Integrated pest management, or IPM, is a relatively new strategy for dealing with pest insects and other animals that farmers and agriculturalists have used for decades.
Recently IPM has started catching on with home gardeners, and in many cases gardeners are following IPM principles without realizing it. IPM is a very effective strategy based around a few core principles, but it helps to know what those principles are.
Not every insect in your lawn or garden is a pest. Many insects are helpful pollinators that allow plants to mature and bear fruits, and others are predators that eat pest insects. For instance, ladybugs eat aphids, a common pest insect, and bees are famous for their help with pollination. Integrated pest management should always start by identifying the pests so you know what to do and which other insects to leave alone.
Once you know what kind of pests you’re dealing with, you should find out how many there are and what they’re doing. Farmers need to spend time checking large fields and making estimates about how many pests there are, but for home gardeners the job is much easier. However, you need to check frequently to get the best results. Spotting an infestation early can make pest management much faster and easier.
3. Threshold Measuring
Sometimes an infestation is so minor that there’s no real need to fix it. A single pest animal could be all alone, and spraying your whole garden with pesticide is just a waste of money. Setting a threshold for IPM means deciding when the cost of a treatment is worth the benefit of removing pests.
4. Solution Integration
Solution integration is the centerpiece of IPM. The point of it is to integrate all the different solutions you can use to fight pests to get the best result possible while spending the smallest amount of money and effort. For instance, if a disease destroys your tomatoes one year then you can buy a resistant tomato strain the next year. If they also attracted ants then you can also set up a chemical barrier around your garden to keep the ants away. You might also move the tomatoes to an unaffected part of your garden.
5. Control Methods
To fully integrate your pest management solutions, you need to understand what control options you have. There are chemical solutions, natural solutions like frost, and manual solutions like managing your garden setup. By understanding how the control methods work, you can set the right priorities and get good results without having to resort to pesticides.
You may already be using IPM in your garden, but if you educate yourself about pests and pest control methods, you can be much more efficient and effective in managing the pest population in your home garden. At Habitat Pest Control, we believe that pest management doesn’t have to include chemicals. If you have a pest problem, contact us today for information, advice, or pest control solutions that will keep your garden and home in good condition.