Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management. It 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, helps manage pest damage by the most economical means, with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.
The IPM approach can be applied to both agricultural and nonagricultural 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. In contrast, organic food production applies many of the same concepts as IPM but limits the use of pesticides to those that are produced from natural sources.
IPM is not a single pest control method. Rather, it is a series of pest management evaluations, decisions, and controls. Integrated pest management is a sustainable approach to managing pests, combining biological, cultural, physical, and chemical tools. Municipalities can encourage homeowners to practice IPM and train/encourage municipal maintenance crews to use these techniques for managing public green areas. There are many methods and types of integrated pest management, including the following:
- Mulching helps prevent weeds where turf is absent. Fencing helps keep out rodents. Netting helps keep out birds and insects away from fruit and leaves.
- Insects can be removed by hand (using gloves or tweezers) and placed in soapy water or vegetable oil. Alternatively, insects can be sprayed off the plant with water or in some cases vacuumed off of larger plants.
- Store-bought traps can be used, such as species-specific, pheromone-based traps or colored sticky cards.
- Sprinkling the ground with abrasive diatomaceous earth can prevent infestations of soft-bodied insects and slugs. Slugs also can be trapped in small cups filled with beer set in the ground.
- In cases where bacteria, fungi or other microscopic organisms are damaging plants, the affected plant material can be removed and disposed. (Pruning equipment should be disinfected with bleach to prevent spreading disease organisms.)
- Small mammals and birds can be excluded using fences, netting, and tree trunk guards.
- Beneficial organisms like bats, birds, green lacewings, ladybugs, praying mantis, ground beetles, parasitic nematodes, trichogramma wasps, seedhead weevils, and spiders can be promoted.
For more information, you may visit the following EPA web site:http://www.epa.gov/opp00001/factsheets/ipm.htm