June 2006 // Volume 44 // Number 3 // Tools of the Trade // 3TOT5

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A Worm in the Teacher's Apple: Protecting America's School Children from Pests and Pesticides

A Worm in the Teacher's Apple: Protecting America's School Children from Pests and Pesticides, a book on School IPM (integrated pest management), is a comprehensive; easy to read, four-part guide with information applicable to schools of any size in America. This is a valuable guide for Extension agents involved in School IPM.

Jennifer L. Gillett

Norman C. Leppla

University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
State-wide IPM Program (IPM Florida)
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida

Why School IPM?

A Worm in the Teacher's Apple is a comprehensive, easy to read, four-part guide written especially for parents, teachers, school staff members, and school administrators, but it is also a valuable guide for Extension agents involved in School IPM (integrated pest management). The first part of this guide, "Problems." explains the common perceptions about pesticide use and handling, and educates the general public about realities involved with the business of pest control. Most of this material could easily be used by anyone in Extension.

Part two, "Solutions," includes simple diagrams that explain the costs and benefits of IPM and explains several pest management models. The author, Dr. Marc Lame, began his career in Extension and is quick to point out that "IPM is the right thing to do," but he also backs up that statement with ways to determine the overall costs and benefits of School IPM. Part three, "Implementation," details several different school environments and describes plans of action sure to fit almost any size school in America.

Integrated People Management

Lame's novel idea that IPM not only stands for integrated pest management but also reflects the importance of "integrated people management," gets to the heart of IPM in any system. Advice flows about how to increase the awareness of everyone involved in protecting schools, including students. This community effort to make schools essentially pest and pesticide free is the backbone of the "Monroe Model," developed in cooperation with the Monroe County Community Schools Corporation, Indiana <http://www.mccsc.edu/%7Ejjochim/ipm.html>. Monroe County, Indiana achieved a 92% reduction in pesticide use, enabling them to direct their cost savings to hire a district-wide coordinator to oversee pest management in the schools.

The Monroe County IPM Program has now evolved into the "Monroe School IPM Model." By using this model, the emphasis is placed on minimizing the use of broad-spectrum chemicals and on maximizing the use of sanitation, biological controls, and selective methods of pesticide application. This model proves that increased communication and collaboration between pest management practitioners and school administrators; the custodial, maintenance, and cafeteria staffs; teachers and students can lead to a safer learning environment for school children of all ages and in all learning environments. It also enables staff, teachers, and administrators to maintain a safer work environment.

Just Think Pests!

The simple idea of "just think pests" can make every member of a school community more aware of how their activities mitigate or exacerbate pest problems. Armed with the background information provided in the previous three parts, the final one on "Tools" will help Extension agents to establish coalitions that can formulate policies for promoting School IPM. Additionally, the book has seven pages of references covering various aspects of School IPM. Sure to be viewed as a bonus is the logically produced appendix that provides a wealth of information, including a condensed description of IPM, the Arizona IPM in Schools Coalition Pests Monitoring Protocol, the Monroe Model inspection checklist, a memorandum of understanding, and a model Pest Press news letter.

About the Author

Dr. Marc Lame is a pioneer and accomplished leader in the field of School IPM whose enthusiasm for protecting our children is contagious. He not only commands respect as the national expert in the field but also works constantly in schools across the nation to implement the principles he has developed. He serves as a faculty member of Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs in Bloomington, where he teaches "Environmental Management," "Management Communication," "Environmental Policy," and "Insects and the Environment."

Working closely with Dr. Faith Oi, Dr. Lame readily assists the Florida School IPM Program, associated IFAS Extension programs, and IPM Florida to increase IPM practices in Florida schools (http://schoolipm.ifas.ufl.edu). This very effective team is implementing the Monroe School IPM Model in Brevard County, the first in Florida to adopt this model and one of the largest school districts in the U.S. to embrace School IPM. His book, the first in the field, is full of all the tools anyone could need to become proactive in providing pest- and pesticide-free school environments through the use of IPM. In our opinion, no school or Extension office should be without a copy!


Lame, M. L. (2005). A worm in the teacher's apple: Protecting America's school children from pests and pesticides. AuthorHouse. 1663 Liberty Drive, Suite 200, Bloomington, IN.