Parents, teachers, and students are concerned when pests are identified at school because they are a public health problem. Most of them transmit diseases. In addition, insects and animals harmful to human health give the place a bad reputation. The control of pests in educational establishments (schools, boarding schools, high schools, universities, technical training centers) does not differ mainly from the procedure necessary to carry out in other types.

The significant difference arises from the very nature of the place that receives many students daily. Many of them correspond to kindergarten and preschool levels (children between 0 and 6 years old) and primary school students (basic cycle of 8 years). A high universe of children who attend regularly does not exceed 12 years. This situation puts the school in a delicate scenario due to the nature of some children (curious, restless, and risky), so the utmost discretion is required on their part to carry out effective pest control but safe at the same time.

Most common pests in schools, academies, and educational centers

Many kinds of pests can infest schools and educational institutes; however, among them, the most common ones are:

1. Rodent

Rodents
Rodents | Image Credit – Flickr

The most usual pests that we can find in schools and academics are, among others, rodents. Rodents create their burrows almost anywhere. Such as in the vegetation of the patio, basements near the building, and, mainly, in the sewers.

2. Ants

Another pest that requires pest control in schools is ants. The ants go where they want, even in dining rooms or kitchens, being able to get to the food.

3. Cockroaches

Cockroach laying an egg
Cockroach laying an egg | Image Credit – Flickr

Cockroaches are also very frequent in schools. They tend to reproduce quickly and can cause disease because they carry bacteria, infecting everything in their path with the dangers that they do with food.

4. Wasps

Who has not ever feared a wasp sting, and, on the other hand, what child has never been bitten? With the arrival of good weather, the wasps begin to build new wasps, and when these nests are close to the schools, the danger is only a matter of time.

5. Lice

Lice are the most common pest infesting school children. There’s not much school can do, but the only possibility of control is the systematic inspection of the child’s head to look for the possible presence of nits(the parasite’s eggs) or lice (tiny gray parasites that are seen less frequently). At least once a week, parents should arm themselves with patience, take some time, place themselves in a well-lit environment (possibly near a window), and carefully examine the baby’s hair. Nits are easily recognized because they look like white or light brown spots, and, unlike dandruff, they remain stubbornly attached to the hair.

6. Mosquito

Mosquito
Mosquito | Image Credit – Flickr

No living being has adapted better to the urban environment than this winged animal. Metropolises bring everything mosquitoes love: still water, heat, and plenty of blood. As if the bites on the skin were not enough, some species transmit viruses that cause dengue, Zika, chikungunya, and yellow fever — four examples of diseases that have plagued various nations for a few decades.

Measures to control Pests in Schools

We have listed the best 10 measures to control pests in schools:

1. Invest in Regular Pest Control

Invest in regular pest control
Invest in regular pest control | Image Credit – Wikimedia Commons

There are several essential measures to ensure the safety of students in an educational institution. One of them is pest control in schools. Insects and harmful animals cause diseases that can cause serious complications, especially in sensitive people. It can cause great inconvenience because these people are under your tutelage.

Therefore, make the pest control service in schools an investment by your educational institution. Avoid having the work done on time only when an infestation is identified. The continuous treatments will guarantee the protection of your students. An outbreak of diseases in the school environment and putting people’s health at risk also generates an atmosphere of apprehension, mistrust of those responsible, phobias in students and employees, and difficult-to-remove stains on their institutional image. Therefore, the losses are too many for you to manage simultaneously.

2. Analyse the Best Time for Pest Control

After study hours, some treatments can be done, such as applying insecticide gel. In others, there is a need to distance people. Therefore, talk to the pest controller to leave the latter for periods such as vacations or weekends. The pest control method in schools depends on a few factors, such as whether there is an active infestation or the threatening elements to the institution. It must be analyzed and guided by specialized technicians. Have a trustworthy company with extensive experience in the subject!

3. Choose a Reliable Company And Product

Choose among the best
Choose among the best | Image Credit – Wikimedia Commons

Choosing a reliable company is a great challenge so that the service does not pose any risk to students, teachers, and servers. The methods used by the company specialized in pest control must be highly safe. It is necessary to base on the correct use of products that do not harm the environment and human beings and have registered with the Ministry of Health and the certifications required by the agencies government, following the strictest safety standards imposed.

The schools have kitchens, and cafeterias similar to the restaurant environment, as there is a significant movement of people and food handling. Keeping these environments clean and organized, with covered dumps and adequate infrastructure, prevents pests such as rats, cockroaches, scorpions, flies, and ants. 

On the other hand, we can compare classrooms to offices, and all these places need fumigation. The products to be used must be safe, and the pest controller should disclose their safety measures to the school to avoid that, after application, poisoning of dogs, cats, and human beings occurs. The products must hit urban pests only. In the case of using gel, the application should occur in specific places according to the target pest.

4. Focus on cleanliness not only inside but also outside

Focus on cleanliness inside and outside
Focus on cleanliness inside and outside | Image Credit – Flickr

Keeping the entire area outside the school clean, with no accumulation of rubbish or debris, is recommended. The school management should allow lawn, weeds on the ground, and the school’s sidewalk to be cut frequently. It is also essential to organize the trash cans with suitable containers for organic and recyclable waste in cans with lids and remove the material whenever the trash cans are full.

All rooms and hallways must be constantly cleaned and sanitized, and bathrooms inside the school. Spaces with a greater concentration of papers, such as the library and the secretariat, must always be organized. Dispensations with food must be regularly inspected. Particular attention should be paid to parks and courts and areas close to institutions, as they are spaces where children often stay.

