Indoor Pest Management at the University of Waterloo

Table of Contents

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Chapter 1


Watgreen is an organization at the University of Waterloo whose aim is to create a sustainable campus. Students, staff and faculty are all welcome to contribute their efforts to work on various environmental projects. Watgreen focuses on waste reduction, improving energy and water efficiency and encouraging student involvement. Information and expertise is readily accessible for any volunteers interested in being a part of the Watgreen team (Watgreen Pamphlet).

Click here to see the Watgreen Homepage

Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of this project was to evaluate the methods of indoor pest control at the University of Waterloo. This investigation included: the types of controls and the percentage used; locations requiring pest control; the frequency of control action; the human health implications; and the availability of pesticide information to staff, students and faculty. As well, our investigation included determining whether alternatives to chemical application are presently being considered and used. It was our plan to compile this information in order to evaluate the pest control program in terms of its sustainability.

Sustainability on Campus

"Sustainability is the persistence over an apparently indefinite future of certain necessary and desired characteristics of the socio-political system and its natural environment (Robinson et al, 1990, pg 44)."

According to our working definition, the socio-political system is an important part of sustainability on campus. By informing the public about the chemicals used and their side- effects, faculty, staff and students are given the opportunity to educate themselves about these chemicals. This is desirable in that it promotes the physical and mental well-being of those on campus. In order to acheive sustainability, it is necessary that everyone on campus have the freedom and access to information that may affect them.

In addition to the socio-political system, the natural environment is an important factor in the sustainability of the campus. As dangerous and largely unnatural elements, pesticides have an undesirable effect on the natural environment. Their use, therefore, is not sustainable. Unfortunately, application of these chemicals is perceived as a necessary part of effective pest control and the maintenance of a clean indoor environment. As an essential and desirable aspect of this natural environment, cleanliness must be upheld to ensure the optimum functioning of all areas and the health of all. In order to meet these conflicting demands of sustainability--freedom from indoor pests on one hand and freedom from the danger of pesticides on the other--the pesticides used should be biodegradable and have as little negative side effect on the environment and human health as possible.

Rationale for this Project

As stated above, the intent of this project is to assess the current situation regarding the sustainability of indoor pest control on campus. We feel that this evaluation is necessary, because it address an issue that has the potential to affect anyone at the University. Chemicals in any form are known to be harmful to human health, whether they are cleaning products or pesticides. As examples of what can happen if evaluation of indoor chemical use is not done, consider the following stories:

Examples of Pesticide Exposure:

In Canyon County, California, a young child named Kenny began experiencing chronic illness immediately after attending kindergarten. The family had been previously exposed to two harmful pesticides in their home: Dursban 50W and Safrotin (please note that Safrotin is used at the University of Waterloo). At that time, they had become ill. They were diagnosed and it was determined that these chemicals were the cause of their illnesses. Already having experienced pesticide effects, they suspected that this was again the cause of Kenny's illnesses. His symptoms included headaches, nausea, diarrhea, and frequent urination.

Upon further investigation it was found that Dursban 50W, along with other indoor pesticides were being applied in the school. Kenny's parents petitioned for change. Their efforts resulted in the banning of Dursban 50W and the limiting of all other indoor pesticide use. In their place, baits, crack and crevice applications, caulking, and sticky tape were utilized to reduce harmful exposure to the children. This programme's implementation also led to the elimination of the pest control contractor as the custodial unit in place was able to monitor and control all subsequent problems.

Kenny transferred to a local school which did not use chemicals. Kenny's illnesses disappeared and his health was restored (Riley, 1994; p. 2).

In Maryland, a worker within the pest control management business became ill in a way that caused some personal embarrassment. The man, Forbes, began drooling, his vision became blurry, and he experienced chronic stomach upset and diarrhea. These symptoms were directly linked to his cuntinued exposure to harmful pesticides. Forbes had become "sensitized" to these types of chemicals and upon entering a room applied with any pesticides, he would immediately become ill. To this day, he relies on anti-seizure medication to ensure his proper biological functioning.

Forbes' experience prompted several efforts to reduce the use of pesticides. In his immediate residence district, he campaigned in many schools, succeeding in reducing pest problems as well as the extensive costs incurred by employing pest contractors (Riley, 1994, Pg 3).

