Structural integrated pest management (IPM) in an urban environment involves the safe prevention, reduction or elimination of unwanted organisms. Pest control operators and facilities managers or owners face tough challenges in solving pest problems around public facilities, office complexes, hospitals, cafeterias, or other sensitive environments that can create real or perceived risks.
Traditionally, pest control consisted of the general application of one or more pesticides in indoor environments such as public office buildings, hospitals, correctional faculties, libraries, apartments as well as private residences. However, there has been a movement away from relying solely on pesticides to solve pest problems in response to public concerns over pesticide use, pesticide resistance, and the possibility that pesticide applications may contaminate the work environment and expose staff to pesticide residues.
It is important to recognize that pesticides (chemicals) regardless of rating as highly toxic or least toxic should not necessarily be the first choice for solving a pest problem. There are several pesticide reduction strategies available for use in indoor environments. IPM programs discourage unnecessary pesticide use and generic prescriptive pesticide treatments. Each IPM program is specifically designed to meet the individual needs of the area serviced.
Pest control providers and clients must agree on what IPM is and how it differs from non-IPM, calendar-scheduled, pesticide-intensive services. Also important to include in discussions are the benefits IPM can deliver, who is involved, what cooperation and participation is expected from all parties involved, how everybody will communicate, how records will be kept, how pesticides (if needed) will be selected, stored, and applied; and what notification procedures will be followed. Building occupants play a major role in sanitation. How will they be educated? How will occupants communicate any pest problems they observe? A designated pest management coordinator in the building can help coordinate information between occupants, decision-makers who make funding and contract decisions, and those who provide the pest control services. The success of an IPM program depends on the assistance and cooperation of the management and staff in each facility.