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Exploring the IPM House

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The IPM House was funded by a grant from the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP) of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Grant cooperators include: Geoff W. Zehnder1, Janet M. Scott1, Eric P. Benson1, Patricia A. Zungoli1, Jackie P. Ellis1, David J. Allison2, Scott J. Meade2

1. Department of Entomology, Soils and Plant Sciences, Clemson University
2. School of Architecture, Clemson University


Introduction
Objectives
Introduction of General IPM Concepts
IPM House
Bug Survivor Game
Educational Outreach
References
Teacher's Resource Manual - contains lesson plan, posters, IPM background and insect pest information


Introduction

As is true throughout much of the United States, South Carolina is experiencing unprecedented rates of urban development. With 539,700 rural acres converted for development between 1992 and 1997, South Carolina had the 6th highest rate of land conversion among the 50 states (London and Hill, 2000). Since homeowners may use up to 10 times more pesticide on a per acre basis than farmers when managing pest problems (Anonymous 2001), increasing rates of urban development pose a significant threat to the environment and to human health.

While an integrated pest management (IPM) approach can be used to reduce the need for household pesticides, most adults are not familiar with IPM concepts. Even if adults are exposed to IPM information, they may not feel comfortable implementing it because of preconceived, negative attitudes about pests. If children are taught about IPM, they are more likely to adopt IPM practices as adults and are less likely to rely exclusively on pesticides when trying to manage pest problems. In addition, when educated objectively about the biology of household pests, children are likely to be more receptive to the concept of IPM as a tool that utilizes knowledge about pests and their biology to prevent pest problems before they begin.

This project involved the construction of a detailed model house to visually demonstrate lifestyle, home construction, and landscape practices that may be implemented to help control pests and reduce pesticide use around the home. A relay game was incorporated into the lesson plan to teach children the basic concepts of IPM for four common household pests: ants, termites, cockroaches, and flies.

Objectives
  1. Develop a discovery-based curriculum for children, ages 9 to 13, to introduce them to basic concepts of residential integrated pest management.
  2. Build a model IPM House to visually demonstrate lifestyle, home construction and landscape practices that may be implemented to reduce pesticide use around the home.
  3. Deliver the educational program to South Carolina youth in partnership with the South Carolina 4-H Centers and the Coalition for Natural Resource Education.
Introduction of General IPM Concepts

Utilizing posters as visual aids, children are introduced to basic concepts of IPM and keeping a house free of pests. The biology and survival requirements of four common household pests are emphasized.

Poster 1 explains the general concept of IPM as a tool for managing pest problems. It stresses the need for knowledge about the pest in order to “out-think” the pest. Poster 2 emphasizes that keeping a house pest free begins with proper house and landscape design and requires good home maintenance. Posters 3, 4, 5, and 6 stress that all pests have requirements for shelter, food, and moisture. In addition, these posters introduce the specific requirements that are necessary for ants, termites, cockroaches, and flies to survive.

With knowledge of IPM and pest requirements, students can then participate in either the IPM House activity or the Bug Survivor game next.

IPM House

Children are more likely to learn and retain knowledge if they are allowed to participate actively in their learning experience. To aid children in learning about residential IPM, a model IPM House was built to scale. The model house was designed and built with construction and landscape design flaws to provide an opportunity for children to discover problem areas that contribute to pest infestations. The house’s interior was outfitted to indicate lifestyle practices that contribute to pest problems as well.

The highly detailed model house (Photo 1 & Photo 2) and its surrounding grounds measure 42 inches long by 37 inches wide by 30 inches high when the removable roof is in place. The size of the model accommodates several children gathering around it. When the roof is removed, the house can be opened to 180 degrees (Photo 3) for students to see interior details, including wall studs and crawl space (Photo 3), food left out in the kitchen and living room (Photo 4), even a non-housebroken puppy (Photo 5). The garage end (Photo 6) of the house was left unfinished to show construction details such as attic joists, French drains, footers (including the commonly occurring cracks that termites utilize for access to studs), exterior and interior walls with insulation and a wall void between the two (Photo 7). Exterior house details are numerous and include trees and shrubs planted too close to the house, a pile of firewood touching the side of the house, a water puddle under a leaky faucet (Photo 8), an overfilled trash can and a leak under the back porch (Photo 9).

To participate in both the IPM House activity and the Bug Survivor game, students are assigned to one of four pest teams: ants, termites, cockroaches, and flies. Each team is allowed to examine the house briefly at the beginning of the activity. Individual pest teams then return to the house to identify problem areas in and around the house that would encourage the presence of their particular pest. Each team member identifies a problem area, and the instructor places a red dot sticker on the problem. When each pest team finishes their inspection, the instructor discusses identified problem areas before the next team comes up for their turn.

If time permits, students are given an opportunity at the end of the activity to further explore the IPM house.

Bug Survivor Game

The Bug Survivor relay game was designed to reinforce the concept that all pests must find moisture, shelter, and food in order to survive. Over 50 photographs were taken of common sources of moisture, shelter, and food that ants, termites, cockroaches, and flies might find in and around a home. These photographs of survival items were placed in tubs (Photo 10) with each tub containing an entire set of survival items for all of the pests.

To play the game, students on each pest team are given a copy of their pest poster (#3 – 6) to familiarize themselves with the particular survival needs of their pest. The “head bug” for each team sends one team member at a time to their tub to find an example of a survival item (i.e., food, moisture or shelter). The items are selected in a particular order so that some of each of the survival requirements are obtained. As each student returns with a photograph, it is given to the head bug to place on the team panel (Photo 11) under the appropriate survival requirement heading.

When time runs out, the instructor discusses the items placed on each team’s panel.

Educational Outreach

The Exploring the IPM House curriculum is currently being delivered to South Carolina youth as a component of the Teaching Kids About the Environment (Teaching KATE) program. Teaching KATE emphasizes hands-on, scientifically-based activities to give children an opportunity to learn about natural resources and has the potential to reach over 4,500 children per year.

A resource manual (Photo 12) is provided to the classroom teachers of students participating in the Exploring the IPM House curriculum. In addition to containing a lesson plan for the IPM House and Bug Survivor activities, the manual includes 8X11 inch copies of the posters; fact sheets on ants, termites, cockroaches, flies and residential IPM; and an annotated listing of additional IPM educational web resources.

References

Anonymous. 2001. Pesticide Facts: Minimize water pollution from your yard. City of San Jose, California Environmental Services Department. http://www.ci.san-jose.ca.us/esd/pesticides.htm (Accessed 3-28-03.)

London, J. B. and Hill, N. L. 2000. Land Conversion in South Carolina: State Makes the Top 10 List. Jim Self Center on the Future, Clemson University. http://www.strom.clemson.edu/publications/london/conversion.pdf (Accessed 3-13-03.)


Questions or comments:
Amy Nichols
Associate Coordinator
IPM and
Sustainable Agriculture
Programs
Contact


Dr. Geoffrey Zehnder
Professor of Entomology & Coordinator
IPM and
Sustainable Agriculture
Programs
114 Long Hall, Box 340315
Clemson, SC 29634-0315
864 - 656 - 6644
Contact


Last revised:
8/4/2006


Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity employer.