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Convergent Lady Beetle

An overview of Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is the coordinated use of pest and environmental information with available pest control methods to prevent unacceptable levels of pest damage by the most economical means and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment (EPA definition).

Why IPM?
Synthetic chemical pesticides can be detrimental to the environment by way of:
  • Water contamination
  • Pest Resistance
  • Detrimental to non-target organisms
Biological magnification occurs by increasing the toxicity of poisonous substances as those substances move up the food chain.
Where can we implement IPM?
  • In the home (Family and Consumer Sciences) – insects and disease pathogens that inhabit the home
  • On the farm (Agriculture) – weeds, insects and disease pathogens that are problems for farmers
  • In the garden or landscape (Horticulture) – weeds, insects and disease pathogens which we encounter in an outdoor homeowner setting
Basic Principles of IPM:

1.Cultural management – An example of this is utilizing the 4 R’s of fertilization application (right place, right source, right time, right rate). Also, proper mowing, pruning and irrigation management.

2. Prevention – An example of preventative management includes adequate sanitation of hands and equipment. This decreases the spread of disease spores. Also utilizing crop rotation which keeps pest populations to a minimum.

3. Identification of insects -Not all insects, weeds, and other living organisms require control. Many organisms are innocuous, and some are even beneficial. Having this knowledge will assist with making good management decisions.

4. Scouting and monitoring – The goal is to prevent pests from reaching damaging levels based upon economics, health and aesthetics. Frequent monitoring will help determine when pests have reached certain threshold levels and further action should be taken.

5. Intervention – Try using strategies that cause as little harm as possible to everything except the pest. Typical options for intervention include mechanical, biological, and chemical control methods.

Summary of IPM:

The goal of IPM is to…

DECREASE:

  • Pest outbreaks & disease epidemics
  • Environmental contamination
  • Human health hazards
  • Pest management costs
  • Pest resistance

INCREASE:

  • Reliability
  • Sustainability

For more information on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies, please contact your local UF/IFAS Natural Resources, Agriculture, Horticulture or Family and Consumer Sciences  Extension Agent.

Modified from a presentation by Carolyn Saft.

UF/IFAS Extension in Suwannee County is an Equal Opportunity Institution.

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