Integrated Pest Management Educator Pilot Project
  Key Words  
  German cockroach, public housing, IPM Educator
  Don Rivard, H. Patricia Hynes, Carrie Condon, Daniel R. Brooks and Jim Mccarthy
  German cockroach is the most common pest of urban, low-income housing and is associated with high pesticide use by residents. Cockroach allergen is implicated in asthma exacerbation and initiation and in the growing social and medical aspects of the disease. A safe and secure home environment is an environmental justice issue, and environmentally sound and effective models of cockroach control are needed in public and low- income multifamily housing. One model that offers potential is the integrated pest management (IPM) peer educator model (IPM Educator) in public housing as a component of IPM. A pre-post-analysis of an IPM Educator pilot program in Boston public housing was undertaken. Thirty-four moderate- to high-infested units received baseline assessment and three applications of gel baits and IPM treatment by a pest control operator. Before the fi rst pest control application, residents received written notice to prepare their units for treatment. Before the second and third treatments, an IPM Educator instructed residents in basic pest biology and habits, preparation for treatment, and the role of sanitation in pest control. Results showed a significant improvement in rate of preparation for pest control treatment after the IPM Educator intervention when compared with the preparation rate before the education intervention, and a significant reduction in cockroach populations by the third visit in units that were prepared and had improved sanitation. The IPM peer educator is a low-cost model of educating and engaging residents of low- income, multi-family housing. It is also a potential source of professional training and jobs for public housing and other low-income housing residents.