School Integrated Pest Management: Monitoring

Pest Management In and Around Structures October 09, 2014 Print Friendly and PDF
Cockroach Monitoring Station


One important component of pest identification is monitoring. An organism should not be considered a pest until it is proven to be one, and this can be done through monitoring. Monitoring will allow you to pinpoint where the pest problems are, and when they are occurring.

Monitoring will also provide you specimens so the pest can be identified. When monitoring, it is important to keep records. Records will help you to see patterns, and will help you to solve reoccurring pest problems. With monitoring, you can determine if the pest population is declining or growing. You can determine the life stage of the pest, you can look for natural enemies, and you can determine the amount of pest damage.

Hearsay or casual reports of pests are not particularly helpful. They may guide you to places that need monitoring, but they don’t provide you with the accurate information you need. You are the professional, the diagnostician, and you have to gather the appropriate data before you take action. Monitoring is a crucial part of that information. Information gathered during monitoring should always be written down in a monitoring log.

Monitoring involves problem solving, ongoing inspection and observation (this may include monitoring at different times of the day or night), and communication with other professionals. It helps if you can coordinate your monitoring with routine maintenance activities. As you go about your daily job, be sure to jot down notes about pests in monitoring stations and other problems you see. You can then return to that area and place or replace monitoring stations or can put in a work order to get an area sealed or a leak fixed.

There are certain areas that consistently harbor pests. These are known as pest vulnerable areas or PVAs. To reduce pests in schools, you must reduce pest conducive conditions. These conditions are often found to be PVAs. These are areas that have the things a pest needs for survival such as food, water and harborage. Once an infestation is identified through monitoring, measures can be taken to reduce the infestation including, exclusion, reduction of food, water and harborage, and the judicious use of pesticides, usually in a targeted bait application.

By using integrated pest management principles, we can reduce the number of pests as well as maintain a healthy learning environment. By continual monitoring, you will gain knowledge about your pest situation. You can evaluate the effectiveness of your treatment and see if any adjustments need to be made.

When monitoring, you should look for and document pest conducive conditions (leaky pipes, clutter including excessive cardboard, unsealed foods including foods used in art classes, access points like uncovered vents, or unsealed holes, live pests, pest droppings, and pest damage.


General Information

General Information: Monitors should be placed on the floor against walls and/or on window ledges. If monitors are likely to be moved, use the double sided tape to fasten the monitor in place. If monitors are not catching pests, think about how the pests may be entering and re-locate the monitor to a more suitable location. Don’t forget to use other structural elements as monitors. Window ledges, floor drains, light coverings, and spider webbing all serve to help you monitor for pests. Monitoring stations should not be stored alongside volatile pesticides.


Things to Remember When Placing Monitors

  1. Monitors should be placed in all pest vulnerable areas (PVAs) and hot spots.
  2. Monitors should be placed against a wall and/or on a window ledge. Secluded corners are often good spots.
  3. Monitors should be placed out of the way of people or activities.
  4. All monitors should have a placement date and number.
  5. Monitor placement should be documented in case someone else has to retrieve them.
  6. Monitor locations should cover the site well. Use too many as opposed to too few.
  7. Place traps near to persistent pest conducive conditions (PCCs). This can document the effect of the PCC so a maintenance or repair order can be placed.
  8. Monitors should be re-locatable so you can target the pest.
  9. If monitors are placed in a classroom, the teacher should be informed of its purpose.
  10. Monitors should be “read” monthly and should be changed when it is filled with pests, dust/dirt, or when three months have passed.
  11. Typically an elementary school will require 20 monitors, a middle school 35, and a high school 40.


PVAs Monitor Placement Area
Kitchen/cafeteria Dry storage and pantry, dishwasher area, near external cafeteria doors, near floor drains, and within the lower panels of serving counters
Staff lounge Behind vending machines, in counter or drawer, behind microwave, and next to refrigerator
Custodian’s storage Under shelving, near to floor sink, near external door (if present)
Reported hot zones from pest sighting log Under counters, sinks, near windows
Special Education or kindergarten classrooms Near food preparation area, near backpack storage, under sink
Home economics/ Life skills classrooms Near stove or refrigerator, near washer/dryer, under counter
Stage areas Under stage storage, equipment room
Locker areas Under lockers
Concession stands Under counters or equipment
Classrooms with animals/plants Near pet food or plants
Cluttered classrooms Remove clutter, monitor in storage areas, under sinks
Bathrooms (if there is a problem) Near external doors, near cracks and crevices, near utility pipes without escutcheon plates
Nurses station (if there is a problem) Under desk, under sink, near external door


Other School IPM Information

Connect with us

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • Google+


This is where you can find research-based information from America's land-grant universities enabled by



This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.