Integrated Pest Management
Integrated Pest Management ("IPM")
What is IPM?
Integrated Pest Management is a process consisting of the balanced use of cultural, biological, and chemical procedures that are environmentally compatible, economically feasible, and socially acceptable to reduce pest populations to tolerable levels.
Integrated means many strategies are used together to avoid or solve a pest problem. For example, strategies would involve understanding of pest life styles, knowing how to make structures unattractive to pest, and knowledge of which pesticides are least toxic to non-pest animals and humans. In addition, understanding the tolerance level of the individual property owner is important in knowing how aggressive pest treatment must be.
Pests are unwanted organisms that are a nuisance to humans or domestic animals, and/ore can cause injury to humans, animals, plants, structures, or possessions.
Management is the process of making decisions in a systematic way to keep pests form reaching intolerable levels. Small populations of pests can often be tolerated and total eradication is often not necessary.
Why is IPM better than traditional pest "extermination"?
Older methods of "extermination" used increasingly powerful and poisonous chemicals to eradicate pests, and resulted in environmental damage, and creation of chemically resistant pests. Many of us are familiar with DDT and damage to bird populations, and of resistance of the cotton boll weevil to pesticides.
IPM is much gentler to the environment, and control methods are more narrowly targeted to specific pests. Instead of artificial pesticides, many of the currently used chemicals are based on extracts from plants and are harmless to people and animals. Some depend on insect hormones, or interrupt insect life cycles. Because insects are built very differently from plants, humans, and pets, these more natural chemicals are gentle to these other organisms. This results in less use of pesticides, less potential danger to humans, pets, and plants, and less development of resistance to pesticides so that low doses remain effective.
owever, Integrated Pest Management requires a more active role on the part of the home owner and a partnership relationship with us for maximum control.
IPM is a process that involves four major steps:
Prevention - consider the life style of the pest, and use. Example: it is a good idea to keep wood away from a structure, making for a sort of desert that can be daunting for termites to cross. Keep mulch away from foundations and keep all plant life from touching the structure.
Monitoring - check for signs of the pest and for maintenance of barriers to infestation. Example: our termite monitoring involves monthly checking for signs of live termites in the wood used in the monitor stations.
Assessment - establish a standard for when action must be taken to regain control. Example: if more than five termites are seen in a monitoring station, that triggers action. One or two termites are not always a trigger for action because there are not sufficient numbers to carry bait back to the nest. It is often advantageous to wait for the termite colony to show real interest in the monitoring wood before switching them to poison bait. This assessment is based on knowledge of how termites act.
Action (control measures) - act when pests have exceeded the threshold amount. Example: once termites have signaled their nest to feed on wood in a monitor location, shown by many termites in a monitoring station, switch to bait in that station. The termites will eat the bait and bring it back to the nest, which will cause their nest mates and their egg-laying queen to die.
The examples are about termites, but we use the same steps for all pests. We are happy to describe our process if you are interested. We will work together to determine a tolerance level you are comfortable with (sometimes zero) and we will help you achieve that level. Once an immediate problem is handled, we seek to work with you to prevent future problems.