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Integrated Pest Management

Remove the bugs without all the toxics...

Integrated Pest Management: A Comprehensive Approach

Integrated pest management (IPM) is a cluster of tools, based on prevention, to combat pests with more than sole reliance on pesticides, including:

  • Mechanical controls: ensuring pests are kept out with screens, weather-stripping, repairing cracks and holes, using sealable plastic containers to store food, fly strips, etc.
  • Cultural controls: cleaning and sanitation.
  • Education: knowing the difference between “good” and “bad” bugs, pest identification and monitoring, and training staff.
  • Hormonal controls: the use of hormones rather than toxicants to kill bugs.
  • Pesticides: the judicious use of pesticides when necessary.

Integrated pest management is a proactive, holistic approach in contrast to the reactive nature of chemical treatment strategies. In fact, over time, pests may become resistant and build-up greater tolerance to chemicals used on them repeatedly.

Did you know that the use of chemical pesticides is associated with eye, nose and throat irritation, skin rashes, nausea, and nerve damage? These damaging health effects are even more prevalent in sensitive populations like children, the elderly, and people with asthma.

IPM Principles

The IPM program uses non-chemical and chemical methods to get rid of pests. The five principles of IPM are:


  • Keep pests out by sealing cracks and crevices.
  • Look for little spaces under the doors, windows, and walls, where roaches can sneak into your house or apartment.
  • Roaches can fit through spaces as small as a dime, so make sure the spaces are filled with caulking putty and the gaps under the doors are closed off with weather strips.
  • To keep mice out, seal up holes with copper mesh and spray foam or caulk. Seal all holes up to five feet. Make sure all windows and doors close tightly, including underneath.
  • Get rid of clutter where mice and cockroaches like to hide.


  • Keep our homes and buildings clean on a regular basis.
  • Clean out areas where the roaches could be living. Crumbs should be cleaned up immediately, or roaches can follow them and infest the entire house.
  • Wipe up spilled water and keep the faucets turned off. Drain water out of sink and dry wet dishes. Roaches are good swimmers, and even one drop of water can satisfy a thirsty roach.
  • Eat meals at the table or in a designated area, not all over the house.
  • Store trash securely outside of the home.
  • Empty trash weekly and use a garbage can with a tight fitted lid.
  • Store food, snacks and pet food in tightly sealed containers.


  • Be aware of whether or not pests are present.
  • Roaches like to hide in dark places like in corners and under heavy things like refrigerators.
  • Food bits can fall into these places and give the roaches both a place to live and food to eat. Food must also be stored where roaches cannot get to it.


  • Select a treatment method for the particular pest that is least hazardous and most effective.
  • The first three steps should be enough to make your bug count start dropping, but if more help is needed, we recommend these trapping methods:
    • For mice, place snap traps along walls and in areas where children can’t reach. Use peanut butter instead of cheese and check them daily.
    • For cockroaches, use bait stations and insect growth regulators.
    • Do not use toxic sprays or bombs. Bait stations work better in cracks and crevices to get rid of the bugs. However, only adults should use chemicals at home.


  • Evaluate how well treatment worked and keep records of sanitation and/or chemical intervention.

IDEM's IPM Grant

IDEM awarded a pollution prevention grant to the Purdue University Department of Entomology in cooperation with Indiana University, the State Chemist's Office, and other knowledgeable professionals with experience in integrated pest management. Together, they developed a pilot program to educate schools and child care facilities on the importance of implementing Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

Through this grant, on-site assistance was provided to schools and child care facilities participating in the pilot program. Free workshops for school administrators and child care directors were held throughout Indiana. Finally, IPM materials were developed and distributed throughout the course of the project.

Under this grant, the IPM Technical Resource Center at Purdue University conducted pilot Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs in 2 school corporations and 4 childcare centers in Indiana.


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