ISEC Home Pest Management Program with Austin Habitat for Humanity 2010

ISEC Home Pest Management Program with Austin Habitat for Humanity 2010

Pest control in the home often involves using whatever chemical is handy or cheap. This is especially true of low income and elderly homeowners who may not have the educational background or experience to know about alternatives. Spraying chemical pesticides in the home may not be safe for the pesticide user and sometimes makes the pest problem worse instead of better. Numerous tactics can be used to prevent pests from becoming a problem within the home; and often all that is required is knowledge of pest identification and how to eliminate the requisites that allow pest populations to become established. The ISEC Home Pest Management Program teaches clientele to identify common household pests and to prevent potential pest problems in the home, usually without using pesticides. ISEC will help increase client awareness of IPM principles and concepts and reduce their exposure to pesticides by teaching them to utilize alternative and least toxic methods in tandem with proper disposal of leftover pesticides should pesticides be necessary. Use of these pest management tactics will result in a healthier and safer home environment for those who adopt the practices and reduce pesticide use. The ISEC program also stresses the importance of proper pesticide use and disposal which will help reduce the amount of pesticides entering water resources. Program effectiveness will be evaluated by surveys provided to program participants.

The ISEC Home Pest Management Program was provided to 34 partners of the Austin Habitat for Humanity Program. The program director translated the program into Spanish for non-English speakers. The program was well received with follow up questions about how to manage specific pests such as ants and cockroaches. Each family got to take home an “IPM kit” that includes information on 10 specific pests as well as tools such as steel wool, glue boards, caulk, etc. to allow families to utilize IPM strategies in lieu of pesticides.

April 2010 Results

Mean pre-test scores were 59% and the mean post-test scores were 81%, an increase of 22%. On the post-test, 73% of the class received a score of 80% or above, while 47% scored a 90% or above.

November 2010

Pre-test scores had a mean of 50% while post-test scores had a mean of 72%, an increase of 22%.  On the post-test, 50% of the class received a score of 80% or above while 28% scored a 90% or above and 17% scored a 100% on the post-test.

Wood Glen Community Wide Management Program 2010 Satisfaction Survey

Fire ants are a serious problem in urban neighborhoods, causing danger to humans and companion animals that share the habitat with the fire ants.  In Austin, TX, annual expenditures for fire ants in 1998 was approximately $3.16 million while medical costs associated with fire ants were approximately $21.61 million (Drees, 2000).  Riggs et al in 2002 showed that community wide fire ant management programs can help reduce fire ant populations and reduce pesticide costs for community residents.  Treating yards, greenbelts and common areas in communities can reduce or delay reinfestation of fire ants.

WoodGlen is a community in Round Rock, TX consisting of 525 homes spread over 224 acres.  In 2005, residents approached Texas AgriLife Extension Service to organize a community wide fire ant management program.  The community wide program has been ongoing since the spring of 2005.


1)  How many years have you participated in the community-wide fire ant management effort (program began in 2005- ongoing for 6 years)?

Mean of 5 years

2) How much were/ are you spending on fire ant management each year?

Before the implementation of the community-wide fire ant management effort

Mean of $31.50


After implementation of the community-wide fire ant management effort

Mean of $10.77*

*Mean savings of $20.73


3) What percentage of pesticide reduction do you feel you have made relating to treatment of fire ants since the implementation of the community-wide fire ant management effort?

Mean of 64% reduction in pesticides



This is a great service!

Keep it going.

Thank you for doing this!

I love your help.

It seems to manage the fire ants very well.

It is a wonderful being able to walk on my lawn without fear!

Thanks- now I can use my yard!

It does seem to have helped with fire ant control overall.  Worth continuing.

Thanks so much!

Haven’t seen any fire ants since the program began.

Thank you!

No problems since it started.


Literature Cited


Drees, Bastiaan M.  2000. The Economic Impact of the Red Imported Fire Ant on the

Homescape. Texas A&M University Publication.


Riggs, Nathan L., Lisa Lennon, Charles L. Barr, Bastiaan M. Drees, Scott Cummings,

and Curtis Lard. 2002. Community-Wide Red Imported Fire Ant

ManagementPrograms in Texas. Southwestern Entomologist. Suppl. No. 25:31-


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