Intern works with daycare facilities to manage pests safely


HELENA, Mont. — A summer intern with the Montana Department of Agriculture is working with Montana childcare facilities to encourage the use of integrated pest management techniques for the safe, limited use of pesticides where children are present.

The department hopes to increase childcare providers' understanding of pests and pest management options during one-on-one visits throughout the state, and also provide information resources to help centers make good pest management decisions, said Technical Services Bureau Chief Amy Bamber.

Intern Zach Coccoli has a background uniquely suited to the task. A senior in environmental policy at Washington State University in Pullman, Coccoli worked in a daycare owned by his mother while growing up in Montana and also has experience applying pesticides on a farm and in residences.

Taking steps to limit entry and make an environment less desirable to pests are key precepts of integrated pest management, he said. Pest management in the childcare environment must be protective, as well as cost effective.
The Montana Department of Agriculture has been working with school districts to encourage the development of IPM plans that significantly reduce or eliminate the need for pesticides in structures, while at the same time managing pest populations to acceptable levels, Bamber said.

The outreach effort to childcare centers aims to address a growing concern among parents regarding environmental safety by encouraging providers to implement formal pest management policies. Coccoli emphasizes measures to notify parents and employees before any pesticide applications and guidelines for contracting with professional applicators, as well as encouraging interactive and educational children's activities to reduce the need for routine chemical use.

For more information about the program, contact Zach Coccoli, childcare IPM intern, at

or Amy Bamber, Technical Services Bureau chief, at

or 406-444-5400.


Published: July 8, 2010 4:41:00 PM MDT.
Last Modified: May 17, 2011 9:28:54 AM MDT