Innovative card deck teaches IPM concepts


September 18, 2019

Pest management professionals (PMPs) can now purchase a deck of cards that illustrates key integrated pest management (IPM) concepts.

From left are Frannie Miller and Brooke Garcia, co-authors of the K-State IPM card deck. PHOTO COURTESY OF FRANNIE MILLER

From left are Frannie Miller and Brooke Garcia, co-authors of the K-State IPM card deck. PHOTO COURTESY OF FRANNIE MILLER

Frannie Miller, pesticide safety and IPM coordinator at Kansas State University (K-State), came up with the idea of designing a card deck that could be used as a fun tool to educate the public about IPM.

“A card deck provided us with an innovative medium to teach IPM concepts in an interactive manner. It allows applicators to play games and learn at the same time,” says Miller.

She won a grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Crop Protection and Pest Management Program for the idea, and the K-State Integrated Pest Management team took up the project. Miller co-authored the deck with Brooke Garcia, a training support specialist at K-State.

Each suit in the deck provides a visual representation of a key IPM control method — cultural, biological, mechanical and chemical — and each card provides examples and information that help define these IPM principles. The goal is to inform users about IPM strategies and improve implementation of those strategies, explains Garcia.

Miller says applications for the deck are limited only by the creativity of the user, whether science teacher looking for a learning tool or gardener aiming to control harmful pests. The K-State IPM team is currently making preparations to use the deck in its applicator training this fall.

While Miller reports the team hasn’t received any requests for the cards from PMPs yet, she envisions a variety of engaging uses.

“The cards might be a unique gift for employees, a unique teaching tool to discuss how we use integrated pest management in our daily activities, or as an ice breaker activity at office meetings,” says Miller.

The IPM team at K-State is just beginning to explore the educational possibilities.

“Ideas have included drawing several cards and having students write about those tactics [and] playing a form of blackjack where a scenario is presented and the group has to come up with a management plan based on their hands,” reports Miller.

Card decks can be purchased online at K-State’s IPM site.


About the Author

Ellen Kriz

Ellen Kriz is the managing editor for PMP magazine. She can be reached at or 216-706-3764.

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