Elements of a successful IPM program: A case study from the Boston Housing Authority

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IPM in Boston Housing Authority. Largest housing authority in New EnglandLargest property owner in Boston10% of residents in BHA subsidized housing. Integrated Pest Management Principles. Identify pest problems through monitoring and information. Block entry.Remove food, water and shelter.Use low-toxicity, low-risk pesticides only as needed.Tenant education/behavior change..

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Elements of a successful IPM program: A case study from the Boston Housing Authority

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1. Elements of a successful IPM program: A case study from the Boston Housing Authority Presented by the Boston Housing Authority - Gail Livingston, John Kane and Lori Luce Gail will start the presentation.Gail will start the presentation.

2. GailGail

3. Integrated Pest Management Principles Identify pest problems through monitoring and information. Block entry. Remove food, water and shelter. Use low-toxicity, low-risk pesticides only as needed. Tenant education/behavior change. Lori IPM is a commonsense approach that identifies the root of the pest problem and then prescribes the most appropriate treatment.  Unlike traditional pest management, which focuses on killing the pests, IPM addresses the cause of infestation, and focuses on preventing pest problems rather than reacting to them. Identify……, Using well placed sticky traps and monitoring the numbers of pests found over time will give you a clear idea of the extent of your pest problem and if your efforts are succeeding. Always identify the pest or pests you have before any treatment is prescribed. Block……Closing up cracks, crevices and holes will eliminate movement of pests from room to room and apartment to apartment. Remove……Pests are just like us. They need food, water and a place to live to be successful. Use low…….Treatment is the last resort in an effective IPM program. Pesticides are never used where there is no visible infestation. Tenant…..Education is a key component for residents and staff.Lori IPM is a commonsense approach that identifies the root of the pest problem and then prescribes the most appropriate treatment.  Unlike traditional pest management, which focuses on killing the pests, IPM addresses the cause of infestation, and focuses on preventing pest problems rather than reacting to them. Identify……, Using well placed sticky traps and monitoring the numbers of pests found over time will give you a clear idea of the extent of your pest problem and if your efforts are succeeding. Always identify the pest or pests you have before any treatment is prescribed. Block……Closing up cracks, crevices and holes will eliminate movement of pests from room to room and apartment to apartment. Remove……Pests are just like us. They need food, water and a place to live to be successful. Use low…….Treatment is the last resort in an effective IPM program. Pesticides are never used where there is no visible infestation. Tenant…..Education is a key component for residents and staff.

4. Evolution of Pest Control at BHA 1980’s Bug Crew 1993 Switch to gels and baits 1995 Outside contractors “Flushouts” 2001 Community Meeting 2002-05: Pest Wars Lori 1980: BHA had a bug crew that was comprised of employees that were licensed pesticide applicators. They performed all of the extermination procedures throughout the portfolio. We used sprays, fogging bombs, dusting machines and rodenticides. These chemicals were generally strong smelling and would leave a residue and were often toxic to humans and pets. Around 1993: we switched to the low-toxicity, low-risk pesticides in the form of baits and gels. Our residents were skeptical because they didn’t have any odor which they were used to with the old pesticides and also the new pesticides, also attracted the pests so it appeared there were more or, as many tenants said, we were making them multiply. It was definitely a long learning curve for tenants and management. In 1995 we disbanded the bug crew and assigned the pesticide applicators to individual developments. We started using contractors for our pest control but still used the staff. In 2001, our administrator attended a community meeting and was told that beside crime, pests were the biggest problem in public housing and caused the most stress for our residents. She knew then that we had to find a better way so in 2002, we started the campaign we called “Pest Wars”. That is when IPM was introduced to the BHA and we started to adopt some of it’s principals.Lori 1980: BHA had a bug crew that was comprised of employees that were licensed pesticide applicators. They performed all of the extermination procedures throughout the portfolio. We used sprays, fogging bombs, dusting machines and rodenticides. These chemicals were generally strong smelling and would leave a residue and were often toxic to humans and pets. Around 1993: we switched to the low-toxicity, low-risk pesticides in the form of baits and gels. Our residents were skeptical because they didn’t have any odor which they were used to with the old pesticides and also the new pesticides, also attracted the pests so it appeared there were more or, as many tenants said, we were making them multiply. It was definitely a long learning curve for tenants and management. In 1995 we disbanded the bug crew and assigned the pesticide applicators to individual developments. We started using contractors for our pest control but still used the staff. In 2001, our administrator attended a community meeting and was told that beside crime, pests were the biggest problem in public housing and caused the most stress for our residents. She knew then that we had to find a better way so in 2002, we started the campaign we called “Pest Wars”. That is when IPM was introduced to the BHA and we started to adopt some of it’s principals.

