For years, scientists have associated growing asthma rates among children with exposure to cockroach allergens, especially among inner-city children. A new study in the May issue of Journal of Medical Entomology entitled “German Cockroach Allergen Levels in North Carolina Schools: Comparison of Integrated Pest Management and Conventional Cockroach Control” shows that using integrated pest management (IPM) to control cockroaches is more effective at reducing cockroaches and their allergens than conventional methods which do not use IPM.
Unlike conventional pest-control methods, which often involve periodic spraying of insecticides on a predetermined schedule, IPM involves close monitoring for signs of specific pests, combined with baits and traps to control them. The authors of this study compared two school districts using the conventional method with one school district using IPM, and found that the one using IPM had much lower concentrations of cockroach allergens and zero cockroaches caught in pre-set traps.
“North Carolina schools are mandated to convert to IPM by 2011, so these findings give credibility that IPM has superior and longer-lasting results than pesticide use alone,” said Dr. Godfrey Nalyanya, one of the authors. “In fact, the study was so convincing that the two school districts using conventional pest control quickly made the switch to IPM.”
The authors also state that besides being more effective and ecologically superior to conventional pest control methods, IPM has long-term economic benefit as well.
“The monetary costs for IPM might be higher initially, but it pays for itself down the road and provides a healthier school environment,” Nalyanya says.