Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Pest control in multifamily housing is challenging. Residents' housekeeping practices vary, as does their tolerance for pests. Maintenance is a never-ending battle. Pests move easily from one unit to another, and everyone must respect residents' privacy and independence.

Health Effects of Pests:
Pests, such as cockroaches and mice, are associated with asthma attacks. Cockroaches may cause asthma in children, while rats carry disease and can start fires. Flies spread disease. Bedbugs are back. 

Extent of Problem:
More than half of the residents in public housing and Section 8 properties surveyed in 2004 reported having problems with rodents and insects indoors. Seventeen percent (17%) had problems most or all of the time.  Other studies suggest that the problem is worse: A HUD-funded Purdue University study found that 71% of a public housing development had active infestation, yet only 22% of the residents with an infestation reported the problem. Eighty percent (80%) had used sprays and foggers to control for cockroaches, and almost 60% had taken matters into their own hands for mice (see Pest Conditions Case Study).

In the case of cockroaches, persistent housekeeping problems have begun to undermine the effectiveness of bait stations and gels, our most effective pesticides to control them (see Bait Aversion Case Study).

Traditional Pest Control versus IPM:
Integrated pest management (IPM) is a different approach than traditional pest control. It emphasizes eliminating nesting places, as well as sources of food and water for the pests, and it excludes the pests from the home. It uses the safest pesticide in the safest manner only when necessary. Studies by Purdue University and Virginia Tech show that it is more effective and, once pests are under control, cost effective (see the Cost Comparisons Case Study). Programs at Boston Housing Authority, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, and in Salinas, California highlight the promise of IPM. 

On February 3, 2006, HUD issued its Guidance on Integrated Pest Management. HUD renewed the guidance on May 24, 2007. The guidance identifies 10 elements of an effective IPM program. It states that the "goal of IPM (per the Environmental Protection Agency) is to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment."

The National Center for Healthy Housing has developed tools and resources to help property managers, staff, residents, and pest management professionals implement an integrated pest management program. Funding from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Pesticide Program and Battelle made this work possible.  The ongoing support and guidance from HUD and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Environmental Health were essential as well. 


Student materials.

IPM in Multifamily Housing Training--A one-day course for resident leaders and staff with a common property manager.

StopPests in Housing is a popular consultation and training program consisting of a StopPests consultant coaching a pilot site through the steps it takes to implement IPM. Part of that process is an on-site training at the pilot property. If you are from a public housing or project-based rental assistance property and are interested in working with them, fill out a consultant and training request form.

IPM Case Studies highlighting the latest research and important programs.

IPM Fact Sheets:
Guide for Health Care Providers.
Guide for Health Care Practitioners to Share with Patients.

Guide for New Tenants.

Guide for Landlords.

Guide for Landlords to Give to Tenants Reporting Pests.

IPM Videos:
Stop Pests in Your Home
IPM: A Real Solution

Case Study: Integrated Pest Management at Washington Columbia II.

Model Request For Proposals (RFP) for public housing authorities.

Comparison of the programs recognizing pest management professionals going beyond the minimum requirements for pest control.

Consumer Information links.

Business case for home-based environmental interventions and education for asthma, including integrated pest management by the New England Asthma Regional Council. (Updated.)

Keep It Pest-Free course materials from the Essentials for Healthy Homes Practitioners course.

Clearinghouse of research and related documents.

HUD M2M IPM--In November 2007, HUD's Office of Affordable Housing Preservation (OAHP) launched a Green Initiatives Program as part of its Mark-to-Market (M2M) Program. Congress and HUD designed the M2M Program to keep Section 8 properties on the affordable housing market by getting property owners to renew their commitment to the program through financial incentives.

Check out NCHH's What's Working for Bed Bug Control in Multifamily Housing: reconciling best practices with research and the realities of implementation. NCHH published the report on February 12, 2010 with funding from EPA. Send feedback to

Integrated Pest Management--A Guide for Affordable Housing--We hope you will use this guide to implement integrated pest management (IPM) at your property. While the materials are designed for public housing authority (PHA) management and owners/agents of affordable housing, anyone can use the principles outlined here to integrate IPM practices into a residential pest management strategy. The complete guide and additional resources are available at


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