Pest Management


Integrated Pest Management

 The Commonwealth of Virginia recommends an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to pest control within school buildings and on school grounds for all Virginia Schools.  IPM is a proactive, environmentally-friendly approach to minimizing the food, water, habitation and entrance opportunities within the building and on school grounds.  IPM emphasizes the following recommendations:

  • Inspections – Providing comprehensive inspections to identify type of pests/rodents, entry points, food sources and viable plan of action.
  • Maintenance – preventing access to the building by sealing/screening voids, gaps and holes
  • Sanitation – cleaning and removing standing water and food sources
  • Establishing thresholds – determining what constitutes an emergency and non-emergency infestation of a given pest or rodent.
  • Biological controls – using the pest life cycle, habits and sociology against it.
  • Monitoring – measuring the extent and range of pest activity.
  • Treatment – Implementation of glue boards, snap traps, bait stations to minimize the use of insecticides and pesticides around the staff, students and the school environment.

Arlington Public Schools uses an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach in response to pest control concerns using the above strategies in addition to the following:  observation; staff interviews; sanitation; maintenance recommendations and monitoring activity through traps, the pest control sighting log and work orders. Arlington Public Schools uses traps and bait stations to eliminate both insect and animal pests and uses crack and crevice treatment in gel form.  Pest control in Arlington Public Schools is responsibility of students, staff and visitors Everyone is required to participate in the program and the recommended efforts.


Prevention is the most effective means of preventing pest and rodent infestations.  Prevention strategies include:

  • remove food sources by: cleaning, removing trash and recycling daily
  • seal entry points
  • place trash and recyclable materials in the appropriate container
  • reduce clutter
  • store food in sealed durable plastic containers

Pest Control Sighting Log

A key component in the APS pest control program is the Pest Control Sighting Log.  In addition to reporting observed pest activity, the log is also a means of monitoring activity and assisting management with improving pest control efforts.  All staff, students and other building users are required to report pest and rodent activity and comply with corrective recommendations.

Pest Inspection Schedule and Procedures

Each building receives a service schedule and is inspected monthly throughout the year. Upon arrival at the building, the pest control specialist will check in with the main office and evening shift custodians. The technician inspects the following areas each month: exterior grounds, custodial closets, teacher’s lounge, clinic, entrances, cafeteria, kitchens, all large restrooms, food preparation classrooms. In addition, the pest controller inspects areas indicated in the pest sighting log, work orders and verbal feedback from custodial staff.

Reporting Pest Control Work Orders and Reporting Emergencies

Work orders are received through the computerized work order system. Emergency work orders involve any plant, insect, rodent or other animal that presents an immediate threat to the safety, health of students or environment. Examples of emergencies include: rats, squirrels, bats, raccoons, poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, and stinging insects, and as such, are treated within 24 hours of receipt of complaint. All other items are considered non-emergency and are treated on the scheduled treatment day.Termite investigations occur as required but are treated during school holiday periods and summer break due to the amount of noise generated by the treatment process.

Plant Operations is available to discuss pest control concerns with school staff.

Each school will receive a pest control report indicating areas inspected, treated and infested, along with recommendations, chemicals (if any) used. Schools should keep the report on file for future reference. Plant Operations keeps all IPM reports on file to comply with state regulations.

Please see Pest Control Presentation regarding the APS pest control program

To contact the Plant Operations Department call (703) 228-7732.

Human Lice Lice

Lice are not treated by Plant Operations. The following regarding the topic is excerpted from the National Pest Association and used with permission:

“Pest control operators are frequently asked either by individuals or organizations, to apply insecticides to surfaces to control human lice outbreaks. Accordingly there seems to be some controversy over the technician’s role in these cases. Should technicians treat premises for lice infestations? And if not, why? These are questions that will be addressed in this Technical Release. First is important to understand the characteristics of these ectoparasite insects and their medical importance:

1. House Lice, Pediculus humanus capitis (fig.1). Adults are elongate usually 1/16-1/8 inch (1.0-2. mm) long, reddish-brown in color with dark margins. Their legs are legal in length and each one has a claw to grasp the hair. Thus, head lice cannot hop, jump, or fly, they can only crawl. The immature forms (nymphs) are similar in appearance to the adults but are much smaller. The adult female is larger than the male. She glues her grayish white eggs (nits) to the hair shaft. Nits can be found anywhere on the head, including the nape of the neck, eyebrows, eyelashes, behind the ears, and at the crown.

As mentioned earlier, all three species need human blood to survive and must stay in close proximity of the host, either on the body or- in the case of the body louse-to the clothing of the infested individual. There is controversy as to how long a louse can live off the host, however it is currently believed less than 24 hours, depending on environmental conditions as relative humidity and temperature. Egg hatch generally occurs within 7-10 days, depending on environmental conditions.


The most prevalent means of contracting a louse infestation is person-to-person contact, but they can also be indirectly transmitted by combs, brushes, towels, hats, upholstered furniture, etc. Children may pick up infestations from their parents, older siblings and from other children. The practice of sharing combs and brushes should be discouraged to avoid the transmission of head lice. Crowded conditions can cause infestations to spread and increase rapidly.

Control and the Technician

Insecticide premise treatments are not necessary since these insects cannot survive for long periods away from the human host

Body louse controls include improved individual hygiene and laundering of the individual’s clothing and bedding. All family members and other persons who may have come in recent contact with the infested individual, should be examined closely for louse infestation by a physician or public health professional who generally recommend local application of pediculicides- to the areas of infestation.

The Center for Disease Control states the epidemiological studies indicate that most transmissions of head lice occur by direct person-to-person contact and not by person-environment-person route. For this reason, the home or school environment should not be treated with insecticides. Vacuuming will remove fallen hairs with attached nits from furniture, mattresses, rugs, stuffed animals, toys and car seats. Frequent and vigorous vacuuming should be encouraged. Laundering of hats and similar head attire will remove nits.”

Source: “Human Lice” ESCPS 037113A Technical Release (excerpted), National Pest Control Association, Dunn Loring, VA ©1994


To reach the Operations department, please call 703-228-7732.