BY LEIGH PRESLEY
KENOSHA COUNTY UW-EXTENSION
Integrated Pest Management: it’s a mouthful, but consider it a long term for common-sense pest control.
IPM relies on the combination of several techniques to control pests and limit the use of pesticides to situations in which they are essential. IPM can be used to manage pests anywhere — in the home, in a natural area or garden, or in commercial agriculture.
In agriculture, IPM starts with the routine inspection of crops for the presence of pests and any damage they may have caused. Guilty pests are identified properly to select the best methods to control them and limit their damage.
At this point, a producer needs to determine if action against a pest is justified, considering factors like the costs associated with pest management. If management is necessary, a grower may use a combination of controls like traps, physical barriers, releasing a pest’s natural enemies, or chemical controls like pesticides.
In IPM, pesticides are used when absolutely necessary to stop pest damage and in a way that minimizes the potential for harm to people and the environment.
This is an important distinction between IPM and organic growing methods — an IPM program includes the ability to use synthetic pesticides as an effective management tool, while organic programs restrict pesticide use to products made from natural sources. Although IPM is not the same as organic, many organic growers use IPM strategies to combat pests.