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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU to host school pest management workshop in Albuquerque

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Schools, like many other public facilities, can suffer pest problems. Insects, such as flies and cockroaches, can spread disease or trigger allergic reaction, while mice and vertebrates may cause structural damage or contaminate food.

But sometimes pest removal can pose as many problems as the pests themselves. Because children are more sensitive to pesticides than adults, people concerned with providing a healthy environment for students often wonder if there is a better way to control pests in schools. The common-sense alternative is integrated pest management.

New Mexico State University is hosting a free school pest management workshop, Wednesday, March 21, at the NMSU Albuquerque Center, 4501 Indian School Rd. NE, to help school maintenance personnel learn about integrated pest management methods.

"This year we have included topics of interest to the school maintenance community that were not covered at previous workshops," said Tess Grasswitz, NMSU Extension IPM specialist, who will be opening the workshop with a presentation of the principles of IPM in schools.

The workshop will also include presentations on asthma in the school environment, landscape and grounds IPM for schools and colleges, bed bugs, indoor air quality and mold, and control of wildlife pests in school grounds.

"Carrie Foss, Washington State University's urban IPM coordinator and a leading expert on school grounds IPM, will be among our speakers," Grasswitz said. "She developed and initiated the IPM certification program at Washington State University, which includes an IPM curriculum for landscape and turf management."

Other presenters will be Alvaro Romero, NMSU's new bed bug expert, speaking on the issue of these pests finding their way into schools; Sonja Koukel, NMSU Extension health specialist, discussing the effect of mold and other air quality issues; and Sam Smallidge, NMSU Extension wildlife specialist, discussing methods of controlling wildlife pests, such as pigeons and skunks. A representative from the Asthma Allies organization will also discuss asthma in the school environment.

To register for the workshop, contact Grasswitz at tgrasswi@nmsu.edu or 505-865-7340.