An ongoing study in California has followed an illness outbreak in 1992 at a casino hotel. The outbreak resulted from pesticide applications made to control a cockroach infestation. Workers experienced dizziness, weakness, nausea, memory loss, and tremors. Many workers developed an intolerance to pesticides and other solvents, suggesting multiple chemical sensitivities.

In the California study, applications of both Pyrethrins and Carbamates (two categories of pesticides) coincided with major outbreaks of illness. The predominant symptoms included headaches, numbness, nausea, palpatations, memory loss, shakiness, dizziness, fatigue, acute intoxication symptoms and depression. Excessive sweating and mucous membrane irritation were also experienced by some employees. Eleven cases acquired blue-yellow colour vision loss and three cases had complex colour vision loss. Sixty-three percent experienced sensitivity or intolerance to pesticides and other solvents (Cone and Sult, 199x. pg 29-39).

Although more tests need to be conducted, there is strong evidence to suggest that pesticides can have detrimental effects on human health.

These stories strongly suggest that there is a need for an in-depth study of chemical applications on our university campus. Proper use of chemicals on campus must occur to ensure the optimum health of students, staff and faculty. Communication is also of vital importance; information regarding the nature and quantitiy of chemicals used and their potential side-effects should be easily accessible to everyone on campus.

Focus of our Study

The University of Waterloo's pest management program was the subject of our investigation. In our study, we analyzed two major components of the program: the actual flow of chemical pesticides and their impact on campus, and the level of communication between all parties involved in the program. The boundaries set for our investigation were those of the University campus within Ring Road. We realize that environmental implications do not end at arbitrarily defined geographical boundaries, but a boundary had to be set in order to narrow our focus to manageable levels.

Key Questions for our Study

The overall purpose of the pest management program at the University of Waterloo is to control the pests present in our university buildings in a safe and effective manner. In our investigation we have evaluated the effectiveness of this program. We have also evaluated its possible negative impacts on the students, staff and faculty. Communication on campus was also analyzed. It was evaluated as to whether the appropriate safety information is effectively communicated to people exposed to potential harm from the pest control measures.

The investigation which we undertook can be summed up in three main questions:

From these three main questions, we developed an investigation plan which included a web of more specific questions. These specialized questions helped us to analyze the pest management program on campus. Figure 1 illustrates our investigation plan.

What is being done on campus to control indoor pests?

What is the pest situation on campus?

Is the information of pesticide use on campus made readily available?

As we pieced together the answers to these questions, we obtained a better understanding of the pest problem on campus and the methods used to control it. In doing so, we have attempted to determine whether the most appropriate measures are being taken or if there are problems with the pest control program.


Common Pest Problems on Campus

There are many problems on campus which involve pests. One of the main problems is the presence of cockroaches in food services areas. Cockroaches are problematic in that they transport Salmonella bacteria, and as such, their presence in food services areas is extremely undesirable. Fly larva (maggots) are also found indoors on campus. Maggots are difficult to control due to the fact that flies are so common, but they create an unhealthy environment for students, faculty and staff. Squirrels and skunks as well have been found inside buildings. They can destroy cable telephone and computer wiring systems. They can also damage building structure and penetrate composting systems. Bees must also be eliminated indoors on campus due to the high sensitivity of people with allergic reactions. Severe cases could result in serious injury and lawsuits against the University.

Click here to read descriptions of pests typical of our areas of study in the Appendices

The Key Actors

The fact that there are pests indoors on campus which cause problems implies that there will also be people involved in the elimination of pests, attempting to solve the problems. The key actors in the pest control program are the University of Waterloo department of plant operations; the University of Waterloo purchasing department; the two pest control companies hired by the university; and the students, staff and faculty. All of these key actors wish to have an effective pest control program at the University but have varying degrees of involvement and investment concerning pest management.

Pest Management System at the University of Waterloo

There are two systems which make up the pest control program at the University of Waterloo: a proactive system and a reactive system. The university hires two separate companies to do pest management on campus: PCO and Safeway. PCO is responsible for the food services areas, and operates within the proactive system. They monitor these food services areas on a monthy basis under a contract delivered by the purchasing department. They make regular visits to the University and apply chemicals preventatively at each visit. Safeway pest control company is responsible for the pest problems which arise spontaneously on campus. In light of this, we see them operating within the reactive system. Together, PCO and Safeway are alloted a total of 10 000 dollars per year by the purchasing department. PCO receives approximately $3 000 while Safeway receives $7 000.

