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Training public housing staff about Integrated Pest Management in Southern California

The Issue

Public housing developments accommodate thousands of people in California. Although these multi-unit buildings provide a safe environment for residents, they are not necessarily fully protected. Structural pests are often a major problem in multi-unit housings, as many of these units become invaded by cockroaches, bed bugs, fleas, ants, and rodents. Cockroaches have shown to be a cause for asthma and severe allergies for people. Also, bed bugs feed on human blood causing pain and emotional distress. As such, the presence of these pests can significantly reduce the quality of life for residents. Classical pest control methods significantly rely on pesticide use which can negatively impact human health, cause pesticide resistance in pests, and cause surface water pollution. Integrated Pest Management (IPM), on the other hand, employs a combination of methods, which focuses on monitoring, habitat manipulation, and physical and chemical control to reduce pest population while minimizing negative health and environmental risks. Implementing IPM can be challenging which makes training an essential part of every IPM program.

What Has ANR Done?

Siavash Taravati, area IPM advisor at UC Cooperative Extension in Los Angeles County along with Dr. Deborah Young and Susannah Reese of the Northeastern IPM Center, conducted IPM training workshops for 90 people including housing managers, maintenance supervisors, and social workers in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. The training included information about biology and management of the most important pests in structures such as bed bugs, Argentine ants, and German cockroaches. Different control methods for each pest were reviewed and discussed. At the end of each session, attendees were asked to share their personal experiences with pest control issues and ask questions regarding particular pests and management methods.

The Payoff

Training helps attendees develop more efficient pest control practices

The training was well-received by the attendees and are currently helping them to improve pest control practices. With their new knowledge, these housing managers, supervisors, and social workers are now able to make informed decisions regarding their pest control policies, identify advantages and disadvantages of various pest management methods, and encourage effective changes to the current pest control plans at their sites.

Clientele Testimonial

“I have received very positive feedback, from staff and our partners, regarding the trainings. Thank you so much for the informative material. We appreciated your thorough knowledge of the topic and your engaging manner of presentation.” Anna Corbett, Director of Property Management, Peoples' Self-Help Housing (PSHH), San Luis Obispo, CA

“I wanted to let you know that the IPM training in April was very informative and helped our Company with implementing our IPM Program. I received positive feedback from all in attendance.” Mary Manzo, Portfolio Manager, PSHH, Santa Barbara, CA

“Thank you so much for the IPM training you did for our staff. The training itself was comprehensive, informative, and interactive. Our staff members are still talking about it, and have become very pro-active in dealing with pests at our properties.” Jane Renahan, Portfolio Manager, PSHH, San Luis Obispo, CA


Siavash Taravati, Ph.D., Area Integrated Pest Management Advisor, UCCE Los Angeles County
700 W. Main Street
Alhambra, CA 91801