5. Repair all leaky pipes; cover all cracks, cracks, and holes

Water leaking out of a pipe on top of a water heater.
Water leaking out of a pipe on top of a water heater | Image Credit – iStock

Did you know the problem of leaking pipes and pests have similarities that you never imagined before? Leaking pipes in schools is the leading cause of many pest attacks. Leaky pipes offer a vital water source for pests like rats, ants, and cockroaches. On the other hand, termites and leaky pipes are closely related because termites prefer to live in a humid environment. Be sure to repair all leaking pipes in the school and actively monitor for erosion or any leaks.

Every crevice, crack, and hole provides a point for pests to enter. Even the smallest cracks can create access for pests with flexible bodies like rats. Ants, cockroaches, and mice only need a gap or hole as small as 1 cm to get into the school classroom and premises! Therefore, always remember to seal all cracks and holes by using putty to seal any joints or plaster and patching holes in walls and concrete.

6. Timely thorough Inspection of Children

Timely thorough Inspection of Children
Timely thorough Inspection of Children | Image Credit – Wikimedia Commons

It is crucial for eliminating lice and pediculosis infestation. In all communities, particularly in schools attended by small children, the presence of pediculosis has become recurring and challenging to eliminate. Therefore, parents must be aware that getting lice is an unpleasant fact, that it may not be linked to dirt or bad personal hygiene, and that hiding the problem only aggravates the situation.

It is, in fact, imperative that the parent who identifies the lice or nits on the head of his child notifies the teachers so that all the necessary actions can be implemented, with the mandatory protection of confidentiality, to stem the problem. Schools have had consolidated procedures for years, which are adequate if each parent takes responsibility for those few simple actions mentioned above: inspection of the child’s head, treatment if the presence of the parasite or nits is found, and adoption of hygiene rules. 

Generally, it is advisable that all pupils are checked simultaneously, perhaps taking advantage of the weekend, and that all those who are infested are subjected to treatment. To date, it is not possible to avoid the problem of lice: however, it is possible to eliminate the parasites in a short time, with a few simple tricks and with the commitment and collaboration of everyone. The head louse undoubtedly represents a nuisance but does not cause any health risk.

7. Use of Pheromone traps

Use of Pheromone traps
Use of Pheromone traps | Image Credit – Dhaka Tribune

Pheromones are chemical compounds released by insects to attract individuals of their species for mating purposes or to communicate phenomena such as oviposition sites, pointing out a path, and alerting in case of danger. The communication generated through these pheromones has generated significant interest in being used as a control and monitoring tool. Combined with biological control methods, it can help reduce the use and pesticide applications. 

It should be noted that pheromones have a low environmental impact and that they also have the particularity of not generating resistance in pest insect populations. Though it has been extensively used in agriculture, it can also be used safely in Schools, especially as it involves children of minor age. Schools can use pheromone traps to identify and mass-trapping insects and pests. Commercially formulated pheromones come ready to use, but you should always try to buy the exact amount of product to use in the school to avoid storage.

8. Place traps in strategic places and control the vegetation

Captured bush rat
Captured bush rat | Image Credit – Flickr

An excellent recommendation against the pest is to place traps and baits in strategic locations where potentially harmful may appear, such as kitchens, canteens, and toilets. This way, you can protect children from any unpleasant surprises or you may notice an infestation on your school premises.

Of course, avoid placing these pesticide products in places visible to your students. Another vital point is keeping your vegetation under control in the school garden and premises. While flowers, shrubs, trees, and natural ornaments are a plus for the appearance of your school, they are also a hazard.

Many insects and rodents can take advantage of the vegetation of your premises to infiltrate it or make it their temporary shelter. Many pest species can breed on plants and then invade the interior of your school. So, keep the vegetation cut or disinfected with harmless pesticides.

9. Do not forget about your Hostel

In the school hostel, you have to spray poison everywhere to get rid of pests. The methods of struggle in the toilet, hallway, and laundry room do not differ from the destruction of the pests in the kitchen. Disinfection with a professional product is necessary to maintain cleanliness in the future. Be sure to repair tanks, faucets, and pipelines. Dry wash sinks and showers and dispose of bait.

10. Use herbs against pests

Use herbs against pests
Use herbs against pests | Image Credit – Freepik

If you intend to keep a garden in your school, it is better that you plant herbs that repel pests and insects. We know a lot of plants, mostly herbs, with which we can easily keep pests away if we plant them in the garden. It is worth choosing the more fragrant ones, and it is a good idea to plant lemongrass, marigold, or lavender. Lemongrass essential oil comprises citral, geraniol, myrcene, limonene, and especially citronellal. These are all-natural compounds used in commercial mosquito repellent candles. Basil is another beneficial plant that is a natural repellent against flies and mosquitoes.

Conclusion

The first thing is the well-being and safety, especially of the little ones, so in the face of a pest control treatment in an educational center, all options have to be studied before deciding how to carry out pest control in the education sector. Children have a lower tolerance to toxic products, so the closed rooms should not be sprayed but treated with alternative products. In addition, safety baits should be used at all times so that toxic agents cannot come into contact with any person or animal, either voluntarily or involuntarily. 

Ankur Pradhan holds a bachelor’s degree in education and health and three years of content writing experience. Addicted to online creative writing, she puts some of what she feels inside her stormy heart on paper. She loves nature, so she is trying to motivate people to switch to alternative energy sources through her articles.