Chemical Pesticide Flows On Campus

Figures 2 and 3 respectively are diagrams of the proactive and reactive systems of pest control on the UW campus. (Click here to see the figures: Figure 2: The Proactive System of Pest Control and Figure 3: The Reactive System of Pest Control) The components which make up these systems include: the pests; the university's purchasing department; the pest control companies (PCO and Safeway) which manage the pest problems; the pest control measures which may include the application of chemicals; the university's plant operations department; the nature of the chemicals and the impact of these chemicals on human health and the environment.

The Proactive Pest Control System on Campus

PCO Pest Control Company

Click here to return to the description of the Chemical Pesticide Flows on Campus

The purchasing department has tenured PCO on contract for the university. PCO is hired to monitor pest activity on a monthly basis. In this light, PCO is proactive. Every month, PCO visits the campus and looks for pest problems. Monitors are set in place and PCO applies chemicals if there is a problem. If no problem is apparent, then PCO makes only written and verbal recommendations to the department of food services. Recommendations generally include suggestions for better sanitation and cleanliness.

PCO has been employed by the University of Waterloo since 1990. The tactic this company takes is called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM does not prohibit the use of all pesticides but requires that pest prevention methods be taken. IPM investigates the causes behind pest infestations, attempting to resolve the underlying problems. This is a positive change in thinking; old pest management systems addressed the problem superficially, focusing on the pests themselves while not examining the reasons for their presence (Riley, 1994, Pg 2). PCO works not just for the University, but with them in order to achieve a pest-free campus. PCO educates the University about preventative measures such as good sanitation, thereby involving the University in the task of pest control.

Key words that the PCO representative Mark Newman used were "controls" and "monitors". Controls are what they use to eliminate the pests. These come in forms of powders and pastes, and not in sprays as commonly assumed. Monitors are set out by PCO in order to accurately address the pest problem. These monitors are placed in perimeter areas where the common passerby would not notice them. They include such things as pieces of paper coated with glue and scented baits. Where the most human traffic exists, the fewest pests exist, and these monitors are placed accordingly. They are put in cafeterias, near sinks or other damp areas, and where most food spillage may occur. Using these tools, the insects causing problems and the frequency of their occurrence can be identified. In this way, PCO monitors: the bookstore, all food service areas including the Villages, the Davis Center, South Campus Hall, Campus Center, Fed Hall, the Grad House, and the residences of Minota Hagey.

The areas posing the most problems are the food services locations. Central storage and central preparation areas usually distribute the food throughout the campus. Cockroaches travel easily with this distribution and can pose great sanitation risks. In the fall, mice enter the buildings seeking warmth and are generally attracted to areas with a constant food supply.

PCO commonly uses the following chemicals:

Click here to read the health effects of these chemicals in the Appendices

PCO claims that it is currently investigating alternative compounds which leave little environmental effects. Such investigations include examinations of Boric Acid and Diatomecious Earth. Boric Acid is a natural compound which enters an insect's system and shuts it down. Diatomecious Earth is a natural compound which lasts forever. It works by slitting the bellies of insects, causing them to dry out and die. Recently, this has been used in the actual construction of buildings to prevent pest problems from starting.

Utilizing the "Integrated" approach, PCO offers advice to the campus to help prevent further pest problems. In food preparation areas, stainless steel surfaces are encouraged as opposed to wood which is porous and can crack. Porous surfaces can potentially harbour food particles which attract pests. In food preparation areas, people are encouraged to eliminate excess moisture and clean up drain problems. Clean-up protocols have also been created to ensure standardized procedures. One example of this is in garbage areas, where standardized clean-up procedures (i.e. hosing down) have been put in place to prevent rodent appearances. Composts have also been addressed to help avoid unwanted squirrel, skunk and rodent penetration. Wood and plastic composts are discouraged in favour of impenetrable wire mesh. Composts have also been removed from locations directly adacent to buildings.

