What is Integrated Pest Management?

What is Integrated Pest Management?
April 11 19:20 2016

Integrated pest management, otherwise referred to as IPM, is a method that can be used to deal with pest problems, while simultaneously minimizing the risk to people and to the environment. IPM may be used as a way to manage all pest species and in any location – agricultural land, urban areas, and natural habitats.

How does the process work?

IPM focuses on the long-term prevention of damage caused by pests, through the management of the ecosystem. When implementing IPM, you take variable actions as a way to reduce any potential for pest problems, such as, in terms of agricultural practices, planting healthy crops that are able to withstand attack from pests, relying on disease-resistant plant stock, or in the case of your property, caulking cracks around the perimeter of your home or business to prevent insects, and/ rodents from gaining entry to the building.

As opposed to eliminating a pest that you see with immediate effect, IPM dictates that you consider the various environmental factors that impact the pest as well as it’s capacity to thrive. Together with this information, you can generate conditions that are unfavorable to the pest.

With respect to IPM, the monitoring and the correct identification of the pest will help you to make a decision as to whether it is necessary to formulate a management plan.

Monitoring could involve checking the surrounding landscape, around your property, in a forest, et cetera. In this way, you can then identify the pests that are in existence, what their approximate numbers are, and what damage they have already caused to date. Correct identification of the pest is key to understanding its likelihood of being a problem at a future date, if it is not already. Furthermore, it helps to determine the best management strategy.

After the monitoring of information pertaining to the pest, including its biology and also the environmental factors, you can make a decision as to the capacity to tolerate the pest or should it represent a serious problem that warrants control. Should control be required, this same information will help in the selection of the optimal management methods and the best time to implement them.

IPM programs bring together management approaches for the provision of greater effectiveness.

Over the long term, the most appropriate way to manage pests is through a combination of methods which work better when used together as opposed to separately.

Approaches for the management of pests are frequently grouped together into the following categories:

Cultural controls

Cultural controls represent practices that work in the reduction of pest reproduction, establishment, survival, and dispersal. As an example, altering irrigation practices may reduce a pest problem, given that overwatering can induce an increase of root disease and weed growth.

Biological control

Biological control is when a pest’s natural enemy is used – parasites, predators, competitors, and pathogens – in order to control the pest and the damage they cause. Plant pathogens, invertebrates, weeds, nematodes, and vertebrates all have a certain number of natural enemies.

Mechanical and physical controls

These forms of control serve to kill a particular pest in direct fashion or to enhance the environment in such a way that it becomes unsuitable as a habitat. One popular example of mechanical control is the use of traps for rodents. On the other hand, physical controls involve the use of soil steam sterilization for disease management, the implementation of barriers perhaps in the form of screens to deter insects and birds, or the use of mulches to encourage weed management.

Chemical control

Chemical control relies on the use of pesticides. Pesticides are used in IPM only when necessary, and in combination with alternative approaches which afford a more efficacious, longer term action. Pesticides are selected and then applied in such a way that it minimizes potential harm to people and to the environment. In IPM, pesticides will be chosen dependent on their capacity to function well, and also remain the safest for alternative organisms, for the air, the soil, and for water quality.

IPM programs

The following IPM principles and practices all combine to form IPM programs in general. Though each scenario is different, there are five major components which remain common to every IPM program:

  • Identification of pests
  • The monitoring and assessment of pest numbers and pest damage
  • Guidelines to be implemented when a management action is called for
  • The prevention of pest problems
  • The use of a combination of cultural, biological, mechanical/ physical, and chemical management regimes

For an expert of IPM practices and implementation, call on Gecko Pest Control in Chico.

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Umair Idrees
Umair Idrees

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