Integrated Pest Management
What is IPM?
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.
The IPM approach can be applied to both agricultural and non-agricultural settings, such as the home, garden, and workplace. IPM takes advantage of all appropriate pest management options including, but not limited to, the judicious use of pesticides.
IPM is not a single pest control method but, rather, a series of pest management evaluations, decisions and controls.
How do IPM programs work?
Before taking any pest control action, IPM first sets an action threshold, a point at which pest populations or environmental conditions indicate that pest control action must be taken.
IPM programs work to monitor for pests and identify them accurately, so that appropriate control decisions can be made in conjunction with action thresholds. This monitoring and identification removes the possibility that pesticides will be used when they are not really needed or that the wrong kind of pesticide will be used.
As a first line of pest control, IPM programs work to manage the property to prevent pests from becoming a threat. These control methods can be very effective and cost-efficient and present little to no risk to people or the environment.
- Remove sources of food, water and shelter.
- Store food in sealed plastic or glass containers.
- Garbage containing food scraps should be placed in tightly covered trash cans. Remove garbage regularly from your home.
- Fix leaky plumbing and don’t let water accumulate anywhere in the home. Don’t let water collect in trays under your house plants or refrigerator. Don’t leave pet food and water out overnight.
- Clutter provides places for pests to breed and hide and makes it hard to get rid of them. Get rid of things like stacks of newspapers, magazines, or cardboard.
- Close off places where pests can enter and hide. For example, caulk cracks and crevices around cabinets or baseboards. Use steel wool to fill spaces around pipes. Cover any holes with wire mesh.
- Learn about the pests you have and options to control them.
- Check for pests in packages or boxes before carrying them into your home
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.
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.
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