BL, S Markowitz, M Rivera, H Romero, M Weeks, E Sanchez, E Deych,
A Garg, James Godbold, MS Wolff, PJ Landrigan and G Berkowitz. 2003.
Integrated pest management in an urban community—a
successful partnership for prevention. Environmental
Health Perspectives, on line 3 July 2003.
pest management reduces cockroach infestations effectively, and
it does it at equivalent or less economic cost than chemical spraying.
That's the conclusion of a research project carried out by Mt Sinai
Medical Center and two community health centers in East Harlem,
New York. After a 6-month intervention by IPM experts, treated homes
had reduced cockroach numbers by over half, whereas homes in a comparison
group without IPM treatment saw no decrease in infestations.
did they do? Brenner et al. carried out an experiment
comparing the effectiveness of two different approaches to reducing
cockroach infestations, IPM vs. a control group that received no
recruited to the experiment had recently received prenatal health
care at one of the participating health centers; upon recruitment
they were interviewed using a questionnare about a variety of socioeconomic
factors and chemical spraying history in the home.
During the experiment, residents in the control group made their
own choices about methods of combat cockroaches, including spraying.
Participants in the control group were given a basic "home
injury prevention intervention program" that consisted of one-on-one
instructions for preventing injuries, avoiding emergencies, selecting
a baby-sitter, etc.
the IPM group, IPM specialists trained residents to use standard
tools of integrated pest management: "education and instruction
in non-toxic IPM methods by the project health educator; instruction
in better housekeeping and sanitation and garbage removal practices;
repair services to seal cracks and crevices by a project handyman;
fixing plumbing leaks; least toxic supplies including zone monitors,
plastic bait stations and gel rather than pesticide sprays; expert
advice from pest control experts; and advocacy with building management
to introduce safe pest control practices."
to the onset of the interventions, the research team assessed the
level of cockroach infestations in each participating home. Levels
were then monitored for the duration of the procedure.
did they find? At the beginning of the study, three quarters
of the families in both the IPM and control homes reported cockroach
infestations. Approximately 60% of homes in both groups reported
pesticide use during the pregnancy that had brought the mothers
to the prenatal care units.
cockroach monitoring stations revealed cockroaches in 80% of the
homes of both groups at the onset of the study, with no difference
apparent between treatment and control.
months later, the homes using IPM had reduced cockroach levels by
over half, from 81% to 39% of households. A statistical analysis
by the research team indicates this change was highly unlikely to
be due to chance (p < 0.0001).
research team tracked the percentage of cockroach monitoring
stations that caught cockroaches over the duration of the
experiment. The graph on the right shows a clear decrease
over time. By the end of the experiment, over half the homes
using IPM the number trapped fell to zero.
dots show the median; black bars the inter-quartile range.
Adapted from Brenner et al.
contrast, no significant change was observe in the control group.
After 6 months, cockroach infestations had varied from 78% of units
monitored to 81%.
research team estimated the costs of the IPM treatments to be $46
to $69 per unit during the first year,and $24 per year after repairs
were made. According to a commercial company involved in cockroach
control, conventional treatment by spraying of chemicals would have
cost approximately $24-$46, but would not have involved repairs.
does it mean? Brenner et al. have clearly demonstrated
that IPM offers an affordable, effective approach to cockroach control
in urban dwellings, one that can be carried out with bringing hazardous
insecticides into the home.
of the units monitored were in multiple unit dwellings. Skeptics
of IPM had argued that this approach would only be viable, if at
all, if entire multi-unit buildings cooperated simultaneously. These
results show that people living within multi-unit buildings can
benefit from IPM practices even if the entire building has not implemented
authors note two key ingredients to the success of their program:
hands-on training and assigning a building handy man to the variety
of small repairs essential to effective IPM.