About mwaldvog

Extension Associate Professor - Structural and Industrial Pests

Disinfectant Wipes & other Disinfectants in Schools

John Allran, the Environmental Toxicologist for NCDA&CS Structural Pest Control & Pesticides Division sent the following email to over 2700 schools across the state regarding the use of disinfectant wipes and other disinfectants in schools.  We wanted to make sure those of you who work at or with schools had access to it. Many people are not aware that most disinfectants are classified by the EPA as a type of pesticide and therefore fall under both the Federal (FIFRA) and State Pesticide Laws & Rules.

We’ve added the two documents below.  If you have questions, please contact John Allran at the email/number below.

Dear <Principal/Administrator>:

Many schools use disinfecting wipes and other disinfectants to control the spread of germs (viruses, bacteria) that cause colds, influenza, and other illnesses.  Many disinfectants are actually pesticides registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and therefore the label must be followed to avoid adverse health effects, achieve disinfection, and comply with the law.  The NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Structural Pest Control & Pesticides Division (SPC&PD) is the State Lead Agency for pesticide regulation in North Carolina.  The mission of the SPC&PD is to protect the public health, safety and welfare, and the environment by minimizing and managing risks associated with the legal use of pesticides through administration of the NC Pesticide Law of 1971 and the Structural Pest Control Act of North Carolina of 1955.  School-aged children should NOT use disinfecting wipes, as the statement KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN is on the label.The SPC&PD is providing you with two infographic resources developed by the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) regarding the use of disinfectants and disinfecting wipes in schools.  These infographics can be found on the SPC&PD website in the bottom right of the gold banner at https://www.ncagr.gov/spcap/.  Please share this information with appropriate health, safety, and maintenance personnel to promote effective and safe use of disinfecting wipes and other disinfectants as part of the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program at your school.  If you have any questions or concerns, please visit the SPC&PD website or call (919)733-3556.


Thank you.

John W. Allran
Environmental Toxicologist
NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services
Structural Pest Control & Pesticides Division
(919) 857-4150 (direct phone)
(919) 733-3556 (Division phone)
(919) 733-9796 (fax)

Email: John.Allran@ncagr.gov

“Bug Bombs” Are Ineffective

Cockroach baits, especially the gel formulations,  provide excellent for controlling cockroaches in place of methods such as total release aerosols.

Researchers at NCSU have published a study showing that “Total Release Foggers” (or “TRFs”) are ineffective at controlling German cockroaches.  The study published in BMC Public Health  found that the foggers do not reach areas where cockroaches may be hiding and can increase pesticide concentrations in homes by as much as  600-fold (a median of 85-fold).  Baiting is far more effective at controlling German cockroaches and reducing potential asthma triggers that result from infestations and the use of certain insecticides. For specific details of the study, click HERE

Are there alternatives to glyphosate for weed control in landscapes?

Dr. Joe Neal, Professor of Weed Science, Extension Specialist in NCSU’s Department of Horticultural Science, and Dr. Andrew Senesac, Extension Weed Scientist
Cornell Cooperative Extension, discuss options for weed control without using glyphosate:


Termite swarms

damage by termites to wooden cabinets attached to masonry wall.

Termite damage to wooden cabinets attached to an exterior wall. Termites used the expansion joint to reach the wood.

We are at the time of year where termite swarms will start showing up outdoors and possibly indoors.  Swarms outdoors are likely to occur not far from trees and stumps where the termite colony is feeding on dead roots and in the stumps.  For the most part, these swarms can be ignored but they’re a reminder to keep up with building maintenance issues that may create conditions suitable for termites.

If termites swarm indoors, they can be simply vacuumed up and discarded outdoors.  There is no need to spray them with a pesticide (and swarming termites are not an emergency and will not change the fact that you have a termite infestation.  It’s a good idea to check inside along walls (particularly along expansion joints for signs or termite tubes that may indicate an actual problem.  Inspections can be complicated because of floor and wall coverings including built-in cabinets which may hide termite activity.

Drilling slabs to inject insecticide into the soil beneath the building.

Drilling slabs to inject insecticide into the soil beneath the building adjacent to the expansion joint.

Treatments can be expensive because it may require drilling a slab in order to treat termites that are coming up through an expansion joint.  Treating the building exterior may help, but it does not guarantee that you’re controlling the problem.  Another option (although potentially more expensive) is the the use of a termite baiting system installed along the building’s exterior and possibly using “aboveground stations” inside to attack the termite colony more quickly.  Regardless with both of these choices,  termites are not going to cause significant damage in a few weeks (or a month or more).  So, treatment can easily be delayed to weekend or even until a school holidays for when the school is closed (or at this point, even the end of the school year would not be unreasonable) .

We have some relevant information mostly targeting residential settings but does provide valuable information about termites in general.