Pesticide-free school Strategies are working
Perrysburg Messenger Journal
Since the Perrysburg School District kicked the pesticide habit last spring, Frank Elementary School is pest free-naturally.
Frank School custodian Sandy Harrison gives the new pest-fighting system high marks,
The school had a serious ant problem, she said, and an exterminator was called regularly to kill the intruders. Trouble was, they always came back.
Now instead of using deadly pesticides, Ms. Harrison takes a borax solution and sprays it once a week where the ants like to congregate-like the table storage areas in the cafeteria.
The result? "We have much better control than we had with all that poison sprayed in the building:" she said in an interview last week. 'I'm very pleased."
Using a three-inch-thick book called "The Best Control," she can find a nontoxic solution to every pest problem.
For example, yellow jackets in the dumpster area. The manual advises; "A very effective stinging insect trap can be made using a two-liter Pepsi bottle; fill the two-liter bottle with warm water and stab three to five openings around the bottle five inches to eight inches up from the bottom with a ball point pen. Hold the pen so only about three-fourths inch penetrates the bottle. Drain the remaining water and then pour about one inch of Pepsi and/or diluted enzymes into the bottle; cap the bottle and place wherever you are having stinging insect problems, e.g., dumpsters, picnic tables, etc. If pests are escaping through the same punctured holes, redo the trap using smaller holes."
Negative ion plates are tools also being used in the schools. They are mounted on the corners of the Frank cafeteria about eight feet from the floor. According to the manual, the plates " are made of anodized aluminum that is completely natural and never needs recharging. They can be effective for a year or more and when replaced in a proper grid pattern will repel and remove many pests within 3-30 days." The negative ion plates are said to create or focus natural energy.
Ms. Harrison acknowledges she doesn't know how they work. "But whatever they [the purple plates] do and we do is working," she said.
She remembers school staff were a bit skeptical when they first heard of the system developed by Get Set, Inc., a Michigan Company that manages pest control with nontoxic materials. She's a believer now.
The president of the company. Steve Tvedten, was involved in traditional pest control applications for 30 years. He changed to integrated nontoxic pest control eight years ago after becoming seriously ill. Mr. Tvedten held training for Perrysburg school staff, including custodians, groundskeepers, cafeteria workers principals and nurses.
He displayed common pesticides and cleaning products that have poisonous ingredients listed on the labels. For example, a can of household bug spray listed the ingredient organophospahtes. He said it was developed by Hitler in World War II to penetrate mustard gas masks; it was the nerve gas used by terrorists in the Japanese subway attack in 1996.
Frank School custodian Sandy Harrison points out one of the pest-controlling negative ion plates installed in the school cafeteria. They work, she says.
He writes in the company manual: "It makes no sense to use poisons that do not even control pests and are known to impair or destroy children's lives and their ability to think and develop normally, in the very places that are mandated to provide a safe learning and growing environment."
Richard Jones, business manager of the Perrysburg School District said last week he will recommend continuing the contract with Get Set when it expires in the spring.
"There are some good success stories," he said. "We still have some problems here or there and we call Get Set and they send something The main thing is the poisons are out of the buildings and off the grounds." Both Mr. Jones and Ms. Harrison have used the strategies they've leaned in their own homes,
Mr. Jones said the service cost $7,800 the first year and the district had been spending a comparable amount for an exterminator.
The pesticide-free strategy is a way of life that must be constantly kept up, he said.
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