Junior Pest Investigators: Free Educational Resources for Science Teachers

In 2008, Orkin implemented the Junior Pest Investigators (Junior P.I.) program, a curriculum that offers a series of free lesson plans designed for students in grades K-6.

Teachers across the nation use these lesson plans to educate their Junior P.I.s on pests ranging from four-legged rodents to many-legged millipedes. While elementary and middle school students learn intriguing facts about insects, spiders and rodents, they also discover the principles of integrated pest management (IPM) to help control and treat pests. By applying these principles, students often become the catalyst for implementing environmentally friendly methods of pest control at their schools and homes.

To develop the curriculum, Orkin collaborated with SimplySmart, a team of award-winning teachers and writers that specializes in educational materials. The Junior P.I. program follows the National Science Standards and Best Practice Instructional Strategies, and IPM experts reviewed the materials.

The curriculum teaches students about the important roles that insects play in nature.

  • Example: Bees pollinate flowers and crops.

Students also learn about the repercussions of irresponsible pest control.

  • Example: Insecticides intended to treat a pest in the garden could kill bees that pollinate the garden.

You need a responsible and licensed pest management professional who knows how to properly and responsibly treat for pests.

Finally, students learn to apply the principles of integrated pest management.

  • Example: Are there plants that would repel the garden pest without killing the bees? Are there other insects that would eat the garden pest without killing the bees or causing further harm to the garden?

The Junior P.I. program encourages kids to look around their schools and homes and apply what they’ve learned. They learn to store food, to keep screen doors and windows closed and to empty any standing pools of water. They also learn to respect the balance of nature, which prepares them to make better pest management decisions as adults.

Fascinating Facts for Junior P.I.s:

  • Mosquitoes don’t really bite, but the females can suck your blood! The males feed on plants.
  • Ants help create and fertilize soil. It takes 1 million ants to make 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs) of soil.
  • A dragonfly can fly as fast as 31 miles per hour.
  • A cockroach can live for up to one week without its head.
  • A female mouse can give birth when she’s two months old. She can have up to a dozen babies every three weeks.