Pests and their associated damage are a huge problem in the agriculture industry, but relying solely on pesticides may not be the best, or only option. That’s where Integrated Pest Management (IPM) comes into play. Here’s a quick overview of IPM as well as additional resources that you can share with your clients if needed.
What is IPM?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines IPM as, “…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 use of an IPM program is a long-term prevention method that can help farmers reduce the use of pesticides while keeping their crops safe from damage. Rather than simply eliminating pests, IPM focuses on the full environmental impact of pest management methods.
What does an IPM program need to include?
According to Beyond Pesticides, an IPM program must have the following six essential elements:
- Monitoring: Regular inspections to track the types of pest infestations.
- Record-keeping: A method of tracking trends and patterns in outbreaks.
- Action levels: A determination of the population size of pests that would require action to be taken.
- Prevention: A plan for measures that can be incorporated into existing structures as well as new developments.
- Tactics criteria: A plan for using chemicals only as a last resort, and using only the least-toxic options available.
- Evaluation: Ongoing monitoring to determine the success of the IPM program.
If you’d like to share additional IPM resources with your customers, here are a few sites that can provide helpful information: