
    Bay Backpack Teaching Resources Search Engine
    EPA Learning & Teaching About the Environment (awards, resources, more)