ISEC Home Pest Management Program

Developed by Molly Keck, IPM Program Specialist, Bexar County AgriLife Extension

RELEVANCE:  Most homeowners are not aware of “Integrated Pest Management” (IPM) and rely on misinformation or utilize hazardous chemicals when a pest problem emerges.  The ISEC Home Pest Management Program utilizes four common-sense steps of IPM to teach homeowners how to prevent rather than react to pest problems.  IPM is a holistic approach to pest management, which should reduce pesticide use, provide economic savings, and protect environment and human health (Ehler 2006), and should be encouraged in homes, a goal that the ISEC program aims to reach. ISEC also encompasses four major keystones of IPM: maintenance, sanitation, education, and training (Brenner et al. 2003).

Due to lack of educational about IPM, many individuals utilize only chemicals to combat pest problems, which can lead to personal exposure and reduced environmental health.  The ISEC Home Pest Management program encourages education, sanitation, exclusion and non-chemical control practices, all of which are IPM practices and essential for a successful pest management program.  A study in which an IPM structural program was evaluated, Green and Breish (2002) found that IPM implementation resulted in reduced pesticide applications and an overall decrease in major urban pests as opposed to the use of pesticides alone.  Therefore, integrated pest management is necessary for successful pest control in urban areas.

The major goals of the ISEC Home Pest Management Program are to increase awareness of IPM, decrease pesticide use in homes, and improve sanitation and exclusion practices to decrease pest problems.



RESPONSE:  A total of 15 educational programs were given to 267 individuals during 2010.  In addition, an ISEC display, illustrating various ways to “pest proof” the house using sanitation and exclusion practices was constructed at the San Antonio Livestock Exposition.  500,004 individuals entered the building in which the ISEC display was positioned during the 18 rodeo.  The following activities were developed to address this issue:

  • Habitat for Humanity New Homeowner Trainings (February, April, June, August, October 2010)
  • ISEC Pantry Pest Educational Programs (January, October, December 2010)
  • San Antonio Livestock Exposition ISEC Display (February 2010)










A retrospective post evaluation was mailed to participants of the ISEC Home Pest Management Program approximately one month after the participating in the program.  This evaluation measured changes in behavior and adoption of IPM practices.


Table 1. Responses from retrospective post evaluation

  Statement Percent Response
1 Inspect and repair sites where pest can enter


2 Store dried food in pest-proof containers


3 Prune trees and shrubs away from the home


4 Dispose of leftover pesticides properly


5 Do not leave dirty dishes in the sink



All of the results of the retrospective post evaluation show an increase in changes in behavior related to the use of Integrated Pest Management, including increased sanitation and exclusion practices in and outside the home.


Participants of the Habitat for Humanity Home Pest Management Training were asked if they reduced their overall pesticide use in the home as a result of the program.  86% indicated they have reduced their pesticide use by an estimated average of 42.5%. This is important since it indicates that the principles of IPM are being used, and human, environmental, and ecological health is being improved.


Participants of the ISEC Pantry Pests Training were asked if they have saved money by not having to throw away food or purchasing pesticides.  92% indicated they have experienced economic savings by an estimated average $32.60, with estimates ranging from $6-175.













For more information on this program or others like it, please contact Molly Keck at Bexar County Texas AgriLife Extension (210)467-6575 or

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