COVID-19 Resources

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Helpful Links

What Is Essential Pest Control Service during the Coronavirus/COVID-19 Outbreak?

Information About Disinfectants for COVID-19


Helpful Links:

COVID-19 edition of School & Home Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Newsletter –April 2020 From Arizona State, Life and Veterinary Sciences, and Cooperative Extension. Includes important information on cleaning and disinfecting.

 

 

EPA searchable list of disinfectants labeled for use against SARS-CoV-2

What you should know about N95 respirators and face masks (Interim Guidance from University of AZ Community and School IPM program, 4/14/20)

HUD's COVID-19 resource page

CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

National Pest Management Association (NPMA) COVID-19 Updates & Resources includes which states have designated pest control as an essential service and information about licensing requirements for certain EPA approved disinfectants according to state/province/tribe.


What Is Essential Pest Control Service during the Coronavirus/COVID-19 Outbreak?

Below are a set of general guidelines to help make choices about what is essential versus nonessential pest control service while complying with state social distancing and shelter-in-place orders during the coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak. These guidelines relate to housing sites with in-house pest management staff and/or contracted services.

Advice on Pest Control Visits

Pest prevention practices that should not be suspended during the COVID-19 outbreak include:

  • Garbage collection
  • Call center operations taking calls about pest complaints; questions should be asked to determine severity for prioritization
  • Control of rats in residences (any infestation level) or common areas
  • Control of fire ants in and around residential areas
  • Removal of a bat from residences, or common areas
  • Common-area pest inspection/treatments in high-rise hallways, maintenance areas, garbage rooms, and garbage chutes; findings of any pests in the hallways should be recorded for later proximate-apartment follow-up
  • In-apartment cockroach, bed bug, mouse or fly treatments for high-level infestations in residences, or lower-level infestations if:
    • A resident has a non-COVID-19 medical issue involved, such as asthma (as a result of pandemic response measures, we currently have people spending more time in their home, exposed for longer periods to possible asthmagens and respiratory irritants)
    • A resident complains about a pest infestation and consents to treatment

Work with your pest control providers to determine what you will consider a high-level pest infestation. Consult with your local health department and university extension specialists about prioritizing additional pests of public health significance (i.e., filth flies, fleas). Treatments conducted outdoors for wasps, fire ants, mosquitoes, termites, etc., could continue with proper precautions and should be decided on a case-by-case basis.

Here are some other considerations for helping those complaining about low-level infestations during this time, with a goal of providing temporary relief while adhering to social-distancing guidelines to the greatest degree possible:

  • Can you give residents information and tools like sticky monitors/traps and delay scheduling a pest control service visit?
  • When practical, can you recommend that they vacuum? Or can you drop off a HEPA-rated vacuum that they can use to remove the pests themselves?

As a rule, use your discretion and seek the advice of public health officials.

How Long Could We Suspend Regular (In-Home) Service?

Aside from the above considerations about what should not be stopped, depending on COVID-19 risks, there may have to be a suspension of regular (in-apartment) activities for 1.5 to 2 months (essentially one-to two pest generations, and depending on the progress of the epidemic in the area). Pest control staff (or contractors) can use any extra time they have to continue implementing exclusion measures, checking for rodent traps and bait stations in common areas/maintenance areas/exteriors when not dealing with COVID-19-related issues. However, note that any type of delay in pest management procedures will result in dealing with potentially more severe and extensive infestations. It is critical to resume routine pest management operations as soon as possible after the risk of COVID-19 transmission has passed.

These recommendations are just meant to help guide your decision-making process. Ultimately, decisions need to be made by the building or housing authority management, with advice from your local public health department. Each management group will have to base their decisions on a variety of factors, including area COVID-19 cases, your population of vulnerable and at-risk residents, prioritizing disinfecting “common-touch” areas, and staffing levels.

Additional Resources

HUD maintains a COVID-19 resource page: https://www.hud.gov/coronavirus

HUD is advising that properties should be following the CDC’s guidelines when creating policies and making decisions: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

National Pest Management Association COVID-19 Updates & Resources

The link to the EPA searchable list of disinfectants labeled for use against SARS-CoV-2

This guidance was written by
Stephen A. Kells, B.C.E., Ph.D. Professor, Dept of Entomology, University of Minnesota
Susannah Reese, M.S. Extension Specialist, StopPests in Housing, Cornell University

With contributions of the Urban IPM Initiatives members of the Medical, Urban, and Veterinary Entomology Section, Entomological Society of America (ESA MUVE).
https://www.entsoc.org/muve/initiatives-urban

Sydney Crawley, Ph.D. Scotts Miracle-Gro
Zachary DeVries, Ph.D. Urban Entomologist, University of Kentucky
Dawn Gouge, Ph.D. Public Health Entomologist, University of Arizona - MAC Experiment Station
Janet A. Hurley, A.C.E, MPA, Extension Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
Faith M. Oi, Ph.D. University of Florida Entomology and Nematology Dept.
Karen Vail, Ph.D. Professor and Urban Extension Entomologist, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Changlu Wang, Ph.D. Urban Entomologist, Rutgers University

For more information or to find the IPM extension specialist in your area contact StopPests in Housing: stoppests@cornell.edu

 


Information About Disinfectants for COVID-19

Stephen Kells, Ph.D., BCE, University of MN

The EPA's searchable list of disinfectants for SARS-CoV2 (Coronavirus):

https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2

This list shows contact time requirements (aka "wet time") (see below) and whether it is a dilutable concentrate or Ready to Use (RTU).

When used specifically for disinfection,  disinfectants have a label, like a pesticide product. These products are regulated by the EPA and your state like pesticides. If they are used for "cleaning" then the label still must be followed (for safety), but without the expectation of product performance (killing the virus). Remember cleaning and disinfecting are two different things. If used correctly, disinfectants kills germs (viruses and bacteria).

Some things that are important for housing sites to be aware of (as an employer):

  1. When using disinfectants,  make sure workers read, understand and FOLLOW the label.
  2. Many of these disinfectants are concentrates, so dilution will be necessary.  After a quick survey, I am seeing that many concentrate disinfectant labels have the signal word “DANGER.” This means that even a temporary incidental exposure to the concentrate (say into the eye) may cause immediate and permanent damage.
  3. Make sure workers are wearing full PPE when mixing and loading, or spraying (see label)!
  4. Measure and pour carefully  into clean / rinsed containers. There may be compatibility issues with some products (e.g., bleach).
  5. There is usually a “wet-exposure time” that differs from product to product, please find and ensure the wet exposure time is met for virus control standards (See the label or the EPA Link).
  6. Be aware that there may require different respiratory PPE for different products – look to the label.  Typical respirator cartridges cited on labels may include: P, N, or R filters (N – not resistant to oil, R somewhat resistant to oil, P strongly resistant to oil)  The number after the letter indicates the level of filtration (95% of particles, 99% or 100 (=99.97%)).

This is not a complete list of precautions. As with all pesticides the label is the law!