The Reactive Pest Control System on Campus

When pest problems spontaneously arise on campus, the Plant Operations department is first contacted. If this department cannot deal with the problem, Safeway Pest Control Company is called. In this context, both the Plant Operations department and Safeway are reactive as they deal with pest problems when they are presented.

Click here to return to the description of the Chemical Pesticide Flows on Campus

Perceived problems are noted by faculty, staff and students. If insects or rodents are spotted indoors, the department of Plant Operations is called. If the problem is an outdoor problem, such as skunks or bees, the Grounds department is contacted. For indoor problems, Custodial services are contacted. The department of Plant Operations attempts to deal with the problem by cleaning thoroughly. If the problem persists, the Purchasing department is then notified. The Purchasing department then calls Safeway Pest Control who use chemical pesticides to eliminate the pest problem.

The Department of Plant Operations

The department of Plant Operations is responsible for all maintenance on campus (plumbing, heating, water supply, and any new renovations), Grounds (lawn care, pesticide and herbicide applications) and Custodial service (indoor cleaning of all buildings on campus). They are also key actors in pest management. The department of Plant Operations is the University's first line of defence when a pest problem is reported. All outdoor problems are directed to grounds while indoor problems are reported to Custodial services. Both the Grounds department and Custodial services attempt to eliminate the pest problems without the aid of the pest control companies; in most cases they are successful. Indoor problems are usually the result of poor housekeeping. Custodial services reacts to pest problems such as cockroaches and mice by doing a thorough cleaning in the problematic area. Usually this is sufficient and the problem is eliminated. If cleaning is insufficient, then "over-the-counter" chemicals, such as Raid, Green Cross, mouse bait or live traps are used.

Safeway Pest Control Company

Safeway Pest Control Company is tenured by the Purchasing department. Safeway is reponsible for the students' residence and for spontaneous problems which arise on campus with the exception of food services. Safeway is contacted by purchasing for problems that can not be resolved by the Plant Operations department. This contact is minimal as Plant Operations is usually successful. For this reason, Safeway is not a key actor in pest management within Ring Road although they are the preferred choice of the Purchasing department.

The chemicals which Safeway uses to control pests on campus include:

Click here to read the health effects of these chemicals in the Appendices

Common Pesticides and their Mode of Application

An important consideration in the use of pesticides indoors is their mode of application. The likelihood of negative health effects is much greater when a pesticide is sprayed aerially rather than applied directly as a solid or a paste. In considering toxicity, it is also important to examine the chemical nature of a pesticide in terms of its persistence in the environment as well as its toxic effects on humans. Unfortunately, we were unable to acquire specific information regarding the application methods used for chemical pesticides on the University of Waterloo campus. What we have listed here are some examples of pesticides used at the University of Waterloo and the ways in which they are commonly applied in situations elsewhere.

Organochlorines are the most common pesticides. These include DDT, BHC, Dieldrin, Lindane, Aldrin, Chlordane, and others. Organochlorines are very stable, not reacting with water, and therefore do not break down easily in the environment. They tend to produce harmful effects on humans, including apprehension, excitability, dizziness, weakness, numbness, tingling, headache, nausea, tremors, stomach pains, disorientation, muscle twitching, convulsions, later breathing difficulties and coma (Watterson, 1988). When they are absorbed dermally, the first signs are often apprehension, twitching, tremors and convulsions. These chemicals are not used indoors at the University of Waterloo.

Organophosphates, such as Malathion, Fenitrothion, Diazinon, and Azodrin, are less stable. They react with water and break down more quickly in the environment. Because of their degradable nature, they are attractive and used more widely than organochlorines in the control of pests. When used regularly, however, organophosphates can produce long-term chronic effects such as headaches. Diazinon in particular is used widely and often regularly indoors. It should be used more sparingly, only when regular controls fail (Woodley, 1995).

