Using IPM

You can use Integrated pest management (IPM) practices for almost every aspect of property management—from new construction to resident housekeeping. The ultimate goal is to keep pest levels below a harmful level using least risk pest management methods. Efforts are focused on taking away the things pest need in order to infest: a way in, food, water, and shelter.

Below you'll find information on some of the common challenges (and opportunities) for IPM programs in affordable housing.

Check out our new Property Manager Guides: IPM for Cockroaches, Bed Bugs, and Mice

Use this IPM work plan to assign responsibilities and oversee pest control contractor: IPM Workplan

Or, read through our FAQs!


Each type of pest gets in, eats, drinks, and hides in different places. It is very important to identify every pest before proceeding with control efforts. Have a pest management professional (PMP) or staff at your Cooperative Extension office identify your pest. Think you know your pest? Check our pest solutions page.

Setting Up an IPM Team

The IPM team is everyone who lives and works on the property. Everyone can come together on the issue of pest control—no one wants to live or work with pests. You can't contract out for IPM, each person must do his or her part. Management makes sure quality work is being done in a timely fashion, maintenance staff block pests out and manage property waste, residents maintain their unit according to housekeeping standards, (PMPs) make recommendations and treat for pests, and outside agencies provide support when residents can't or won't do their part.

  1. Pull in your team members: executive management, site staff, residents, and local partners.
  2. Train everyone on IPM and pest basics—roles, how pests make us sick, the biology and behavior, and how to control them.
  3. Implement IPM, using members of your team when their specialty is needed.

Policy and Lease Language

Start your IPM program off by looking through your policy and lease for pest control clauses. Adopt any changes so that you have language to fall back on to motivate staff and resident cooperation.

Pesticide Applications

IPM is not just using a limited set of pesticides. While pesticides are an important component, they are just a part of the bigger strategy for pest control. In most states, only trained professionals may apply pesticides on multifamily properties and Public Housing Authorities cannot supply pesticides to residents. Because pesticides all have some level of risk, it is important to understand this component of an IPM program—to protect the health and safety of staff, residents, and visitors.

Maintenance Projects

Read our StopPests Blog for more on construction and renovation projects. A few guidelines exist for designing, building, and renovating with IPM in mind. A little work at these stages can prevent pests. The following practical guides are full of diagrams and useful pictures:

Occupied Units

Although it is important to address vacant units, trash handling, and common areas, much of the focus of you IPM program will likely be on occupied units. The goal is to eliminate all infestations and have a system in place to identify new pest problems quickly and respond rapidly. Resident education is a large component.

  1. Have monitors placed in every unit. Train residents, staff, and contractors to check monitors and report if they catch a pest. If there are no pests, there is probably no need to apply pesticides.
  2. Do a housekeeping inspection within 90 days of move-in and at least annually thereafter. Check monitors and also check for housekeeping practices and anything else that might make treatment difficult if a pest is found. Address these proactively before they complicate a treatment.
  3. If a pest is found, focus on that unit. Focus units receive attention from the IPM team until the pest problem is gone. Do allocate time and resources wisely. Scale the response to the level of infestation. Don't just apply pesticides on a routine basis.

Tracking IPM Efficacy

Justify existing practices and find room for improvement through tracking. In the short term, records can help identify where problems are and prove that an infestation is solved. In the long term, records and the ability to pull tracking reports sets you up for success in finding funding, noticing property-wide trends, and in court.

Frequently Asked Questions