Integrated Pest Management


The Town of Needham recognizes that public agencies should be a model of environmentally responsible practices. Employing an integrated pest management (IPM) policy allows the town to accrue the financial benefits of planning, prevention and responsible management, while reducing the use of pesticides that pose a health risk to people directly through breathing, drinking, ingesting or skin absorption of toxic products or via delayed exposures from contaminated soil, food, air, water utensils, and toys.

The Town of Needham has already introduced IPM principles into its parks, landscaping and building maintenance programs. The purpose of developing an IPM policy is to formalize and institutionalize the current practices dating back many years and to provide general guidance in the creation of integrated pest management policies and site-specific plans in compliance with the requirements of the Act to Protect Children and Families from Exposure to Harmful Pesticides, Chapter 85 of the Acts of 2000.

Needham IPM Policy

The Town of Needham will commit to IPM principles and practices and incorporate them into all landscape maintenance and building maintenance and construction work. This policy will apply to work by contractors hired by the town as well as to work done by town employees.

IPM Defined

IPM is a problem-solving approach to landscape and building management designed to prevent and control undesirable weeds, insects, fungi and rodents. IPM relies on the use of site-specific information about environmental conditions and the dynamics of human characteristics and activities, and pest biology and behavior to prevent, resist, and control pests that interfere with the purpose and use of a particular site. When a pest has exceeded a predetermined threshold at a particular site, all appropriate pest control strategies are employed including modifying the habitat, modifying maintenance practices, modifying user behavior, and, if all else fails, using pesticides as a last resort, and only within specific guideline for least toxic selection and use.

Pests Defined

Pests are undesirable plants, insects, fungi and rodents. Common examples in the landscape are grubs, chinch bug, crabgrass, knotweed, and a variety of plant diseases. Insects, weeds, and fungi can become a significant problem on our athletic fields and other public grounds. They can destroy or overtake large areas of turf resulting in lack of playability, large renovation costs, and unsafe conditions for players. Common pests in buildings are ants, lice, cockroaches, termites, mice and other rodents that thrive when food and other conditions are available. They can create hygiene and safety problems, cause damage to building structures and, if nothing else, cause a nuisance.

IPM Policy Goals

The goal of Needham's IPM Policy is to promote the health, safety, quality and sustainability of public buildings and landscapes and maximize the enjoyment and use of public buildings and grounds for functional, recreational (both active and passive) and ornamental purposes. The goals of this policy are to:

  • Require all pesticide applicators to be certified and licensed
  • Ensure that all support and supervisory personnel receive training and continuing education on the use of pesticides.
  • Reduce the use of pesticides through common sense principles of IPM, to the point of no pesticide use whenever possible and practical
  • Provide healthy, high quality and sustainable buildings, parks and public open spaces
  • Prevent the contamination of buildings, soil, air, and water and protect people (especially children and other vulnerable populations), animals and beneficial plants and insects from toxic exposures
  • Assure cooperation and communication between town departments by setting standard operating procedures for the control of pests
  • Recognize and support the programmatic and economic impact of changes in procedures and processes that may be required to meet these goals
  • Establish a formal IPM Committee with representation from the boards and committees that approved the policy
    • This committee will meet annually or as needed
    • This committee is not meant to supersede the individual committees at each school required under the Child Protection Act

IPM Practices

The Town of Needham will develop site-specific building and landscape maintenance plans for all sites, which will incorporate pest prevention and control measures.

These plans will:

  • Specify site-assessment protocols, testing methods, and the timing and/or type of maintenance practices
  • Require the monitoring of site conditions and pest populations
  • Establish pest thresholds
  • Recommend how to educate users or modify user behavior (including modifying public access, traffic or use patterns)
  • Define record-keeping requirements, with school building reports that are consistent with Section IV of School Committee policy EBAB and evaluation criteria
  • Establish conditions for building re-occupancy after pesticide or herbicide application
  • Enable the use of expert assistance and resources to solve problems
  • If determined to be necessary, identify the conditions for use of pesticides

IPM Selection Guidelines

The Town will develop guidelines for considering all appropriate intervention options, including changes in cultural, mechanical, physical, biological and chemical measures, or no action. Criteria for selecting pest control interventions commensurate with these guidelines shall, in order of priority, be or provide:

  • Least toxic to people, beneficial insects and plants and the aquatic environment
  • Most species-specific
  • Highest level of anticipated effectiveness
  • Greatest need for ongoing use and maintenance of field or facility
  • Timely coordination and scheduling with the Park and Recreation Department and the schools to ensure safest use of all fields or facilities

Use of Pesticides for Aesthetic Purposes

The Town of Needham supports limiting pesticide use for aesthetic purposes. The town recognizes that the safe use of playing fields to prevent injuries from recreational and organized team activities may require the use of chemicals. Any chemicals used will follow the IPM application and notification guidelines as outlined in this Policy and in the Children's Safety and Protection Act.

Restrictions on the Use of Pesticides & Herbicides

As referenced under the principals of The Children's and Families' Protection Act and as part of each schools plan the application of any pesticide or herbicide may be performed only by certified applicators. If a pest situation is deemed an emergency an emergency waiver form should be submitted to the Needham Health Department to determine if the single use waiver is warranted.

IPM Implementation

For IPM to be successful in the schools and other town buildings and fields, it must be supported by:

  • Administration
  • Building and field maintenance staff
  • Custodial staff
  • Teachers
  • Students
  • Parents

Failure to comply with site-specific guidelines could result in unnecessary infestations and potentially require the use of pesticides to mitigate the problem. All must understand that pests may be present while the source of a problem is identified and eliminated.

The Municipal Building Maintenance Board, the Department of Public Works and the School Department principals will keep copies of their site-specific plans available for public review. Copies of plans will also be filed with the Needham Health Department and the MA Department of Food and Agriculture. The Needham Health Department will serve as the liaison for questions from the community.

Approved By:

  • Needham Board of Health 6/14/02
  • Needham School Committee 6/18/02
  • Needham Municipal Building Maintenance Department 6/18/02
  • Needham Park and Recreation Department 6/25/02
  • Needham Board of Selectmen 6/25/02
  • Needham Conservation Committee 6/27/02
  • Needham Permanent Public Building Department 7/08/02
  • Needham Library Board of Trustees 7/09/02
  • Needham Council on Aging Board of Directors 9/05/0