The Basics of Integrated Pest Management.

Integrated pest management (IPM) is a practice that focuses on the long-term management of pests through environmentally sensitive methods. IPM utilizes strategies such as habitat manipulation and biological, physical and cultural pest control methods to discourage pest activity. Chemical methods used in IPM are mindful of the environment. The approach is applicable in agricultural settings, in homes and in the workplace.

The following is a description of how IPM works.

Pest Monitoring.

Integrated pest management involves monitoring pests to identify the stage that they become necessary to control. Pests must be distinguished from beneficial animals. Modern technological systems such as remote sensing, forecasting systems and geographic information systems (GIS) are critical in large-scale pest monitoring.

Pest Prevention.

Various prevention strategies are employed to deter pest activity. Keeping your home clean and sealing off pest entry points are effective prevention mechanisms. Crop rotation, soil management, proper harvesting and storage, planting pest-resistant crops and water management practices are prevention measures applicable on agricultural land. Ultimately the pest prevention measure has to be environmentally friendly. 

Setting the Threshold.

Before initiating any pest control activities, an action threshold must be set. This is the point at which pest activity becomes intolerable or threatens human activities. For instance, sighting one pest does not necessarily warrant the need for pest control.

Pest Control.

Once pests have reached the action threshold and preventive mechanisms are no longer viable, pest control is initiated. Below are some pest control mechanisms used in IPM.

Biological methods: A popular technique is the introduction of the pest's natural enemies. Introduction of fungi or bacteria also helps to deter pest activity. Increased research in biotechnology has led to the development of sex pheromones that disrupt the mating cycles of pests. Scientists have also been able to produce micro-organisms that cause disease in pests. 

Cultural and physical methods: Practices such as weeding, the use of crop nets, the use of crop fleeces, physically removing pests, trapping pests and burning their breeding grounds are pest management strategies considered in IPM.

Chemical Methods: Chemicals used in IPM aim to control pests in an environmentally friendly approach. People are educated and encouraged to handle chemicals responsibly to improve their efficiency and reduce their environmental impact. Strategies such as spot spraying and proper timing are utilized.

Integrated pest management aims to control pests through environmentally sensitive methods. It comprises pest monitoring, pest prevention, setting the threshold for pest activity and activating pest control when necessary.

Contact a pest control company to learn more about pest management.