Integrated Pest Management in Affordable Housing
Pest control in multi-family housing is challenging. Resident's housekeeping practices vary as does their tolerance for pests. Maintenance is a never-ending battle. Pests move easily from one unit to another. And everyone must respect resident's privacy and independence.
Health Effects of Pests:
Pests such as cockroaches and mice as associated with asthma attacks. Cockroaches may cause children to have asthma. Rats carry disease and can start fires. Flies spread disease. Bedbugs are making a comeback.
Extent of Problem:
More than half of the residents in public housing and Section 8 properties surveyed in 2004 reported having problems with rodents and insects indoors. 17% had problems most or all of the time. Other studies suggest that the problem is worse. A Purdue University study funded by HUD found that 71% of a public housing development had active infestation. Yet only 22% of the residents with an infestation reported the problem. 80% had used sprays and foggers to control for cockroaches. Almost 60% had taken matters into their own hands for mice. See Pest Conditions Case Study.
In the case of cockroaches, persistent housekeeping problems have begun to undermine the effectiveness of our most effective pesticides to control them - baits stations and gels. See Bait Aversion Case Study.
Traditional Pest Control v. IPM:
Integrated pest management (IPM) is a different approach than traditional pest control. It emphasizes eliminated nesting places as well as sources of food and water for the pests. It excludes the pests from the home. It uses the safest pesticide in the safest manner only when necessary. Studies by Purdue University and Virginia Tech show that it is more effective and, when the pests are under control, is cost effective. See Cost Comparisons Case Study. Programs at Boston Housing Authority, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority and in Salinas, California highlight the promise of IPM.
In February 3, 2006, HUD issued its Guidance on Integrated Pest Management. HUD renewed the guidance on May 24, 2007. The guidance identifies ten elements of an effective IPM program. It states that the "goal of IPM (per the Environmental Protection Agency) is to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment."
The National Center for Healthy Housing has developed tools and resources to help property managers, staff, residents and pest management professionals implement an integrated pest management program. Funding from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Pesticide Programs and Battelle made this work possible. The ongoing support and guidance from HUD and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Environmental Health were essential as well. The tools include the following:
Check out NCHH's What's Working for Bed Bug Control in Multi-Family Housing: Reconciling best practices with research and the realities of implementation. NCHH published the report on February 12, 2010 with funding from EPA. Send feedback to Allie Taisey at email@example.com.
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