Often natural insecticides are attractive for use because of the perception that natural means safe. Pyrethrins are an example of a natural pesticide which is commonly used for the control of pests indoors. Humans are, however, negatively affected by pyrethrins--people with asthma or allergies often react violently to them. The greatest problem with pyrethrins, however, lies in their mode of application. They are often applied by "fogging"--the spraying of an entire room with a "fog" of the insecticide. Such a method is inefficient since it does not target problem areas such as baseboards and crevices, but instead exposes the entire room to the harmful chemical (Woodley, 1995). Symptoms of exposure include: stinging skin, tremors, convulsions, decreased blood pressure, and laboured breathing. If chronically exposed, weight loss, inflammation of the kidneys, vomiting, and diarrhea can occur. These pyrethrins can mislead the common public who may believe that a natural origin implies safety. They can, however, still produce the above mentioned side-effects and should be examined and analysed completely before reliance on their safety is appropriate (Cox, 1994. pg28).

Bromadiolone is a highly toxic chemical pesticide. Despite its high toxicity, however, it is considered a safer alternative, since it is often applied as a solid wax block. It is highly toxic if ingested, but is safe to touch and does not vapourize. The likelihood of ingestion is very low and thus Bromadiolone is seen as a safer means of pest control (Woodley, 1995).

The Communication System Involved with Pest Management

The second larger system involved in the pest management program at the University of Waterloo is the communication network established between all the actors. This system is of primary importance to our study. Clear communication between all actors involved is necessary for sustainability on campus. Although not legally required, it is vital to a sustainable campus that all the pertinant safety information is readily accessible to all staff, students and faculty. Figure 4 depicts the links of communication at the University of Waterloo that pertain to the indoor pest control program.

Regional policies and regulations set by the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ontario Pesticide Act and by Occupational Health and Safety are the highest in the hierarchy. They form the rules that the purchasing department must adhere to in managing pests on campus. Regional policies also place restrictions on the pest control companies as to the types of chemicals they may use, how often they are applied, and what precautions must be abided by in application procedures.

Pest control companies are required by law to provide material safety data sheets (MSDS) to the University. MSDSs contain the name of the chemicals used, toxic effects, precautions that must be taken before application, and disposal methods. These sheets are required so that the University is aware of the type and effects of chemicals used on campus. Furthermore, a service confirmation sheet is required by the pest control companies every time chemicals are applied. PCO completes these sheets on a monthly basis, while Safeway completes them when problems arise. A service confirmation sheet gives a description and concentration of chemicals used, the area of application, an identification of the pests twards which the controls were applied, and future recommendations from the pest control companies. The cost, signature of application, and date are found at the bottom of these sheets.

The MSDSs are given to the Purchasing department upon hiring of the pest control company and are updated regularly. The service confirmation sheets are delivered to the Purchasing department mainly for billing costs.

Although there is some essential communication taking place, there is a definite problem in that this communication stops when it reaches the Purchasing department. Because pest control companies are not required by law to post warnings or explanations before or after applying chemicals, students, faculty and staff are not given this information when the pest control measures are being carried out. People are not made aware of the chemicals they are exposed to and are not given the opportunity to avoid contact.

Chapter 3

Pest Control Regulations

Because pesticides are hazardous chemicals, it is important that there be regulations in place which regulate their use. At the University of Waterloo, the Purchasing department operates under a list of guidelines which have been set by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of the Environment. These guidelines are given to the pest control companies when they are contracted. The regulations include:

  1. Licensing and Regulations:
  2. Materials:
  3. Description of Work:

    Regardless of pest type or cockroaches the following areas shall be treated at each visit for pest control:

Pest control "program" refers to application of these areas on a monthly basis. A signature must be obtained from each individual area treated. A monthly report must be submitted to both the user department representative and the purchasing department.

The Pest Control Products Act

The Pest Control Products Act governs all pest control substances. This act an ensure or exempt products from registration depending on specifications. Certain products cannot be exempt from registration; namely, 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid or any live organisms.

In this act, there are many regulations regarding the proper labelling, use, and make-up of various chemicals. All of these must be adhered to and Ministry-appointed inspectors have the ultimate right to investigate and ensure that these processes are meeting established requirements. Labels designating differences between "restricted" and "domestic", directions, dosage rates, timing of application and use limitations, hazards (to plants, animals, and the environment), first aid, and toxicological information must be clearly shown. All of the above must be communicated by the manufacturer to the distributer and user ("The Pest Control Products Act", 1988). Posting information to inform people of pesticide application is not required by the Pesticide Act even directly after the application of pesticides. In fact, public accessibility and rights are not provided for at all by this act.


