Towards Integrated Pest Management on the UCLA Campus: Preliminary Research and Meetings
By Markus Min
Over the past week, we have been narrowing down our project plans for the next quarter through meetings with UCLA faculty and discussion amongst our team at our meetings. This week, we met with Joshua Witt, the Executive Steward for UCLA Dining Services, who is responsible for pest management on the Hill. We discussed with him the feasibility of replacing rodenticide with more environmentally friendly methods, the current rodent issues on the Hill, and possible solutions. Next week, we will be meeting with Jennie Wung from UCLA Environmental Health and Safety, who has been conducting research on food waste and rodent hotspots on campus. After the conclusion of our preliminary meetings, we believe that we will have a clear idea of the research that we can conduct over the second half of this quarter and will be able to put together a research proposal. Based on our meetings and research up to this point, we are planning on documenting and mapping food waste and rodent hotspots on campus with the goal of eventually being able to put together guidelines for integrated pest management on the UCLA campus.
The trash bin pictured above is one of the measures that UCLA Dining Services has taken to reduce rodent issues on the Hill. Prior to the installation of the bars on the bottom of the trash bin, rodents had been chewing through the bottom of the trash bags in order to get to leftover food and had also been nesting under trash cans. Minor preventative measures like this are the type of changes that need to be made in order for UCLA to transition to integrated pest management, with more emphasis on the source of the problem rather than trying to continually eradicate rodents through rodenticide use.