What is Integrated Pest Management?
December 2, 2020
In the past, pest control used to go something like, “see the pest, call the pest control company, get rid of the pest.” But in recent years, that has changed with the introduction of something called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This might be a term that you’ve heard used in correspondence with your pest control company, but what is it exactly? And why has it become the industry standard as opposed to the traditional methods of extermination and/or capturing? We have some answers.
Integrated Pest Management, Defined
Integrated pest management, as defined by the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources School, is “an ecosystem-based strategy that focuses on long-term prevention of pests or their damage through a combination of techniques such as biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices, and use of resistant varieties. Pesticides are used only after monitoring indicates they are needed according to established guidelines, and treatments are made with the goal of removing only the target organism. Pest control materials are selected and applied in a manner that minimizes risks to human health, beneficial and nontarget organisms, and the environment.”
So that’s a bit of a mouthful, but in short Integrated Pest Management is a form of pest control that uses targeted treatments and exclusionary methods to get ahead of the game on pest problems. Instead of “see the pest, treat the pest” it’s “before you see the pest, prevent it”. It’s a safer, more proactive approach.
Examples of Integrated Pest Management
To further illustrate Integrated Pest Management in action, let’s take a look at a few common examples:
Minimizing Pest-Friendly Conditions
There are 3 things that are essential to any pest’s survival and contributes greatly to the places that they choose to make their homes: water, food, and shelter. One tactic deployed by the IPM process is to minimize the access to a bug or critters' 3 vital resources. How is it done? There are a few ways:
- Home barriers
- Vacuuming water
- Lawn care, such as consistent mowing
- Eliminating access to food, particularly outdoor trash
These minimizing actions are done in collaboration with customers, with pest control specialists and customers working together to create a plan that makes properties and homes less accessible and less appealing to pests from mosquitoes and fire ants to raccoons and squirrels.
Pests can also be mitigated using biological methods. Some particular predators and parasites can act as a sort of organic, all-natural form of pest control. One example of this is a type of “parasitic wasp” that has shown some evidence of helping to control urban cockroaches. Another example would be a creature like bats, who can act as a natural deterrent to mosquitoes because mosquitoes are a part of a bat’s diet. This of course brings about the issue of then dealing with a bat presence, which is why biological methods of pest control are not the norm when it comes to professional IPM.
Wait a minute, isn’t chemical pest control the sort of thing that IPM tries to move away from? Not exactly. Chemical methods are still used in IPM, but they are used in a much more specific way than they used to be, because chemicals themselves have become much more pest-specific. Instead of broadly applying a kill-all chemical, pest control specialists now utilize chemicals that are more hyper-focused. One example of this is newer termite control methods that baits termites specifically and prevents them from maturing, eliminating the problem before it even becomes a problem.
Why is Integrated Pest Management Beneficial?
IPM has many benefits for the safety of homes, but it also has lots of benefits for entire communities, not to mention environmental aspects:
- Promotes sound structures and healthy plants
- Promotes sustainable bio-based pest management alternatives.
- Reduces environmental risk associated with pest management by encouraging the adoption of more ecologically benign control tactics
- Reduces the potential for air and groundwater contamination
- Protects non-target species through the reduced impact of pest management activities.
- Reduces the need for pesticides by using several pest management methods
- Reduces or eliminates issues related to pesticide residue
- Reduces or eliminates re-entry interval restrictions
- Decreases worker, tenant, and public exposure to pesticides
- Alleviates public concern about pest and pesticide-related practices
- Maintains or increases the cost-effectiveness of a pest management program
Accessing IPM Pest Control
At A-1 Pest Control we serve western North Carolina and include many Integrated Pest Control tactics in our pest control treatment methodology. If you find yourself in a situation where you are dealing with a pest issue, you can rest easy knowing that the folks at A-1 will take care of the problem safely and efficiently, using the most modern tactics and techniques available in the industry. Just get in touch with us to schedule your free estimate!