Sunday, June 13, 2010

What is Integrated Pest Management?

by Rich Kozlovich

All too often we hear pest control professionals claim that we must follow the methodologies of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to meet modern structural needs.  There is no such thing as IPM in structural pest control because it is based on threshold limits and the threshold limits for the pests we deal with in people's homes and businesses is zero.  The reality is that IPM exists in structural pest control because some government agency says is exists.  That doesn't change the facts, we may be stuck with it, but we need to understand the reality of it.   IPM is an agricultural concept, where it can actually be scientifically defined.    Definitions of IPM on the Web:

Here - The use of different techniques in combination to control pests, with an emphasis on methods that are least injurious to the environment and most specific to the particular pest. For example, pest-resistant plant varieties, regular monitoring for pests, pesticides, natural predators of the pest, and good stand management practices may be used singly or in combination to control or prevent particular pests.

Here  -A combination of biological, cultural, and genetic pest control methods with use of pesticides as the last resort. IPM considers a targeted species' life cycle and intervenes in reproduction, growth, or development to reduce the population. Land use practices are examined for possible change; other animals, birds, or reptiles in the ecosystem are used as natural predators.

Here - A systems approach that combines a wide array of crop production practices with careful monitoring of pests and their natural enemies. IPM practices include use of resistant varieties, timing of planting, cultivation, biological controls, and judicious use of pesticides to control pests. These IPM practices are used in greenhouses and on field crops. IPM systems anticipate and prevent pests from reaching economically damaging levels.

Here - The control of pests or diseases by using an array of crop production strategies, combined with careful monitoring of insect pests or weed populations and other methods.

Here - An approach to pest control that includes biological, mechanical and chemical means. The goal of IPM is to produce a healthy crop in an economically efficient and environmentally sound manner.

Here -A system integrating a range of methods of pest control to produce healthy crops economically and to reduce or minimise risks to human health and the environment.

Here -The procedure of integrating and applying practical management methods, to keep pest species from reaching damaging levels while minimizing potentially harmful effects of pest management measures on humans, non-target species, and the environment, incorporating assessment methods to guide management decisions.

Here -A pest management strategy that includes using traps to monitor for pests on the farm, using sanitation and beneficial insects to control those pests, and applying pesticides in such a way that they pose the least possible hazard, and are used as a 'last resort' when other controls are inadequate.

Here -IPM begins with a set of guidelines. The grower monitors pest populations and develops statistical ceilings for the numbers of each pest species that is acceptable for specific crops. The first method of control is preventive -- or cultural (growing healthy plants). Physical (traps, handpicking insects, row covers) and biological (beneficial insects) controls are applied next. If none of these is effective, the grower resorts to chemical controls (such as insecticides).

Here -A system of controlling insect and diseases by a thorough understanding of the life cycle of the pests and the plants. Chemical controls are used as a last resort.

Here -A pest management strategy that uses field monitoring of pest populations, established guidelines, and economic thresholds to determine if and when pesticide treatments should be utilized. Emphasizes the use of a number of crop management techniques including the conservation of natural enemies and the use of resistant varieties to manage pests.

Here - Maintaining pest populations below a level at which economic damage results by using the least toxic methods.

Here -An ecologically based pest-control strategy that relies on natural mortality factors, such as natural enemies, weather, cultural control methods, and carefully applied doses of pesticides.

Here -A decision making process for managing pest populations that uses a combination of techniques; it includes preventing pest problems, identification, monitoring, use of injury thresholds for decisions, a combination of controls (cultural, physical, mechanical, biological, chemical, etc.) and an evaluation step.

Here -IPM is a complete approach to eliminating pest problems. Identifying pests, determining how to avoid or correct problems, and managing pest populations through a variety of chemical, biological and cultural practices are all involved in a successful IPM program.

• Here -Combined use of biological, chemical, storage and cultivation methods in proper sequence and timing to keep the size of a pest population below that which causes an economically unacceptable loss of a crop or livestock animal.

Here -Pest control strategy employing non-chemical means, such as natural predators, to control crop-damaging pests.

Here -A package of alternatives to conventional pest control methods, which often involve frequent and extensive use of pesticides. The package consists of one or more of the following: (1) growing a healthy, genetically varied crop (cultural control); (2) use of pest-resistant crop varieties (host plant resistance); (3) use of natural enemies to crop pests (biological control); and (4) occasional use of pesticides as a last resort (chemical control).

• Here -A holistic or integrated approach to controlling the risks and damage associated with natural predators, diseases and pests. It involves using site-specific information to determine the most effective combination of physical, chemical, biological, or cultural practices to reduce damage while reducing impacts on the environment, biological diversity and human health.

Here -A process (based on scouting) that anticipates and prevents pests from reaching economically damaging levels. Pests are controlled by using all suitable tactics, including natural enemies, pest resistant plants, mechanical management, and judicious use of pesticides. IPM leads to an economically sound and environmentally safe agriculture. It is a component of ICM and a water quality practice.
Points of importance that can be gleaned from this information are as follows:
1. It is the applicator, farmer, greens keeper or who ever else is responsible for keeping a pest population in control that decides what is to be done and with what, including establishing what the threshold limits are to be.
2. Preventative applications may be necessary in agriculture.
3. Plant varieties are immaterial in structural pest control.
4. Biological controls (other than IGR’s) used in agriculture will not work in structural pest control.
5. There are no natural predators to pests in structures except man.
6. Many of these definitions clearly call IPM pest control. Why then do we have to call it anything other than pest control?
7. IPM is an agricultural concept.
8. IPM is an economic concept.
9. IPM was never presented as an environmental concept first.
10. IPM is a concept that outlines a host of tools and techniques that could be used to manage a pest population.
11. A concept that allows the applicator to determine what tools and techniques would used.
12. IPM was never intended for the structural pest control industry.
This is indicative as to what the problem with IPM really is. It is indefinable — or if you prefer, unendingly definable — according to one’s likes, whims or ideology.  Those who promote IPM in structural pest control are actively promoting an ideology while attempting to disguise it as a methodology; with the ultimate goal of eliminating pesticides.  Those who promote it are known and their track record is clearly anti-pesticide, irrational and misanthropic.  Those in industry who support and promote it are self-serving and short sighted.  That is the reality of it.  Get over it!

Comments will not be accepted that are rude, crude, stupid or smarmy. Nor will I allow ad hominem attacks or comments from anyone who is "Anonymous”.

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