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Competency Area 1: Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

PO 1. Know the definition of IPM and the major IPM strategies.

“Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a sustainable approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health, and environmental risks”. (National IPM Network).

As defined in the National IPM Roadmap, Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is a long-standing, science-based, decision-making process that identifies and reduces risks from pests and pest management related strategies. It coordinates the use of pest biology, environmental information, and available technology to prevent unacceptable levels of pest damage by the most economical means, while posing the least possible risk to people, property, resources, and the environment. IPM provides an effective strategy for managing pests in all arenas from developed residential and public areas to wild lands. IPM serves as an umbrella to provide an effective, all encompassing, low-risk approach to protect resources and people from pests.

Another definition: “Integrated pest management (IPM) is socially acceptable, environmentally responsible and economically practical crop protection”.

Integrated means that a broad interdisciplinary approach is taken using scientific principles of crop protection to fuse into a single system a variety of management strategies and tactics.
Pest traditionally defined as any organism that interferes with production of the crop.
Management is the decision making process to control pest populations in a planned, systematic way
by keeping their numbers or damage at economically acceptable levels.

Key Components of IPM include:
• Integrates management of all pests.
• A way of dealing with pest problems while minimizing risks to human health and the environment.
• Weighs the economic or quality risks of pests and pest control methods used.
• Knowledge-based pest management.
• Reduces pests to tolerable levels – does not emphasize pest eradication or elimination.
• Prevention vs. reactive pest control.
• Holistic approach; ecologically based.
• Uses a diversity of pest control measures.
• Pesticides are used only as a last resort.

What does IPM integrate?
• Multiple pest management tactics (chemical, biological, cultural, mechanical).
• Management of multiple pests (insects, diseases, weeds, vertebrates, etc.).
• Pest Management tactics on an area-wide basis (many pest control situations are better handled
on a large-scale or regional basis).

General IPM Strategies (From: Diane G. Alston, Extension Entomologist Department of Biology
Utah State University, Logan UT'96.pdf).
Do-nothing – Is the pest economically/aesthetically significant? Use sampling and knowledge of
economic/aesthetic thresholds to make a decision; if pest population is below the
economic/aesthetic threshold, the control is not justified.
Reduce Numbers – Implement on a treat-as-needed basis when the economic injury level is
reached, or as a preventative tactic based on history of a pest problem. Examples of tactics
pesticides, release of natural enemies, cultural practices such as cultivation, sanitation, etc.
Reduce-crop/host/ecosystem susceptibility – rely on changes made in the host (pan t or animal) or
ecosystem that make it less susceptible to the pest (i.e., raise the economic injury level).
Examples of tactics host plant (or animal) resistance r tolerance, cultural practices such as
fertilization (reduce stress) and altering the synchrony between pest and susceptible host, etc.
Combined strategies –Diversification is often helpful in improving consistency of a pest
management program.

Examples of pest management options are presented in the figure on the left.

Another way of looking at selecting pest management options is to view them as a pyramid where options are arranged as a pyramid. The pyramid illustrates a least toxic approach to pest management. The foundation contains practices such as crop rotation that enhance crop health and help prevent or avoid pest population build up or reduce pest impacts. As one climbs the pyramid towards the top different options are employed as necessary as interventions to pest population buildup or impact.