5. IPM in Boston Housing Authority Flushout Awarded contract based on price only. IPM Award contract based on: Meeting minimum requirements Past performance Quality of the IPM plan proposed Commitment to perform as a partner at a high level The quotation provided Lori The next couple of slides will make a comparison of some of the key components of a flushout which is the way we used to address pest problems and how we do it now with an IPM program. Minimum requirements include showing evidence that the contractor has had at least 5 years experience in the pest control field and that they can provide IPM services. The cost is the last thing we compare. Lori The next couple of slides will make a comparison of some of the key components of a flushout which is the way we used to address pest problems and how we do it now with an IPM program. Minimum requirements include showing evidence that the contractor has had at least 5 years experience in the pest control field and that they can provide IPM services. The cost is the last thing we compare.

6. IPM in Boston Housing Authority Flushout Treat all apartments No preparation required with the use of gels Treat 1000 units in 4 day flushout Notify residents but did not access all apartments. IPM Only treat apartments that have visual signs of infestation. Require preparation for initial inspection Inspect 20-25 units/day: 8 weeks to complete inspection Monitor infestation levels using monitoring traps Notify residents and committed to entering all apartments. Lori Preparation includes removal of all belongings from kitchen cabinets, closets, bureau drawers, etc. This needs to be done so the contractor can visually see if there is an infestation and the level of that infestation (clutter hides a lot). Also, the tenants who have hoarding or clutter issues will tend to clean up and get rid of some of their belongings rather than pack them all away. Monitoring infestation levels during the contract period will show where the pests are in the apartment and when the levels have decreased to the point that pesticides are no longer needed. Lori Preparation includes removal of all belongings from kitchen cabinets, closets, bureau drawers, etc. This needs to be done so the contractor can visually see if there is an infestation and the level of that infestation (clutter hides a lot). Also, the tenants who have hoarding or clutter issues will tend to clean up and get rid of some of their belongings rather than pack them all away. Monitoring infestation levels during the contract period will show where the pests are in the apartment and when the levels have decreased to the point that pesticides are no longer needed.

7. IPM in Boston Housing Authority Flushout None or very little tenant education IPM Extensive tenant education in many forms: Initial meeting describes procedure and preparation instructions Hardcopy instructions and tip sheets are distributed to residents The contractor is required to provide education to the tenants about conditions or behaviors that are contributing to the infestation. Tenant coordinators are trained to provide education, too. Lori It is suggested that if your population is diverse such as ours that you get your printed education material translated into several of the most common languages spoken. We also have a footnote that we put on all communication that says in seven languages – “This is an important notice. Please have it translated.”Lori It is suggested that if your population is diverse such as ours that you get your printed education material translated into several of the most common languages spoken. We also have a footnote that we put on all communication that says in seven languages – “This is an important notice. Please have it translated.”

8. IPM in Boston Housing Authority Lori Housekeeping issues – list problems Food storage for pets is just as important as human food storage. Pests don’t differentiate between dog food or people food. Did the contractor see pests and what pests did they see? What was the level of infestation: did they see one insect or dropping or did they see many? The most important single thing about IPM is that the emphasis is on correcting conditions not only about chemical treatments. Lori Housekeeping issues – list problems Food storage for pets is just as important as human food storage. Pests don’t differentiate between dog food or people food. Did the contractor see pests and what pests did they see? What was the level of infestation: did they see one insect or dropping or did they see many? The most important single thing about IPM is that the emphasis is on correcting conditions not only about chemical treatments.

9. Focus resources on problem units “Focus units” have visible infestation, conditions favorable to pest life, or were not prepared for inspection. Add apartments to list of focus units based on: Residents’ complaints Employee reports Regulatory agency complaints Remove apartments from the list as conditions improve. Lori After the completion of the inspection we develop a list of problem apartments we call “focus units” where we focus all of our resources. This list is comprised of all apartments where there is visible infestation, conditions favorable to pest life or apartments not prepared. During the duration of the contract, apartments are added when complaints are made by residents, through employee reports (management or maintenance), and regulatory agency complaints. Also, apartments are removed from the list as conditions improve over time. Lori After the completion of the inspection we develop a list of problem apartments we call “focus units” where we focus all of our resources. This list is comprised of all apartments where there is visible infestation, conditions favorable to pest life or apartments not prepared. During the duration of the contract, apartments are added when complaints are made by residents, through employee reports (management or maintenance), and regulatory agency complaints. Also, apartments are removed from the list as conditions improve over time.

