Advantages of Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
There are many advantages in using the IPM pest management approach:
Maintaining a Balanced Ecosystem: Ecosystems are comprised of living and non-living components that are intricately linked as effects of one species within the system may affect other species (positively or negatively) due to the reliance at different trophic levels. Ideally, and in many cases this is true, functional redundancy is present within a system, and organisms can adapt as the ecosystem evolves and species composition changes at different trophic levels. Using chemical controls can reduce pests, but may also reduce species of organisms that reduce pest species themselves within the ecosystem. By using and IPM approach, we aid in maintaining ecosystem stability while controlling pest problems.
Examples of some preventative IPM techniques:
- Cultural Controls (i.e., changes that disturb the natural environment of the pest)
- Structural Modifications
- Biological Controls (i.e., beneficial organisms)
- Physical Barriers
- Use of Pheromones (i.e., natural insect scents)
- Pest-Resistant Varieties
Monitoring is another important component of the IPM strategy. Monitoring involves:
- Regular checks of the area
- Early detection and documentation of pests
- Proper identification of pests
- Identification of the effects of biological control agents
Assessment is the process of determining the potential for pest populations to reach an economic threshold (i.e., depletes the value of the crop below an established bottom line) or an intolerable level. Keep records from previous years so you can refer back to them. Watching the weather patterns and historical data will give you a good idea when and if a pest problem may occur.
One also needs to determine the action needed in order to address the pest problem. If pests reach an economic threshold (farmers) or intolerable levels (homeowners) action must be taken. When no other strategy will bring the pest population under a tolerance threshold, then the use of chemical pesticides is probably justified - if applied properly (i.e., according to label standards). At this point, use of sccosoastalpestcides.org decision-making toolbox will be an important component of the final measures taken in order to neutralize a pest problem. Use of the data portal will also be a critical component in final decisions as it will increase the accuracy of impact assessments of a pesticides based on geographical characteristics as well as the physical and chemical properties of the pesticide. You have now taken the necessary steps to assess you pest problem and the different possible solutions. When your making your final decision for application, consider upcoming storm events, wind speed, and where you are in relation to water and what floodplain zone you are in (data portal). Also, make sure to use appropriate PPE and application rates and methods listed on the label. These tools will ultimate lead you to the appropriate pesticide for your pest situation.
The IPM material covered above, and more detailed information on IPM can be accessed at:
- National Pesticide Information Center
- eXtension Educational Partnership
- The Environmental Protection Agency
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