What Is IPM

IPM stands for Integrated Pest Management.  What does it mean?  It refers to using a multiple point approach to pest management in general, but specifically, it refers to an approach to pest management using a combination of observation, measurement and control methods as part of a developed plan for the protected area.

IPM as specifically described above isn’t a new concept.  It’s been around since at least the 1970’s.  It’s overall intent is to reduce the presence of chemical pesticides in our environment.

It’s a scientific approach to pest management as a process.  The objectives are to identify the pests, develop a plan that measures pest populations and thresh holds to determine what is acceptable and at what point it needs to be “treated”.  It helps us to identify and put into effect a variety of controls that impact the area in a number of ways.

Overall, there are about 7 control areas that are identified in an IPM program.

  1. Cultural
  2. Physical/Environmental
  3. Biological
  4. Chemical
  5. Regulatory
  6. Genetic
  7. Mechanical

IPM is used in a variety of areas: agriculture, human habitation and sanitation, animal husbandry, and more.

Beekeeping, part of animal husbandry, is one of the areas that IPM is gaining in attention.  This is in large part due to the influx of parasitic mites and chemical pesticides over the past twenty years or so.

The heavy reliance on chemical treatment solely has resulted in pest adaptations and resistance to thee chemicals as well as higher residual of chemicals in the environment such as the soil and water sources.

With IPM, the effort to use a variety of controls other than chemicals works to reduce or even sometimes eliminate the need for the use of chemical pesticides.

One of the key points of IPM  is “Exclusion” or keeping the pests out of a controlled area to prevent the need for chemical treatment at all.

Some of you reading this may say to yourselves, “”This all looks like ‘common sense’ stuff.” and you would largely be correct.  Sadly, “common sense” seems to not always be part of the decision making where money, the loss or making of it, is involved.

Did I make up IPM?  No.  This is a culmination of practices, methods, products and processes that has been identified by government, research and education over many years.  IPM is often a key part to training, licensing and regulating those in pest control, agricultural, landscape, health care, food service and other industries.

By educating people in these industries on IPM, there is a common terminology and concepts that allow a large number of people to communicate and work together on the same page.

IPM requires a willingness to use a bit of elbow grease.  To spend a bit more time and effort in applying controls beyond just spraying some chemical on the area and standing around waiting for it to do everything.  By using IPM, though, we will be able to keep available resources like farm-able land, drinkable water, and breathable air to be used over a longer time.


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