Integrated Pest Management:
Definition & Benefits of IPM
Integrated pest management (IPM) refers to a way in which you can alleviate pest issue while reducing risks to human health, the environment as well as the non-targeted animals.
The ideal IPM program ought to involve minimal or no pesticide use in the monitoring, prevention as well as control of a pest problem. The ecosystem-based method of pest control combines various eco-friendly techniques like biological control, cultural practice change and the manipulation of the habitat, among others.
The use of pesticide is only limited to scenarios whereby the monitoring of a pest issue shows the necessity of the chemicals. However, the use of pesticides in this approach should be by the set guidelines while the administration of treatment should aim at the removal of the targeted organisms only.
IPM can be applied anywhere, whether urban or rural, to manage any type of pests. It involves an analysis of the environmental factors that favor the survival of a specific pest type in the certain area, and then, conditions unfavorable for the pests are created in order make their survival in that place difficult. For instance, sealing of wall cracks and crevices to prevent insects, mice, and rats from getting into a house or commercial premises.
Common IPM Methods
To provide long-term solutions to various pest problems, IPM uses a combination of various compatible methods that produce a better-combined effect when working together as compared to the sum of their impact when they are used separately.
The following are the common categories of pest management approaches under integrated pest management:
In biological control, animals that are enemies to certain pests are used to eradicate the pests. The enemies could be predators, pathogens or parasitoids.
For instance, parasitic wasps can be released to a vegetable farm with an aphid infestation to control aphids. While on the farm, the wasps will lay eggs on the aphids and the latter eventually die once the eggs hatch, and the young wasps start to develop. This will lead to a drastic reduction of aphid population in the farm.
Cultural controls refer to the manipulation of the environment or performance of other practices with the aim of interrupting the lifecycle of pests. Cultural controls prevent pests from spreading, surviving reproducing and establishing.
Mechanical and physical control
Mechanical and physical controls aim to prevent pests from accessing a specific place, kill them, or create an unfavorable environment for their survival.
A good example of mechanical pest control is the use of traps to kill rodents or bar them from entering a building or a farm. On the other hand, an example of physical pest control is the use of barriers like screens to prevent insects getting into your house.
Chemical control refers to the utilization of pesticides to kill pests. In IPM, the use of these chemicals, among others, is limited to specific scenarios which have been found to require the use of the toxins.
Besides, integrated pest management requires that the use of pesticides be combined with more effective pest management approaches as well as long-term pest control methods.
Additionally, the selection and the application of pesticides should be done in a manner that reduces their potential risks to the environment, human beings and other non-target animals.
“In IPM, the use of these chemicals, among others, is limited to specific scenarios which have been found to require the use of the toxins.”
Benefits of IPM
Although IPM is a more laborious pest control approach and more initial resources as compared to the traditional pest control methods, it is very cost effective in the long run. Another benefit of IPM is that it offers other financial benefits that are not related to pests.
For instance, by sealing cracks and other voids in your house’s wall, windows, and doors, you will not only manage to prevent pests from entering but will also reduce your heating bills during cold seasons. Also, the pest management program minimizes the exposure of non-target organisms, humans and the environment to pesticides.
Integrated pest management is indeed the way to go for safe, economical and long-term solutions to various pest issues.***