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Integrated pest management for indoor use

Health Factors: Housing & Transit
Decision Makers: Community Members Educators Employers & Businesses Local Government State Government Federal Government Nonprofit Leaders
Evidence Rating: Scientifically Supported
Population Reach: 50-99% of WI's population
Impact on Disparities: Likely to decrease disparities

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Integrated pest management (IPM) includes a broad range of methods to control pests that also minimize potential hazards to people, property, and the environment. IPM employs a four-tiered approach – setting action thresholds, monitoring and identifying pests, preventing pests from becoming a threat (e.g., sealing cracks and crevices), and pest control as needed. IPM pest control begins with the least risky approaches (e.g., mechanical controls such as trapping) and moves to targeted pesticide use only if other measures are not successful. Often used in agriculture, IPM can also be used in indoor settings such as homes, schools, workplaces, or other environments that may be affected by mice, roaches, or other pests (US EPA-IPM, UC Ag-IPM). 

Expected Beneficial Outcomes

Reduced pesticide exposure
Improved health outcomes
Improved housing conditions

Evidence of Effectiveness

There is strong evidence that using integrated pest management (IPM) in indoor settings reduces pest and pesticide exposure (Krieger 2010, Jacobs 2010, Sandel 2010, Brenner 2003). IPM has also been shown to improve health outcomes and housing conditions and reduce exposure to cockroach allergens (Krieger 2010), especially when implemented as part of a multi-component home-based environmental intervention (Crocker 2011).

IPM techniques have been shown to reduce the number of asthma symptom days and school days missed by children living in low income, urban areas. These techniques have also been shown to reduce mouse and rat allergen exposure, which may exacerbate asthma symptoms (Crocker 2011).  

By improving housing conditions (e.g., sealing cracks, repairing deteriorating walls or window frames, and improving cleaning habits), IPM makes homes less appealing and accessible to pests and reduces pesticide use and related neurological effects (Sandel 2010). Acute pesticide poisoning causes adverse health effects such as seizures, rashes, and gastrointestinal illness. Chronic pesticide exposure also increases risks to human health, with potential neurologic, reproductive, and genotoxic effects, as well as increases in cancer risk. Health risks are highest for vulnerable populations, especially children (Sanborn 2007).

Pesticides are often used in large quantities in low income, urban areas; IPM strategies used in these areas can reduce disparities in pesticide exposure and related health risks, especially for children (Brenner 2003). Individually tailored IPM plans can be cost-effective, with costs that are often equal to or lower than traditional chemical pest control (Brenner 2003).


United States

IPM is in use in single and multi-family homes, schools, childcare facilities, and workplaces across the country. It has been mandated on federal property since 1996 (US GSA-IPM). As of 2013, 25 states have school IPM plans; 15 states have an IPM-related law and 10 have policy recommendations promoting IPM in schools (HSN-Healthy schools report 2013).

The US General Services Agency (GSA) is the primary agency responsible for distributing information about structural IPM (US GSA-IPM). The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (US HUD) also provides information about IPM for safe pest control in homes across the country (US HUD-IPM). 

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers grants to fund projects that promote IPM adoption in schools (US EPA-School IPM grants).


Wisconsin has a school IPM program that provides tools and technical resources to K-12 schools to reduce their pesticide use (WI DATCP-School IPM).

Implementation Resources

AHA-IPM - American Hospital Association (AHA). Sustainability roadmap for hospitals: Implement integrated pest management (IPM) practices in your facility. Accessed on November 18, 2015
CDC EHS-IPM - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Environmental Health Services (EHS). Vector control: Integrated pest management. Accessed on November 9, 2015
CDC-IPM manual 2006 - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Integrated pest management: Conducting urban rodent surveys. Atlanta;2006. Accessed on November 20, 2015
Maley 2014 - Maley M, Taisey A, Koplinka-Loehr C. Integrated pest management: A guide for affordable housing. Stop Pests in Housing, Northeastern IPM Center. 2014. Accessed on November 19, 2015
NCHH-IPM - National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH). Integrated pest management (IPM). Accessed on December 10, 2015
US EPA-IPM in buildings - US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). Integrated pest management (IMP) in buildings. EPA 731-K-11-001;2011. Accessed on March 16, 2017
US EPA-IPM in schools - US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). Managing pests in schools: About integrated pest management (IPM) in schools, and tools, tips, and resources to implement IPM. Accessed on March 23, 2017

Citations - Description

UC Ag-IPM - University of California Agriculture & Natural Resources (UC Ag). Statewide integrated pest management program: What is integrated pest management (IPM)? Accessed on November 9, 2015
US EPA-IPM - US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). Integrated pest management (IPM) principles. Accessed on February 28, 2017

Citations - Evidence

Brenner 2003 - Brenner BL, Markowitz S, Rivera M, et al. Integrated pest management in an urban community: A successful partnership for prevention. Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP). 2003;111(13):1649-1653. Accessed on April 25, 2017
Crocker 2011* - Crocker DD, Kinyota S, Dumitru GG, et al. Effectiveness of home-based, multi-trigger, multicomponent interventions with an environmental focus for reducing asthma morbidity: A community guide systematic review. American Journal of Preventive Medicine (AJPM). 2011;41(2S1):S5-32. Accessed on November 20, 2015
Jacobs 2010 - Jacobs DE, Brown MJ, Baeder A, et al. A systematic review of housing interventions and health: Introduction, methods, and summary findings. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice (JPHMP). 2010;16(5):S5-10. Accessed on November 18, 2015
Krieger 2010 - Krieger J, Jacobs DE, Ashley PJ, et al. Housing interventions and control of asthma-related indoor biologic agents: A review of the evidence. National Institutes of Health Public Access (NIH). 2014;16(5):1-14. Accessed on November 20, 2015
Sanborn 2007 - Sanborn M, Kerr KJ, Sanin LH, Cole DC, Bassil KL, Vakil C. Non-cancer health effects of pesticides. Canadian Family Physician (CFP). 2007;53:1712–1720. Accessed on May 24, 2016
Sandel 2010* - Sandel M, Baeder A, Bradman A, et al. Housing interventions and control of health-related chemical agents: A review of the evidence. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice. 2010;16(5 Suppl):S24-33. Accessed on November 9, 2015

Citations - Implementation

HSN-Healthy schools report 2013 - Healthy Schools Network (HSN), Coalition for Healthier Schools. Towards healthy schools 2015: Progress on America's environmental health crisis for children. 2013. Accessed on November 19, 2015
US EPA-School IPM grants - US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). School integrated pest management (IPM) grants. Accessed on March 23, 2017
US GSA-IPM - US General Services Administration (US GSA). Integrated pest management. Accessed on November 9, 2015
US HUD-IPM - US Department of Housing and Urban Development (US HUD). Safe pest control. Accessed on February 23, 2017
WI DATCP-School IPM - Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). Pesticides: School integrated pest management (IPM). Accessed on November 18, 2015

Page Last Updated

November 7, 2014

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