February 2019 School IPM News

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February 2019

Upcoming Comprehensive IPM Workshops

The Maine School IPM Program has announced the Winter/Spring 2019 workshop schedule. Are you new to IPM? Or want a refresher on Maine’s school IPM requirements? Need IPM Continuing Education credits? Does your custodial and maintenance staff need training on how to keep pests out and deal with them when they arrive? Register and attend one of the workshops below.




Feb 20, 2019


Comprehensive IPM Workshop. Gardiner Area High School. Register Here.

Feb 21, 2019


Comprehensive IPM Workshop. Lincoln Academy Register Here.

Apr 16, 2019


Comprehensive IPM Workshop. Rangeley Lake Regional HS. Register Here.

Apr 17, 2019


Comprehensive IPM Workshop. Noble HS, North Berwick. Register Here.

Apr 18, 2019


Comprehensive IPM Workshop. Elm Street School, East Machias. Register Here.

May 14, 2019


Comprehensive IPM Workshop. Glenburn School. Glenburn. Register Here.

May 15, 2019


Comprehensive IPM Workshop. Region Two Technical School. Houlton. Register Here.

May 16, 2019


Comprehensive IPM Workshop. VanBuren Schools. Van Buren. Register Here.

Questions? Contact Kathy Murray at kathy.murray@maine.gov or 287-7616.

More Training

Save the Date:  Oct 29-30, 2019. New England Rodent Academy. Portland, ME. This two-day event will feature expert speakers from across the US and engaging hands-on activities. Learn how to recognize, prevent and manage mice and rats.

Mice are Not Cool in Schools


Mice can transmit diseases such as Salmonella and Hantavirus, and the airborne particles found in house mouse urine can trigger asthma. Their gnawing habits damage walls, insulation and wiring. They contaminate food. Mice are not cool in schools.

The house mouse is one of the most common mice infesting schools. The adult mouse is 5 to 8 inches long, light brown or gray, and has a naked tail. Two other mice commonly found in Maine schools are the deer mouse and the white-footed mouse—they both have a furry tail, white feet, and a gray to brown body that contrasts sharply with a white belly. Deer mice and white-footed mice often invade buildings, especially in the fall.  All mice seek dark, secluded, warm, undisturbed areas close to a food source. Mice are often active in cupboards, wall voids, dropped ceilings, and behind and under equipment and shelving in kitchens and pantries, break rooms, offices and classrooms.

How can I tell if there are mice present? Mice may be present if small, tapered droppings are observed where the mouse feeds and food containers are damaged. Another sign of mice visitors are grease trails and smudge marks around wall skirting and entrance holes. You can detect mouse urine, which fluoresces, by using a black light in an otherwise dark room.

How Do They Get In? Mice are most likely to invade structures in the fall, looking for food and shelter from cold. Mice can enter any hole ¼ inch or larger; if a pencil fits through a hole, then so does a mouse! This includes cracks and any openings around piping, air ducts, roofing, open windows, and doors. Like many pests, mice can be accidentally brought indoors in boxes (especially corrugated cardboard boxes) and pallets. Mice can access building roofs via overhanging shrubs and trees, and will climb vertical surfaces and wires. Mice can survive on just about any kind of food and can go without water for considerable periods. They forage when humans are not present, making infestations hard to perceive until numbers are considerable.

Managing Mice with Integrated Pest Management. IPM for mice is always a combination of exclusion and sanitation. Eliminate harborage and food sources through sanitation. Remove clutter. Repair or seal all openings that allow entrance, using rodent-resistant materials (metal-containing materials such as steel wool, steel-impregnated rubber door sweeps, and flashing work best). Communicate to all school staff how to prevent rodent activity in their areas of responsibility and the protocols to be used to report rodent activity.

  • Keep all food items in pest-proof containers and practice good sanitation to remove crumbs and grease residue.
  • Remove indoor and outdoor debris that could harbor mice.
  • Inspect and organize storage often. Make sure items are stored in plastic containers and anything that is not needed is donated or discarded.
  • Clean up food scraps and store foods in plastic containers with lids.
  • Trim tree and shrub branches that may allow access to the building. 
  • Clear high weeds that serve as food and shelter.
  • Use mechanical traps to control light to moderate infestations. Place traps along the base of walls and in corners of rooms. Set traps in the evening and collect them the following morning. Glue boards are not recommended--they catch young mice but allow adults to continue breeding. 

Poison bait stations are rarely needed at schools. These boxes, containing pesticide-laced rodent attractants are often placed around the outside walls of school buildings by pest control service providers. These pesticides threaten wildlife. Instead of poison bait boxes, keep school buildings clean and well-sealed to prevent rodent entry and deploy mechanical traps indoors to monitor and remove the occasional invader. Or, talk with your pest service provider about swapping out the poison baits for non-toxic baits. Colored or fluorescent non-toxic baits can be used by anyone (no pesticide applicators license required) and help you to pinpoint and block rodent entryways. For more information on using non-toxic rodent baits see: https://www.pctonline.com/article/biomonitoring-rodents-corrigan/.

-borrowed from Utah State University Cooperative Extension/Colorado State University Cooperative Extension. Pest Press Sept. 2013 https://utahpests.usu.edu/schoolipm/files-ou/pest-press-fact-sheets/pdf/mice_pestpress.pdf

Questions/Comments? Contact us! 
Email: kathy.murray@maine.gov
Phone: 207-287-7616

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