The Workplace Hazardous Material Information System (WHMIS) was put into effect on October 31, 1988. WHMIS's purpose was to give workers the right to know about hazardous materials used in their workplace. The federal government has passed the WHMIS act under Bill C-70. This bill applies to all federal agencies. Ontario has further passed Bill B-79 which applies WHMIS regulations to all non-federal workplaces. Ontario is the only province to implement WHMIS beyond federal regulations to date (Occupational Health and Safety Education Authority, 1989, p.2).

WHMIS works with suppliers of hazardous material in order to establish rules for classifying hazardous substances. WHMIS further allows manufacturers to protect their trade secrets but requires that the chemicals they supply do not endanger the health or safety of workers. Fundamentally, WHMIS believes that workers have a right to know about chemicals they are being exposed to (Occupational Health and Safety Education Authority, 1989, p.1).

Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs)

MSDSs are documents which contain: hazardous ingredients; preparation information (what needs to be done before the application of chemicals); product information; properties of the material (physical state, smell and appearance); fire or explosion hazard; reactivity data; toxicology properties; preventative measures; and first aid measures (Occupational Health and Safety Education Authority, 1989, p.8).

MSDSs are a mandatory part of the WHMIS act, and are required for all controlled products which are used or produced in the workplace. They must be up to date and readily available to all employees (Construction Safety Association of Ontario, 1989, p.13).

MSDSs are not required, however, where the controlled product is exempt from the WHMIS act. Indoor pesticides are regulated by the Ontario Pesticide Act and are not subject to WHMIS. Therefore, WHMIS MSDSs are not required for indoor pesticides. The Ontario Pesticide Act, however, though it does not mention MSDSs, makes certain requirements of the indoor pesticides in terms of their labelling (Construction Safety Association of Ontario, 1989, p.10).

At the University of Waterloo, Safeway and P.C.O. both supply MSDSs, though they differ from the official WHMIS version. These information sheets, however, are not readily available to staff or students.

Chapter 4

Proposed System of Communication

As members of "Greening the Campus" and as full-time students at the University of Waterloo, we are concerned about the gaps which we have found in the current communication system. We are concerned that information regarding the indoor application of pesticides on campus is not made available to the public. We feel that posting before and after any pesticide application and the availability of MSDSs to faculty and students are essential parts of sustainability on campus.

The chemicals used by Safeway and P.C.O. are toxic and do cause ill side effects as mentioned previously and found in case studies. We propose a new system that would enhance sustainability on campus.

The system illustrated in figure 5 proposes ideal management of pesticides on campus. The WHMIS act connected in the figure by a broken arrow is incorporated into this system, not as a legal labelling act but as a borrowed example of fundamental rights recognized by WHMIS. WHMIS believes, as we do, that the staff and students have a right to know of the chemicals used and their effects to one's health. Currently, pest control companies are not required by law to post warning signs before, during, or after chemical application. Although we are not able to amend the WHMIS act, purchasing is able to amend their contract with hired pest companies. This would require both Safeway and P.C.O. to post a warning of any chemicals applied to an area. If students and staff would like more detailed information of the chemicals applied, MSDSs would be readily available at Health and Safety. This system allows those who enter an area the choice to exit if they wish. Available information would allow for increased education about the chemicals applied on campus. Everyone at the University of Waterloo has a right to know what they are being exposed to. An informed public will enhance the sustainability of our campus.

Figure 6 illustrates a suggested sign that could be used to alert faculty, staff and students of the chemical applications on campus. Such a sign could be displayed during the treatment of an area as well as for a specific period after. Such notices should be posted in highly visible locations such as entrance ways, to ensure that people entering the room will take notice of it. These signs inform the students that pest control measures have been taken, and yet does not include specific, detailed information about the chemicals used. Thinking realistically, we agree that a detailed sign may deter customers from using a food services area. This sign merely alerts people to the situation and informs them of a location and telephone number at which more information can be immediately obtained.

A reasonable place from which this information could be obtained is Health and Safety. Health and Safety should keep a complete record of all chemicals used regularly on campus and should receive specific notices at the time of chemical application. They should also be equipped with detailed information on the nature of the chemicals, their possible health effects and all pertinent safety information.

