IPM Scavenger Hunt

– National Pest Management Association

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

School’s out! Hooray! When my kids were younger, summer was a time for “camp mom.”  I loved coming up with creative adventures and explorations.  I often themed our weeks together…Heritage Week where we explored our Scandinavian ancestors, made delicacies from Norway and Sweden, and read books by authors from “the motherland”…Colonial Week offered candle and butter making, games from the early days, and even an attempt at learning to sew (epic fail!). Of course, any themes focused on the outdoors were always a big success! 

I was reminded of my days as the chief creator of fun when Jim Fredericks, one of my colleagues and our staff entomologist, published an IPM Scavenger Hunt for Kids.  IPM, or Integrated Pest Management, is a common sense approach to pest control that starts with the removal of food, water, and shelter that pests find attractive on your property. 

Why not liven up a summer afternoon by taking your kids on an IPM Scavenger Hunt!?!   Not only will they have a great time learning about bugs but they will learn how to locate potential pest problems on your property. The adventure can offer teachable moments about the difference between bugs and the pests they become when they enter your home and things children can do to help keep your home pest free! 

Here are a few ideas of things to look for to get you started….

  • Ants
  • Ant nests
  • Crickets
  • Spiders
  • Termite mud tubes (Hope you don’t find any of those!)
  • Carpenter ant frass (Look for sawdust like wood shavings with insects parts)
  • Carpenter bee holes (Look for perfectly round ½ diameter holes in wood)
  • Wasp nests (Stay away!)
  • Cracks in foundation walls (Spider entry points!)
  • Holes in screens (Don’t invite the mosquitoes!)
  • Gaps underneath doors (If you can slide a piece of paper under the front door, a spider can crawl through!)
  • Holes larger than a dime (Just big enough to let mice inside!)
  • Leaky rain gutters (Water pooling by your home welcomes a host of pests)
  • Leaky Pipes (Cockroaches love these!)
  • Firewood piled less than 20 feet from the structure (Keep it back to keep rodents and termites at bay)
  • Outdoor trashcans with no lids (Find secure lids or else nuisance wildlife will thank you for easy access!)
  • Tree limbs overhanging the house (Branches that come close to your home offer a pest highway indoors)

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