Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pest Control Q & A

Servall Pest Control brings you a Q & A session from Ask Mr. Pest Control:


I was told that there are certain laws to follow when it comes to treating a school that is public or receives govenment assistance or payment. Yet, if it's Private then just follow the guidelines on the label because it's different from a public or government assisted school's laws. Does this make sense? I just turned down a good job that came up because I wasn't sure if the laws for public versus government assisted schools were different than for private schools. Are they? Thanks for your answer and advice.

Steve, FL


This is a very important question, but a single answer is not going to be appropriate for all states, and it is important for you to investigate the exact regulations in place in your state. You can begin on PestWeb by going into our "Business Tools" tab and selecting "IPM In Schools". You the can select your state and find links to the specific regulations and forms for your state. Florida, where you are, is very active through the Univ. of Florida in producing many tools and forms on this subject, and they do have regulations pertaining to pesticide use in schools, as does nearly every other state.

In general the purpose behind regulating / restricting pesticide use in schools is to reduce the exposure young children have to toxic substances. It is believed that their developing brains and other organs are more susceptible to exposure to toxins, and yet this must be balanced with the need to prevent their exposure to public health pests as well. Thus, nearly all states mandate that each school have a written IPM program in place so that a total reliance on pesticides is avoided. I think this is a good idea. Ultimately the states are not going to distinguish between public versus private schools, and in many states already include private schools or private day care facilities in their School Pesticide Use regulations. Obviously if these laws are in place to protect children it should not matter if that child does not attend a public school, but I suspect that initially it is easier to regulate government institutions. If we carry this to the obvious extreme, do these regulations have the right to impose themselves on home-schooled children and the private homes where they are being taught?

So, I will dance around this issue a little bit but invite you to go to the links provided on PestWeb and dig into your own state's regulations. This actually is a fabulous opportunity for our industry to step up and show its professionalism. In many cases it removes the ability for the janitorial staff at a school to buy pesticides at the local hardware store and spray them themselves. It invites LICENSED applicators in to help schools handle this delicate situation. Your time is money, and IPM can take more time but in the long run be more effective with minimized use of pesticides, and you have the opportunity to increase revenue at these accounts.

A direct answer to your question of whether private schools are viewed as outside of regulations pertaining to public schools is that old expression - it all depends - and it depends on your state. For example, in California where very specific laws on school pesticide use are in effect the current law specifically exempts private school facilities, but I have no doubt that this issue is still rolling around in the minds of our politicians.

Mr. Pest Control

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