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Residents are critical to controlling pests and reducing pesticide use in a pest control strategy called structural Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM is a pest control method that uses a variety of complementary approaches to alter the home environment by:

  • Reducing food sources (that attract pests) and places for pests to hide (clutter)
  • Finding out where pests are coming in and sealing them out
  • Placing low toxicity traps and using other pesticides only when absolutely necessary

To be successful, IPM needs to be a partnership between the resident, the owner/manager of the housing and the pest management professional. The resident’s role is:

  • Keeping the apartment clean and limiting clutter
  • Preparing for visits by the pest management professional
  • Communicating with the pest management professional and the property manager about pest problems

Sometimes residents have been putting up with pests for a long time and have seen little by way of lasting results from traditional pest management, so they may doubt that IPM will be any better. Out of frustration, residents may turn to illegal and restricted pesticides, like Tempo, Miracle Chalk and Tres Pasitos, which are dangerous for people, especially children. What You Need to Know About Pests and Pesticides to Protect Your Family’s Health* is a great resource. A lot of what we know comes from the IPM program at the Boston Housing Authority. BHA uses trained residents to work with other residents to understand their role in IPM (for a description of a BHA IPM Tenant Coordinator, click here).

In some developments, pest complaints fell more than 50% after IPM was implemented. For improvements that resulted from the BHA program, including fewer pest complaints, less pesticide use, and improved resident quality of life, click here. Changing from traditional pest control to IPM can be complicated especially in large multi-family housing complexes. For a guide on how to do it, including information on how managers can work with residents click here. To view an instructional video that features an IPM inspection and treatment visit and highlights the resident’s role click here.

IPM is the use of the most effective and economical means of pest management with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment. (Don Rivard of Rivards Resources: IPM)

*Available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Brazilian Portuguese, European Portuguese, Russian, Haitian Creole, and Somali

Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: