Integrated pest management in multi-story public housing for the elderly in Houston, Texas

Nancy Manning Crider, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Integrated pest management is a viable alternative to traditional pest control methods. A paired sample design was utilized to measure the effect of IPM education on the number of cockroaches in a 200 unit, seven story public housing building for the elderly in Houston, TX. Glue traps were placed in 71 randomly selected apartments (5traps/unit) and left in place for two nights. Baseline cockroach counts were shared with the property manager, maintenance/janitorial staff, service coordinator, pest control professional and tenant representatives at the end of a one day “Integrated Pest Management in Multi-Family Housing” training course. There was a significant decrease in the average number of cockroaches after IPM education and implementation of IPM principles (P < 0.0003). Positive changes in behavior by members of the IPM team and changes in the housing authority operational plan were also found. Paired t-tests comparing the difference between mean cockroach counts at baseline and follow-up by location within the apartment all demonstrated a significant decrease in the number of cockroaches. Results supported the premise that IPM education and the implementation of IPM principles are effective measures to change pest control behaviors and control cockroaches. Cockroach infestations in multi-story housing are not solely determined by the actions of individual tenants. The actions of other residents, property managers and pest control professionals are also important factors in pest control. Findings support the implementation of IPM education and the adoption of IPM practices by public housing authorities. This study adds to existing evidence that clear communication of policies, a team approach and a commitment to ongoing inspection and monitoring of pests combined with corrective action to eliminate food, water and harborage and the judicial use of low risk pesticides have the potential to improve the living conditions of elderly residents living in public housing.

Subject Area

Environmental Health|Public health

Recommended Citation

Crider, Nancy Manning, "Integrated pest management in multi-story public housing for the elderly in Houston, Texas" (2010). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3413257.