Even a seemingly clean elementary school can easily become infested with cockroaches. Depending upon the type of pest control program that a school has in place, it may be difficult to detect the extent of a problem before it’s too late.
Roach Infestations Run Rampant in Elementary Schools
Just take the case of a 2011 cockroach infestation that affected more than two dozen schools in Florida. The pest infestation became so severe that students in one school were forced to eat lunch outside in a tent instead of using the school cafeteria.
In this case, many parents were skeptical of the type of pest control program that was implemented at the school. Although school officials said that a German cockroach infestation spread quickly and without warning, many parents felt that more could have been done to prevent such a serious pest problem.
After extermination, the maintenance staff chose to watch carefully for signs of roaches and used baits versus sprays to protect kids from pesticide exposure. Staff members were also trained more thoroughly in pest control practices to help with pest management, especially in cafeterias.
How to Deal with a School Wide Pest Infestation
To prevent an outbreak of this kind, the best form of pest control starts with sanitation. School facilities are normally considered to be clean environments to protect the health and wellbeing of young children.
Still, many schools can benefit from stricter sanitation protocols to keep pesky pests under control, like:
- Deep cleaning of food prep areas, especially hard-to-reach locations.
- More thorough trash management.
- Food storage in airtight containers.
- Regular clutter removal.
- Routine floor drain and vent maintenance.
- Quick repair of water leaks.
- Sealant for holes, gaps, and cracks in the building.
Training staff members to better recognize areas where pests could enter a building is one step in the right direction. In both daycare centers and elementary schools, high-risk areas for an infestation include dumpsters, teachers’ lounges, kitchens and food prep areas, maintenance closets, classroom snack areas, and locker rooms.
School cafeterias should stick to strict sanitation guidelines to meet local health requirements. Yet in a school that has already experienced a pest outbreak, further precautions may need to be taken to empty out trash cans regularly, wipe up areas of standing water, and store food in pest-proof containers.
Staff members can pitch in and do their part to keep pests out by cleaning up and properly storing food in breakrooms, classrooms, and other snack areas.