10. Bid Sheet Can choose all of a property or a portion of it but always a complete structure Can adjust the frequency of the return visits to address the focus units Can alternate common areas with apartments Can incorporate bedbug inspections and treatments on an emergency basis Tenant coordinator is included in the contract Lori This part of the presentation addresses the flexibility of our spec and how to adjust your plan so you can afford IPM. Using our bid sheet you, (read slide): Can choose….., We have found that it is best to always choose a complete structure for an effective IPM plan. It is not effective to perform IPM in one apartment or only on one floor. Can adjust…..In most of our contracts we have a weekly service but in some of the smaller developments with fewer buildings or our elderly developments which are single buildings we only have a monthly service. Can alternate…., And you should, don’t forget about your basements, trash areas, utility rooms, and boiler rooms. Can incorporate……We don’t include bedbug treatments in the plan because we have a separate protocol for handling them. IPM practices for bedbugs are more about prevention. The pesticides for treating bedbugs have not evolved like the pesticides for cockroaches and ants. There are no gels or baits. The pesticides to control bedbugs are usually in a liquid form which are toxic and will leave residue on surfaces. We are, however, very careful about identifying bedbugs before any treatment is performed. Lori This part of the presentation addresses the flexibility of our spec and how to adjust your plan so you can afford IPM. Using our bid sheet you, (read slide): Can choose….., We have found that it is best to always choose a complete structure for an effective IPM plan. It is not effective to perform IPM in one apartment or only on one floor. Can adjust…..In most of our contracts we have a weekly service but in some of the smaller developments with fewer buildings or our elderly developments which are single buildings we only have a monthly service. Can alternate…., And you should, don’t forget about your basements, trash areas, utility rooms, and boiler rooms. Can incorporate……We don’t include bedbug treatments in the plan because we have a separate protocol for handling them. IPM practices for bedbugs are more about prevention. The pesticides for treating bedbugs have not evolved like the pesticides for cockroaches and ants. There are no gels or baits. The pesticides to control bedbugs are usually in a liquid form which are toxic and will leave residue on surfaces. We are, however, very careful about identifying bedbugs before any treatment is performed.

11. Partnerships Health Commission, Community Partners, Universities, and advocacy groups GailGail

12. Total Pest Work Orders John So now I am going to talk about some of the results we have achieved. The results demonstrate that the program is working and making a difference in the quality of life of our residents. These four sites were among the first to implement IPM or be a part of the Kellogg grant. The red column shows the total number of pest work orders completed before IPM was implemented and the blue column shows the first 12 months with IPM. So we had a high number of pest work orders at the sites; close to 800 at Charlestown that was reduced to less than 500; Mary Ellen and Old Colony went from over 400 to less than 200.John So now I am going to talk about some of the results we have achieved. The results demonstrate that the program is working and making a difference in the quality of life of our residents. These four sites were among the first to implement IPM or be a part of the Kellogg grant. The red column shows the total number of pest work orders completed before IPM was implemented and the blue column shows the first 12 months with IPM. So we had a high number of pest work orders at the sites; close to 800 at Charlestown that was reduced to less than 500; Mary Ellen and Old Colony went from over 400 to less than 200.

13. Percent Change in Total Pest Work Orders John This slide shows the percent change in Total Pest Work Orders at the sites from the 12 months before IPM to the 12 months after we implemented IPM. There was a significant decrease at all the sites.John This slide shows the percent change in Total Pest Work Orders at the sites from the 12 months before IPM to the 12 months after we implemented IPM. There was a significant decrease at all the sites.

14. John Here is the other side of the coin, literally. This shows the monthly average total costs for pest management before and after IPM - at three of the sites we saw steep increases in costs - from $4000 a month to over $9000; from $3000 to over $7000. But as Washington Beech demonstrates not at all sites. It depends on what you were doing before. Beech had quarterly flush-outs and call backs so they actually had a small decrease in cost.John Here is the other side of the coin, literally. This shows the monthly average total costs for pest management before and after IPM - at three of the sites we saw steep increases in costs - from $4000 a month to over $9000; from $3000 to over $7000. But as Washington Beech demonstrates not at all sites. It depends on what you were doing before. Beech had quarterly flush-outs and call backs so they actually had a small decrease in cost.

