ECAD-E: Pesticide Applications in School Buildings

E: Support Services

The Vancouver Health Department has requested that the Board of School Trustees (the “Board”) voluntarily begin to post warning signs when pesticides are applied inside school buildings.   At the present time, the City By-laws do not require schools to post warning signs 72 hours in advance to 72 hours after application.   However, the Health Department is of the opinion that they should be posted, as a school is a public use building. 

As a result of these discussions, the enclosed procedures will be implemented immediately.  If you encounter difficulties within your school community regarding pesticide applications, you may wish to consult with the School Board Health and Safety Officer or the Maintenance and Construction Manager. 

It should be noted that our pesticide applicator follows all regulations and proper procedures, and advises school staff when applying pesticides.  Most calls are at the request of the school to respond to infestation of fleas, cockroaches, ants, bees, etc.   Wherever possible, spraying is done on Fridays, to allow two or three days for odours to disappear. 

It is recommended that you keep the staff council and teachers in the affected area informed of pesticide applications. 


From time to time, infestations of pests, usually insects, are encountered in our school buildings, and treatment with pesticide is required to control them.  In fact, the majority of calls are initiated by the school. 

The Maintenance and Construction Division, who apply the pesticides, will shortly be undertaking to post the area or room in which the pesticide application is being carried out.   This is done on a “right-to-know” policy, even though the existing City By-law does not require it in schools. 

In general, a notification sign (copy attached) will be posted at the entrance to the area to be treated 72 hours before application to 72 hours afterwards.  In the case of an emergency, the application of pesticide would be done immediately and the sign posted and left for 72 hours (an emergency might be an infestation of wasps which constitutes an immediate hazard to children from stings).   The decision to declare the incident an emergency will be made by the principal, and the Maintenance Group will be advised accordingly when they are called. 

Additionally, it will be the Board's practice to also advise parents of the impending pesticide application as soon as it is feasible, generally at the time the sign is posted by the applicator.   The details will be  provided so that the form letter (copy attached) can be forwarded to the parents and the children in the affected area or room. 

Information on the commonly used indoor pesticides and application procedures is attached  so that concerns of parents who may call can be addressed. 


Usual or Normal Procedures 

  • Upon request of school, pesticide applicator visits school, posts signage at infested area, and advises principal of intended treatment that will be carried out after 72 hours.  If it is an emergency as declared by principal, he will apply pesticide immediately and post sign. 
  • Principal shall send completed form letter to parents of children in the room or area to be treated (or that has been treated) as soon as possible. 
  • Principal shall arrange for removal of posted sign 72 hours after application of pesticide.

Usual Pesticides Utilized 

Fleas: Insecticide Pyrethrin:  the room is fogged.  The insecticide degrades in 2-4 hours.   However, the room is vacated for 24 hours minimum after application. 

Wasps/Hornets: Insecticide Bagun: spot treatment is used (stream from an aerosol can), usually outside.

Ants: Pesticide Basudin: spot treatment in the room is directed into the corners or areas where insects are seen.  If feasible, ant traps are employed. 

Cockroaches: Pesticide Basudin: spot treatment in the room is directed at baseboard, bottom cupboards, or under sinks where insects are detected. 

Earwigs: Pesticide Basudin: spot treatment is used where insects detected. 

The staff who carry out the pesticide applications are fully qualified and licensed by the provincial government.   They are required to renew their licences every three years and must rewrite provincial examinations to do so.  The pesticides utilized are chosen to be the most specific available for the pest encountered and minimize any side effects.  All applications comply with City Pesticide By-law #4387 (as amended by By-laws #6236 and #6239), the Provincial Pesticide Control Act Regulations and Agriculture Canada Guidelines, and are carried out in accordance with B.C. Workers' Compensation Board publication, Standard Practices for Pesticide Applications.

Further information may be obtained from the Maintenance and Construction Manager at 713-5640.

Dear Parents:

From time to time, our schools are infested with insects such as fleas, ants, or bees.  When this occurs, our Maintenance and Construction Division is required to spray the premises with pesticide.  Usually, this is an individual classroom or storeroom, and the spraying can be isolated without treating the entire school.  Application of this pesticide is carried out by fully qualified and licensed staff, in accordance with Agriculture Canada guidelines, the Provincial Pesticide Control Act Regulations, and City of Vancouver Health By-law #4387.  The staff and students in the area affected will be advised, and the room will be posted.  The children will be kept out of the area until the odour is dissipated.

Our school is presently experiencing an infestation of                                           , and

will be sprayed on                                  .  The room(s) affected is/are                  .

The pesticide that will be used is                                                 (tradename).

If you have concerns regarding the pesticide application or would like to keep your child at home, would you please contact me at                        (Telephone number).

Yours truly,


DMT Responsibility:D-FSS