Conclusions and Recommendations

We applaud the efforts of the Plant Operations department in their initial response to pest problems. We agree that cleanliness is of the upmost importance. Maintaining a clean environment helps to reduce the pest problem before it arises, thereby reducing the need to use chemical pesticides. This tactic is recognized and encouraged.

Only once all preventative measures such as cleaning, caulking, proper food preparation and storage, and baits are utilized do we accept the use of chemical pesticides. Ideally we hope that the chemicals used are those with the least harmful side effects. Further, we hope that naturally occuring chemicals are used primarily due to their biodegradable nature. Due to the lack of available information on the methods of pesticide application at the university, we are unable to make specific recommendations about pesticides on campus. It is our hope that aerial spraying or fogging of pesticides be avoided at all costs, and instead be replaced with solid or paste forms, or with direct application of sprays to problem areas.

Although legislation does not enforce the posting of pesticide use in public areas, the Purchasing department could take steps to ensure that this is done. Through amendments to the pest control company's contract, postings could be assured. The posting requirement should include specification for a telephone number which could be called in order to obtain further information if desired.

Although postings would not be desirable for food services areas on campus, we feel that perhaps it would encourage the use of preventative sanitation measures in these areas in order to prevent pest problems in the first place. The occurance of pests may be decreased, thereby reducing the need to use chemicals significantly.

We feel that MSDSs should be readily available for all students, staff, and faculty. This information should be available at one centralized location, and should include all chemicals used, their compounds and their potential effects.


Key Contact People

Our key contacts for our investigation are as follows:


Description of Pests Typical for our Areas of Study

The areas which tend have the greatest problem with pests include the libraries and the food services areas. Following, we describe briefly the common pests of these areas.


German Cockroach

The most popular pest that frequents the libraries is the german cockroach. This pest is a small insect of 10 to 15 mm in length and is yellowish-brown in colour. The life span of an adult is 125 to 150 days and there can be two or three generations of these insects per year. The german cockroach tends to breed in moist and warm environments, and can be found in glue for binding books, human food stores, briefcases and stores of paper. They prefer damp environments and they normally lurk around in the dark. The german cockroach is a concern for humans because it is a carrier of the bacteria Salmonella which is responsible for some types of food poisoning.


The next most popular pest found in libraries are booklice or psocids. They are small, pale yellow insects of less than 2mm in length. They tend to breed in damp, moist areas, feeding on the molds and fungi which may grow there. Old books are often infested with these types of pests if they have been allowed to become damp and have a distinctive musty odour. Booklice do not bite nor are their known carriers of human infections, but they are a nuisance and should be controlled.


Silverfish are another pest problem typically found in libraries. They are slender, wingless, scale- covered insects of approximately 13mm in length. A silverfish can survive for more than 300 days without food. Silverfish breed in warm, secluded places, often near radiators and heat pipes. They damage glazed paper and glues or pasted materials such as bookbindings and wallpaper. They eat bonding glue in wood-processing plants and damage many types of fibres.


Finally, springtails are a group of very small wingless insects ranging from 1 to 2 mm in length. They also tend to breed in damp environments, where algae, fungi and decaying organic matter is available (i.e. old food left behind). Their damage is minimal, but they are unhealthy and unsanitary.

Food Services

American Cockroach

The american cockroach is found very often in food areas. It is the largest of the common cockroaches, being 30 to 40 mm in length. It can fly but flight is rare and sluggish. Their lifespan can be up to two years. The american cockroach prefers to breed in warm, moist areas, and is often found on surfaces where food is stored or prepared, in areas where water is abundant and near hot water pipes. The american cockroach, like its german counterpart, is a carrier of Salmonella, and is thereby a major health hazard.

Fruit/Drain Flies

These pests are fairly common around restaurants, kitchens and grocery stores. They are typically 1 to 2 mm long and have wings. Their lifespan is normally up to three months. They breed in warm, moist environments where there is a supply of decaying fruit or vegetable matter, or in areas that contain large amounts of sugar or starch. The fruit and drain fly is harmless but is very unsanitary according to health laws and regulations.

Health Effects of Chemicals

  1. Diazinon
  2. Ficam (spray)--Pyrethrins
  3. Bromadiolone
  4. Boric Acid
  5. Boradust Insecticide
  6. Diphacinone 0.005%