15. John Here is another way of looking at the cost; by unit by month. The key piece here when we are speaking with other housing authorities and property managers is the weighted average where we roll up all the costs to come up with an average cost for implementing IPM. Property managers can chew on these numbers to compute what it would cost them to implement IPM in their properties. We went from spending $4.63 a unit/month on pest control including staff salary and fringe, materials and contracts to spending $8.09 - roughly doubling our costs but also achieving real results for our investment. We’ve always had some pest control costs and now we’ve added to it but we are making progress against this problem.John Here is another way of looking at the cost; by unit by month. The key piece here when we are speaking with other housing authorities and property managers is the weighted average where we roll up all the costs to come up with an average cost for implementing IPM. Property managers can chew on these numbers to compute what it would cost them to implement IPM in their properties. We went from spending $4.63 a unit/month on pest control including staff salary and fringe, materials and contracts to spending $8.09 - roughly doubling our costs but also achieving real results for our investment. We’ve always had some pest control costs and now we’ve added to it but we are making progress against this problem.

16. John This chart adds in data for the weighted average across sites for the second year of IPM. We see a moderate decrease from $8.09 a unit a month to $7.04 a unit a month or about a 13% decrease. This provides some evidence that a sustained IPM program will see some costs decrease as exclusion is practiced in units, sealing up cracks and crevices, tightening up our defenses, and education is provided to residents hopefully leading to behavior changes that contribute to residents keeping their apartments pest-free - taking the garbage out a few times a week, cleaning up dead roaches, mopping regularly, and calling in work orders promptly.John This chart adds in data for the weighted average across sites for the second year of IPM. We see a moderate decrease from $8.09 a unit a month to $7.04 a unit a month or about a 13% decrease. This provides some evidence that a sustained IPM program will see some costs decrease as exclusion is practiced in units, sealing up cracks and crevices, tightening up our defenses, and education is provided to residents hopefully leading to behavior changes that contribute to residents keeping their apartments pest-free - taking the garbage out a few times a week, cleaning up dead roaches, mopping regularly, and calling in work orders promptly.

17. Cockroach work orders by month: Old Colony John This chart highlights the importance of having consistent IPM service in place around the year rather than sporadically. The red line shows the number of cockroach work orders at Old Colony when they did periodic flushouts. You can see how there are big spikes every few months which was followed by a flush-out which temporarily knocked down the number of work orders but the work orders come back a few months later. The green line at the bottom shows how long the IPM contract was and the yellow line shows the number of cockroach work orders while the IPM contract was in place. Here we see the number of work orders is under 20 for the entire year without the high spikes.John This chart highlights the importance of having consistent IPM service in place around the year rather than sporadically. The red line shows the number of cockroach work orders at Old Colony when they did periodic flushouts. You can see how there are big spikes every few months which was followed by a flush-out which temporarily knocked down the number of work orders but the work orders come back a few months later. The green line at the bottom shows how long the IPM contract was and the yellow line shows the number of cockroach work orders while the IPM contract was in place. Here we see the number of work orders is under 20 for the entire year without the high spikes.

18. John We have been looking at the first four Kellogg Grant sites and their statistics regarding pest work orders and cost but we haven’t looked at other quantitative measures until recently. This slide shows the last four fiscal years of Housing Inspection Dept. work orders due to pest infestation. You can see that there has been a measurable decrease in complaints due to infestation. Inspectional Services Dept.. inspectors are noticing a decrease in complaints and also, at our last IPM Credentialing meeting it was mentioned that court officers are noticing a big decline in court cases with the B.H.A. as well.John We have been looking at the first four Kellogg Grant sites and their statistics regarding pest work orders and cost but we haven’t looked at other quantitative measures until recently. This slide shows the last four fiscal years of Housing Inspection Dept. work orders due to pest infestation. You can see that there has been a measurable decrease in complaints due to infestation. Inspectional Services Dept.. inspectors are noticing a decrease in complaints and also, at our last IPM Credentialing meeting it was mentioned that court officers are noticing a big decline in court cases with the B.H.A. as well.

19. John This slide graphs the point losses for HUD inspections due to infestation only. This shows that the losses due to infestation have decreased over the past several years and are now almost nonexistent. Although, the sample inspected is random, it still shows an improvement and should be noted. Losing fewer points in the HUD inspections has helped BHA achieve high performer status the last two years.John This slide graphs the point losses for HUD inspections due to infestation only. This shows that the losses due to infestation have decreased over the past several years and are now almost nonexistent. Although, the sample inspected is random, it still shows an improvement and should be noted. Losing fewer points in the HUD inspections has helped BHA achieve high performer status the last two years.

