Monday, November 29, 2010

School IPM Videos now available online!

School IPM videos are now available for download. The videos were developed by Dr. Godfrey Nalyanya and funded by the Southern Region IPM Program. They will be available on CD in January 2011. The videos can be found at:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sugarcane Beetles

Adult sugarcane beetle (Photo: Cotinis,
We recently got a call from a NC school reporting that several buildings were being invaded by small black beetles. The insects, as it turns out, were sugarcane beetles (Euetheola humilis), a type of scarab beetle that can become a problem in the fall as it searches for a suitable place to spend the winter. The beetles are common insects, but their populations are usually so low that they go largely unnoticed. Sugarcane beetles can actually damage caulk or other sealants at expansion joints and other junctures as they attempt to dig into the area.

One thing to keep in mind about sugarcane beetles is that they are occasional pests that are normally present at relatively low levels. The beetles are attracted to light, so using sodium vapor lights in fixtures near buildings and mercury vapor lights for fixtures away from buildings can reduce the number of invading beetles; however, this may not be practical in school settings.

Sugarcane beetles gathering around expansion joint (Photo: Chris Mills, Union Co. Schools)

Insecticides are not very useful in controlling sugarcane beetles. The beetles may be sprayed directly in order to kill them, but the residual may not be sufficient to kill beetles that show up later. Any invading beetles should simply be vacuumed or swept up. In addition, replacing caulk that is damaged or missing should help decrease numbers of invading beetles.

For more information on sugarcane beetles, please see:

Monday, November 8, 2010

Suggested Protocol for Bed Bugs Found in NC Schools

The NCSU School IPM Program has recently developed a suggested protocol for bed bugs found in North Carolina schools. These guidelines have been developed to help NC school systems to become more aware of the problem and to be prepared to deal with situations where a suspected bed bug is found on school premises and/or on an individual (child, staff or visitor) or his/her belongings.

Below is a summary of the suggested protocol for bed bugs found in schools. Please visit and click on “Bed Bug Protocol for Schools” to see the complete protocol, which includes a sample parent notification letter as well as bed bug fact sheets.
In the event that bed bugs (or what is presumed to be bed bugs) are found in a school building, the priority should be to address the situation as quickly as possible while minimizing disruption to the learning environment. Always avoid bringing undue attention to any individuals directly involved. The individual does not need to be removed from the classroom/office unless it facilitates the inspection. If the situation involves a student, inform the parents as soon as possible. The child does not need to be excluded from school.

First, verify that the problem is due to bed bugs. Several insect pests may be confused with bed bugs, such as bat bugs, swallow bugs, and carpet beetle larvae. Reports of bites should be taken seriously, but bites alone are not enough to declare that there is a bed bug infestation. Second, determine the extent of any infestation in the school facility. Third, attempt to determine whether the current finding suggests that the school has an infestation or if the problem is associated with one individual (or group of individuals) who may have accidentally brought the insects to school. Next, take appropriate control measures bearing in mind the safety of all. Finally, educate parents and staff as to precautions they can take to reduce the likelihood of accidentally moving bed bugs between school and their homes.

Bed bug treatments, as with any pest control procedures, should follow the school’s IPM policies as closely as possible. The IPM Coordinator or a designate should contact the school’s pest control service (contracted or in-house). In-house pest control services should be used only if the employees have adequate training and knowledge of bed bug control. Otherwise, the school should contract the services of a licensed pest control company if a bed bug treatment is deemed necessary. 
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