What is Integrated Pest Management?
Integrated Pest Management refers to a system of effective and economical pest control. IPM aims to control pest populations below the environmental harm level. It has been found that most pest control methods are not economical or sustainable, which is one of the reasons why so many homeowners do not implement these methods.
In the past, integrated pest management has focused on the elimination of the pest invaders one by one. However, with the increasing awareness of risks posed by pests, pest control companies have recognized the need to provide broader services such as eliminating pests holistically. In other words, instead of treating an individual pest, pests can be eliminated through a comprehensive integrated pest management plan. This type of system not only saves money but also ensures that the environment remains free from pesticides and other toxic chemicals.
IPM Eco System
- Set Action Thresholds
Before taking any pest control action, Integrated Pest Management first sets an action threshold, a point at which pest populations or environmental conditions indicate that pest control action must be taken. Sighting a single pest does not always mean control is needed. The level at which pests will either become an economic threat is critical to guide future pest control decisions.
Monitor and Identify Pests
Not all insects, weeds, and other living organisms require control. Many organisms are innocuous, and some are even beneficial. IPM programs work to monitor for pests and identify them accurately, so those appropriate control decisions can be made in conjunction with action thresholds. This monitoring and identification remove the possibility that pesticides will be used when they are not really needed or that the wrong kind of pesticide will be used.
As the first line of pest control, IPM programs work to manage the crop, lawn, or indoor space to prevent pests from becoming a threat. In an agricultural crop, this may mean using cultural methods, such as rotating between different crops, selecting pest-resistant varieties, and planting pest-free rootstock. These control methods can be very effective and cost-efficient and present little to no risk to people or the environment.
Once monitoring, identification, and action thresholds indicate that pest control is required, and preventive methods are no longer effective or available, IPM programs then evaluate the proper control method both for effectiveness and risk. Effective, less risky pest controls are chosen first, including highly targeted chemicals, such as pheromones to disrupt pest mating, or mechanical control, such as trapping or weeding. If further monitoring, identifications, and action thresholds indicate that less risky controls are not working, then additional pest control methods would be employed, such as targeted spraying of pesticides. Broadcast spraying of non-specific pesticides is a last resort.