20. Qualitative Results of Surveyed Residents (130 families): 97% said health now is the same or better 95% stress levels are the same or better John Another way we have been evaluating the effectiveness of the IPM program is by community health advocates speaking with residents and asking them questions about their health, stress, pest problems, level of pesticide use, housing tenure, and various other demographic questions. This chart shows health in blue and stress in red. The results show that 97% said their health was the same or better now than before the program and 95% said there stress was the same or better now than it was before the program. Clearly the residents sense of their health is improved and knowing that there is an effective way to deal with pests in the home is a stress reliever. John Another way we have been evaluating the effectiveness of the IPM program is by community health advocates speaking with residents and asking them questions about their health, stress, pest problems, level of pesticide use, housing tenure, and various other demographic questions. This chart shows health in blue and stress in red. The results show that 97% said their health was the same or better now than before the program and 95% said there stress was the same or better now than it was before the program. Clearly the residents sense of their health is improved and knowing that there is an effective way to deal with pests in the home is a stress reliever.

21. Qualitative Results of Surveyed Residents (130 families): At the start of IPM,1/3 of residents reported heavy infestation; now only 14% do so. John In addition the resident responses indicate there was a 20% reduction in the percent of families who reported a heavy pest infestation. There was a 30% reduction in residents using pesticides between the initial and the final visit. Again we think this demonstrates the effectiveness of the program. The message is getting out that residents should call in a work order instead of trying to deal with a pest problem themselves. We know that using gels and baits is effective and reduces pesticide exposure to our residents.John In addition the resident responses indicate there was a 20% reduction in the percent of families who reported a heavy pest infestation. There was a 30% reduction in residents using pesticides between the initial and the final visit. Again we think this demonstrates the effectiveness of the program. The message is getting out that residents should call in a work order instead of trying to deal with a pest problem themselves. We know that using gels and baits is effective and reduces pesticide exposure to our residents.

22. Qualitative Results (surveyed 25 managers): 21 managers stated stress is lower 21 managers stated resident pest complaints have been reduced 20 have noticed a savings in their time since the inception of IPM 19 reported an increased job satisfaction John Another piece in the IPM evaluation was surveying managers where IPM had been in place for at least a year. These surveys show that managers have fewer pest complaints, fewer irate phone calls resulting in a time savings for our managers and increased job satisfaction. Pest problems have been so entrenched in public housing that it is a morale booster to identify an effective solution. John Another piece in the IPM evaluation was surveying managers where IPM had been in place for at least a year. These surveys show that managers have fewer pest complaints, fewer irate phone calls resulting in a time savings for our managers and increased job satisfaction. Pest problems have been so entrenched in public housing that it is a morale booster to identify an effective solution.

23. Bedbugs Turnover Housing Homeless Contract Administration Costs Finding Qualified Vendors Challenges still facing the BHA GailGail

24. Sustainability Standard Operating Procedures Manual Changes IPM Contract Specification Tracking Mechanism for Focus Units: Housekeeping Log Social Service Partnerships Capital Construction Best Practices Guide Continual Evaluation of IPM Program IPM Credentialing of Pest Control Operators IPM Education and Training Gail Now heading into the final months of the Kellogg grant we have spent considerable time preparing to sustain the program beyond the grant term. We have made changes to our SOP including updating our LUI and turnover inspection practices; revised our contract specification; developed a housekeeping log that helps managers keep track of apartments that are frequent-fliers and are receiving a lot of services. This documentation may be useful if the situation ends up in an court eviction proceeding. We’ve been developing some trainings for mangers and tenant coordinators about IPM that we can offer periodically. We’ve added a new partnership in the third year of the grant with the BU School of Social Work. We are hosting 2 interns who are working 2 days a week at Cathedral and Torre Unidad with focus families who need additional assistance beyond information or education. The interns will case manage the families to help them access additional services. We’ll be developing a capital construction best practices guide that will discuss product information and construction techniques that support the IPM program. Finally, BHA has joined with several partners to enhance existing IPM classroom training programs with in-the-field practical application to develop a deeper pool of IPM pest control companies.Gail Now heading into the final months of the Kellogg grant we have spent considerable time preparing to sustain the program beyond the grant term. We have made changes to our SOP including updating our LUI and turnover inspection practices; revised our contract specification; developed a housekeeping log that helps managers keep track of apartments that are frequent-fliers and are receiving a lot of services. This documentation may be useful if the situation ends up in an court eviction proceeding. We’ve been developing some trainings for mangers and tenant coordinators about IPM that we can offer periodically. We’ve added a new partnership in the third year of the grant with the BU School of Social Work. We are hosting 2 interns who are working 2 days a week at Cathedral and Torre Unidad with focus families who need additional assistance beyond information or education. The interns will case manage the families to help them access additional services. We’ll be developing a capital construction best practices guide that will discuss product information and construction techniques that support the IPM program. Finally, BHA has joined with several partners to enhance existing IPM classroom training programs with in-the-field practical application to develop a deeper pool of IPM pest control companies.

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