The majority of pest problems reported in the Grand Canyon National Park over the last decade relate to structures and/or health concerns. The most common pests reported include cockroaches, scorpions, rodents, ferral cats and skunks. Problems occur when structures in need of repair allow for entry through unpatched holes. Water leaks that are not repaired can also attract these pests. Unsanitary conditions in food preparation areas are the main cause of cockroach infestations. Since 1984, monitoring of cockroaches has taken place using sticky traps. NPS staff began the monitoring. It is now handled by the concession contracted pest applicator.
Another pest that occurs on occasion in concession facilities is the bedbug. This situation seems to develop when infested luggage is brought into the park, making for a difficult management issue. Bedbugs have been reported in concession dormitories and in concession lodging in a very random fashion.
A very serious problem Grand Canyon National Park has experienced is relapsing fever. A soft tick that uses rodents as reservoirs causes this recurring illness. Incidences have been limited to the North Rim and Cottonwood Ranger Station. A major eradication effort took place on the North Rim in 1990 and in the Corridor Ranger district in 1991. A long-term structural monitoring program was then developed to ensure, on a routine basis, that all cabins on the North Rim, and at Roaring Springs, Cottonwood, and Phantom Ranch are adequately rodent-proofed.
Whenever possible, NPS personnel use an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach to solving pest problems. IPM is the selection, integration, and implementation of pest control based on predicted economic, ecological, and sociological consequences. IPM seeks maximum use of naturally occurring pest controls, including weather, disease agents, predators, and parasites. In addition, IPM utilizes various biological modification techniques. The particular method for handling a pest problem is evaluated on a case by case basis, and is influenced by factors such as historical significance of a building or the severity of the hazard to humans. Artificial controls are imposed only as required to keep a pest from surpassing intolerable population levels predetermined from accurate assessments of the pest damage potential and the ecological, sociological, and economic costs of the control measures. IPM has led to the decrease of total pesticide use Servicewide. This improves the health and safety of our applicators and occupants through risk reduction. IPM is an implementation of long term management strategies that identify the problem rather than short-term management strategies that only focus on the symptoms.