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Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management

You might think that when dealing with a pest in your garden, an insecticidal spray or bug bomb is the best solution. Unfortunately, the same products that kill the pest also leave behind a chemical residue. This is an issue if you are close to harvest and organic counterparts can be too mild or ineffective. In situations like these, you’ve pretty much lost a good part, if not all of your crop to these pests.

In an effort to eliminate the use of pesticides while still keeping pest populations at an acceptable level, Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, was developed and refined over the course of about 150 years. IPM is pest control program equipped with an arsenal of pest information and common sense methods aimed at keeping pests subdued.

Here is a summary of the key steps involved in a typical IPM program:

1. Action Threshold: First, determine the level at which a pest will become a threat. It could be one or two bugs or a certain number per plant. Atmospheric conditions will also have to be taken into consideration as they effect the life cycle and activity of pests. Setting a threshold will help insure that you use a method of control appropriately and efficiently.

2. Identify and Monitor: There are different types of pests; harmful, neutral, and beneficial. Correctly identifying the pest and familiarizing yourself with it’s life cycle and reproductive habits will help you to determine how you build your pest management program. Constantly monitoring the level and location of activity will notify you of whether or not the threshold has been crossed.

3. Preventative: An important step in controlling harmful pests - these measures could very well mean the difference between control and outbreak. For example, a diverse crop will make it harder for a single pest to thrive; in mono-cultures (growing a single variety of plant), once a pest has figured out how to break the defenses of one plant, they can ravage the entire crop. Other practices include maintaining healthy plants, as they are more resistant to pests and disease, removing dead or dying foliage and diseased plants to prevent the spread of infection, and planting pest free root-stock.

4. Control: When signs from monitoring indicate that a threshold has been crossed, a control method must be initiated. Methods include mechanical control, biological control and chemical control. Usually, you want to start with the least risky of the methods. Mechanical methods include bug traps, hand picking, vacuuming, and physical barriers. When mechanical methods are obviously not working, a biological control will have to be used. They includes beneficial insects that feed on the target pest, pheromones that disrupt mating habits, and biological insecticides derived from naturally occurring substances. Synthetic pesticides should be used as a last resort and only at specific points in a pests life cycle.

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  • Pest Control

    The step by step information is very helpful and explained in detail so that everyone can understand and follow it. Thanks for the advice and the great article.

  • Marcko

    We can find a lot of pest control companies over the internet but recently I found out a best pest control NYC that is PositivePest exterminator.

  • Bed Bug Exterminator NYC

    More and more we are hearing from customers that they want non invasive – non toxic pest control – this is a great article – thanks for posting.