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Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for Schools: Glossary of Terms
Table of Contents
Background and Overview
Reasons for Change
Barriers to Change
Case Studies
Environmental Regulations
P2 Opportunities
Glossary of Terms
Key Contacts
Complete List of Links

Essential Links:

Action Thresholds in School IPM Programs
"An action threshold is the point at which an IPM technician takes action to reduce a pest's numb...

Glossary (Appendix B)
Definitions for commonly used school IPM terms are provided by The IPM Institute of North America in...

Pesticide Information Profiles
This is a cooperative effort of University of California-Davis, Oregon State University, Michigan St...

Pesticides Glossary
Glossary of pesticide terms; many are non-technical and linked for additional clarification.

Statewide Integrated Pest Management Glossary
Comprehensive list of IPM terms.

<big><b>Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for Schools:Glossary of Terms </b></big>

Key terms and language used by both biologists and pest managers are defined in the following list. While this is not a complete list, it will provide quick access to commonly used language. Links to additional, more comprehensive glossaries are provided. Commonly used synonyms are listed in parenthesis.

Action threshold:
The number of pests or level of pest damage requiring action to prevent damage from exceeding tolerable levels. For some pests, the action level will be one, for example a single yellow jacket in a classroom. For other pests, action may be needed before pests or pest damage appears. 1

Anti-microbial pesticide:
A pesticide used for control of microbial pests including viruses, bacteria, algae, and protozoa for the purpose of disinfecting or sanitizing. Anti-microbials do not include fungicides used on plants. 1

A type of insecticide with a delayed toxicity. Baits have two components: a delicious or otherwise attractive matrix and a slow-acting poison. Baits are consumed or otherwise carried away by a particular pest. The slow-acting poison then kills the pest after a long period of time. 3

Biological pesticide:
A chemical derived from plants, fungi, bacteria, or other non-man-made synthesis and used for pest control.2

Conventional pesticide (vs. biological pesticide):
Any man-made chemical that can be used to kill pests. 2

Diatomaceous earth:
A mineral product from fossilized shells used as a mechanical control for some pests. In some insects the coarse texture abrades the outer waxy coating that keeps water inside and allows the insects to dehydrate.

A chemical that destroys vegetative forms of harmful microorganisms, but does not ordinarily kill bacterial spores. 2

FIFRA - The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act:
FIFRA was enacted in June 25, 1947. The act instructs the EPA to regulate 1) the registration of all pesticides used in the United States; 2) the licensing of pesticide applicators; 3) re-registration of all pesticide products; and 4) the storage, transportation, disposal, and recall of all pesticide products.2

Shelter for pests. All living organisms require food, water, and shelter to thrive. Harborage is a component of habitat for pests that can include clutter, stacks of newspapers, and cardboard boxes.

A pesticide used to kill or control undesirable plants (generally considered weeds).

A pesticide used to kill and/or control insects.

An approach to maintaining insect, mite, disease, nematode, weed, or vertebrate pests at tolerable levels by using biological knowledge of pests and pest behavior to implement long-term, least-risk solutions. Pests and pest damage is monitored and action is taken only when necessary to prevent damage from exceeding tolerable levels. Actions are selected with the least risk to humans and other non-pest organisms and the environment, and are carefully timed for maximum effectiveness. Strategies are implemented to resolve factors that contribute to pest problems, avoiding the need to take action in the future. 2

IPM Plan:
A written document including specific information regarding the operation of the school?s IPM program, such as IPM roles for all school staff, parents, students, and other community members; pesticide application notification policies; list of key pests; action thresholds, a risk-based hierarchy of control options and prevention/avoidance strategies to be used for key pests; inspection schedules for school facilities; policies for working with outside contractors; lists of resources for resolving technical questions; and other pertinent information. 1

Key pest:
An insect, mite, disease, nematode, or weed that frequently results in unacceptable damage and thus typically requires a control action. 1

One of several steps in an effective IPM plan, monitoring involves regular, ongoing site inspections and trapping to determine types and infestation levels of pests at each site.

A widely used acronym for material safety data sheets. These contain details of the hazards associated with chemicals, and give information on their safe uses. These are available for all certified pesticides.

A living microorganism, usually a bacterium, fungus, mycoplasma, or virus that can cause disease in the presence of a specific host and under the right environmental conditions. 1

A term applied to an organism (e.g. insect, mite, disease, nematode, weed, vertebrate, microbe, etc) when it causes a problem to humans. 1 For specific pests, use the search tool for the associated links.

A chemical substance used to control and/or kill pests. For specific pesticides, use the search tool for associated links.

Pesticide residue:
A film of pesticide left on the plant, soil, container, equipment, handler, etc., after application of the pesticide. 2

Residual insecticides:
Insecticides that remain persistent on a surface over a long period of time.3

A pesticide or any chemical used to kill rodents.

One of several steps in an effective IPM plan, sanitation involves routine cleaning, maintenance, removal of clutter, and harborage. It is pest control.

Definition sources:

1 The IPM Institute of North America, Inc. (

2 U.S. EPA Region 8, Pesticides Glossary, (

3 The University of Hawaii Glossary for Terms Used in the Pest Control Industry



The Topic Hub™ is a product of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx)

The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for Schools Topic Hub™ was developed by:

Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable
Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable
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Hub Last Updated: 5/2/2009

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