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Keeping Your School Free from Stinging Insects Webinar Report

Keeping Your School Free from Stinging Insects, one of a series of school Integrated Pest Management (IPM) webinars hosted by EPA’s Center of Expertise for School IPM, was presented on May 19, 2015. Included here is the contact information for the presenters, webinar statistics, responses to questions and comments.

On this page:


  • Justin Schmidt, Entomologist, University of Arizona 
  • Lynn Braband, Community IPM Educator, Cornell University
  • Mark Hardin, IPM Specialist, Howard Co. (Maryland) Public School System

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Statistical Information


  • 461 people from 45 states, and 2 countries (Canada and Saudi Arabia)
    • Top 5 states: NY (73), TX (53), WA (42), CA (26), ME (22)
    • Represented over 3.7 M students (3,745,044)
    • Registration breakdown:
      • 294  schools/ districts/ CCC were reached
      • Facilities (105  ), Administration (98 ), Nurse (77 ), Staff (11)
      • 49 Health Departments
      • 54 IPM coordinators
      • 17 Pest management professionals 
      • Others including state government (21), Federal (12) Edu (15)
      • 10 Tribes including IHS  
  • Webinars were the clear choice of training venues with a   90% (406) preference, as opposed to all other choices: classroom/workshops, conventions, websites, papers, combined


  • 40% (185) attended the webinar from 38 states
  • Represented  2.3M+ children  (2,344,123)
  • Top states: NY (24),TX (19), WA (18), OR (10), ME (9)
  • 59% of all attendees were school related: (110)  schools/ districts and Childcare Centers 
    • Facilities (40)
    • IPM Coordinators (26)
    • Administration (43), 
    • School nurse (18)
    • Health Departments (23)
    • Pest management professionals (7)
    • Tribes (4)

Teaching efficacy

  • 100% of attendees have a better insight about stinging insect prevention in and around schools as a result of the webinar. 
  • 100% of attendees have gained greater insight of IPM as it relates to stinging insects. 

Understanding of the importance of School IPM

  • 84% correctly chose: IPM creates a healthier school environment for children.  
  • 100% of attendees agreed that "A systematic use of a variety of techniques is most effective for stinging insects." (99) 

IPM Related

  • 81% (284 yes) Does your school have a pesticide safety and IPM plan/policy? (46 did not know) 
  • 76% (272 yes) Does your school have an IPM Coordinator? ( 52 did not know: 31 no) 
  • 51 attendees requested more information on IPM  

Outreach Effort (measured by how registrants learn about the webinar) 

  • 80% (364) responded that they learned of the webinar from an EPA generated e-mail or website
  • 20% other source such as  school or district administrator, educational services contact or PMP 


  • 90% correctly selected "Swatting and squashing yellow jackets is counterproductive because by crushing them a chemical pheromone is released that attracts and incites other nearby yellow jackets." 
  • 92% correctly selected the incorrect choice: "A yellow jacket stinger is barbed, so they can only sting once" 
  • 85% correctly answered "Many wasps are beneficial because they prey on insect pests"
  • 87% correctly chose "All of the above" for "Which statement concerning bee swarms is correct?")

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Questions and Answers

The questions below were posed by the webinar participants. The responses may have been refined by the presenters following the webinar for clarification or to include additional resources.

General Question

  1. Will the presentation be available for download? Where? 
    A PDF of the presentation is available on our website. Search EPA ArchiveUnfortunately, due to technical difficulties, a recording of the webinar will not be available. 

Bird Management Questions 

  1. Is there anything you can do to keep the paper wasps from coming back, or do you just have to keep knocking down their nests?
    Generally, knocking down is about the easiest solution.
  2. Are Soap and water, if used early in the season effective against paper wasps?
    In NYS, soap in water is considered use of an unregistered pesticide by our state regulatory agency.  Listener Comment: I would rather use dish soap than a can of spray. We use a wet dry vacuum with soap and water in it.
  3. Is it not a good idea to seal holes in fall?

    Comment: We use old floor machine pads to plug vent holes.

    Generally yes for two reasons:

    1) the yellow jackets are gone by December and present no risk;
    2) it reduces problems next season. 

  4. As far as trapping yellow jackets and covering their nests, I have found that a Glass casserole lid works great. What do you think?
    That sometimes can work.  Better if you make a one-way screen cone to trap them inside.  A plus is the lack of poisons.

Species - Specific Questions  

  1. Are digger bees similar to miner or mining bees? 
    They are similar in that both are solitary and do not sting.
  2. How can Bumblebees be attracted to pollinate a garden? 
    Bumble bees like "big bee" flowers and those in the tomato family.  Check Xerces Society website for ideas.  Also google to make bumblebee boxes for them to nest in.
  3. Isn't it true that stinging insects are more aggressive in the fall when they may be intoxicated from eating fermenting fruit on the ground? 
    They are usually more of a problem in the fall because population’s peak then and food shortages become more acute.  Drunkenness is not a major factor, but competition for fallen fruit generally increases their competition. 

Resource Question

  1. Could you each give the audience some good on-line resources to preventing encounters with stinging insects in schools and on playgrounds, like what you each described in the webinar, so we can learn even more?

Upcoming School IPM Webinars

We welcome your participation in our upcoming webinars and ask you to encourage your peers to attend. These presentations are geared specifically to school and school district facility managers, buildings and grounds managers and staff, childcare facility managers, and school IPM practitioners. School nurses, school administrators, health officials, and pest management professionals are welcome to attend.

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