What is IPM?
What is IPM? The eco-friendly, natural approach to control pests and solve pest-related problems is called Integrated Pest Management or IPM. This environmentally-friendly process is applicable to all structures and landscapes and is used to minimize potential health hazards that pesticides can have on people and the environment.
Integrated Pest Management:
Integrated Pest Management is an ecosystem-based pest removal strategy that uses a combination of techniques and integrated methods to provide long-term prevention from troublesome pests.
Experts using IPM combine various techniques like pest inspections, habitat manipulation, pest population monitoring, and prevention. These integrated techniques aid in getting rid of pest infestation and provide lasting protection from mass pest problems.
The thing which discriminates IPM from other pest removal strategies is its focus on non-toxic pest removal strategies which does not rely on pesticides. Pesticides are used in IPM though, but only when the monitoring and inspection indicate there is dire need of these chemicals. Even then, they are used according to proper guidelines in which the pests are their only target.
The procedure through which these pesticides are applied is chosen to reduce their toxicity so that they pose minimal health risks to humans, other harmless living creatures, and the environment. In IPM, pesticides are always used when all the other non-toxic and non-chemical methods have been exhausted. They are picked as the last resort to exterminate the pest infestation.
Critics of IPM argue that IPM depends on spraying pesticides on the pests once they are identified. But that’s not the case. Unlike conventional chemical dependent pest control programs, IPM starts by identifying the root cause of the problem. Once they spot the reasons behind the pest infestations, they’ll first try natural methods. If the natural way doesn’t work out then they safely apply pesticides.
Pesticides provide a temporary fix and if they are used without proper monitoring and inspection, they won’t provide long-term prevention from pest invasion.
There are six essential principles which formulate the base of Integrated Pest Management program and should be implemented for successful pest extermination.
The IPM program kicks off with monitoring and regular inspection of the infected site. Monitoring helps in the correct identification of pest, it’s important because:
- This will help in establishing the best prevention program according to the pest species.
- Properly devised strategies will cut down the usage of pesticides.
- Correct identification of pests will protect other harmless living organisms around from inadvertent life risks.
Pests follow a specific pattern and trend in their outbreaks, to determine that the information taken at every site inspection is properly recorded. Keep the record of following:
- Inspections schedule that was followed
- Techniques used to monitor pests
- The exact location of pest infestation
- Pest classification
- Pest population size and distribution
- Areas vulnerable to pest invasion in future
- Pest treatment and pest control methods to be used and their efficacy.
- Besides the recommendations regarding future prevention should also be recorded.
3. Action Thresholds:
There is no action plan which can completely eradicate pests, but a significant population can be destroyed. For effective pest control measures, setting the action threshold is essential. Action threshold means the size of the pest population which is:
- a nuisance
- is posing threat to human health
- is an economic threat
- or hazardous to the environment.
Action threshold when defined helps in setting up the IPM program and aid in devising the size, intensity, and scope of the IPM.
Key motive of an IPM program is pest prevention and it is done by devising preventive measures which can be incorporated into the existing structure.
Prevention basically refers to the removal of the conditions which can attract pests. These could be either shelter, food, or water.
Preventive measures usually comprise of the following:
- Locating the pests’ entry, exit points and then sealing them (weatherization)
- Cleaning the standing water in the lawn, backyard or anywhere in the building.
- Cleaning the food storage areas, kitchen and dining areas and maintaining the sanitation
- Reducing the clutter around and disposing of all trash
- Disposing of any overgrown vegetation in the lawn
- Installing pest barriers
- Educating the residents about IPM and asking them to cooperate
5: Pest Control:
IPM uses various pest control techniques, integrated carefully to provide effective long-term pest control. Usually, the pest control approaches are grouped into the following categories:
Natural enemies of the pests when are used against them, to control them and damage their population, it is called biological control. Plant pathogens, vertebrates, invertebrates, weeds, etc have quite a lot natural enemies like parasites, pathogens, predators, competitors, etc and under an IPM program, they can be effectively used against pests.
Cultural control incorporates methods which help in reducing pest dispersal, reproduction, establishment, and survival by manipulating the civilizing practices. For instance, altering the traditional irrigation practices of excessive use of water can help in culminating pest infestation, reducing root disease and eradicating weeds.
Mechanical and Physical Control:
In this pest control technique, pests are directly killed or blocked, e.g traps for rats and rodent. Physical control involves tactics through which the surrounding is manipulated and is made unsuitable for pests. For example, if you facing disease in the soil, then steam sterilization of soil will help in disease control and disease management. Mulches can be used for weed control and for placing barriers to help in keeping birds out of the vicinity.
Chemicals should always be the last option in an IPM program, chosen only when all the non-chemical methods proved to be futile against resistant pests. When inevitable, then the least-toxic pesticides should be used in combination with other pest – control techniques. Also, the pesticides should be applied in a way to minimize exposure to humans and other living creatures.
To weigh up the success of the IPM strategies, regular evaluation program of the infected site is essential.
Benefits of IPM:
Integrated Pest Management sounds like a very laborious and prolonged program, but it is highly beneficial. The following are the benefits of IPM:
Children and adults both face serious health risks when are surrounded by pests. People can contract serious diseases through these bugs. Insect bites can also result in serious allergies. When pesticides are used to get rid of pest infestation, they pose major health concerns for people especially children which include respiratory problems, asthma, and allergies.
IPM protects people from pests and pesticides. By adopting eco-friendly pest removal techniques, IPM provides a pest-free environment.
Initially, IPM seems like an expensive, painstaking, and time-consuming process compared to conventional pest removal programs, but it provides long-term benefits. Despite the fact that it requires more upfront resources, the cost will reduce over time as the root cause of the pest infestation has been addressed. It will require fewer follow-up visits and evaluation programs as compared to conventional pest control methods which need a constant follow up program.
IPM is a smart, sensible and sustainable approach towards pest control. It provides an effective, nature-friendly and healthier approach for pest control. It reduces the human contact with pests and pesticides and effectively manages the situation. Practical strategies are used in mechanical and physical control techniques of IPM and provide long-lasting results because the focus is not merely on eradication of pests but on pest control and pest prevention.