What is Integrated Pest Management?
The simple and shortest answer to the question “What is Integrated Pest Management?” would be that it’s a comprehensive pest control plan. But even that definition leaves room for confusion. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is “the implementation of diverse methods of pest controls, paired with monitoring to reduce unnecessary pesticide applications.” The whole goal of this kind of management system is to use as little pesticides and harmful chemicals as possible, while still controlling the pest population.
A Brief History
Did you know that the earliest record of pest control dates back to 2500 B.C.? Apparently, ancient Sumerians looked to sulfur to help combat pest issues. However, it wasn’t until many, many, many years later that the idea of Integrated Pest Management was born. In fact, it was the 1950’s when farmers and scientists noticed insects were becoming immune to the pesticides that were being used, mostly due to the abundant use of these chemicals. Because of this resistance to the pesticides, insects were also coming back more frequently. This article from Texas A&M Agriculture Extension also explains that there was an emergence of “secondary pests;” in addition to the original insects that were being targeted, “natural enemies” of other insects started dying. Basically, it was pest anarchy.
The method of IPM relies on a lessened use of particular insecticides. This ensures that the enemies of some of our most pesky insects will be able to do their natural predatory job. Eventually other techniques were added to the management umbrella to include things like crop rotation.
What Does IPM Mean for the Average Homeowner?
Integrated Pest Management looks a little different when it comes to combatting a roach infestation in your kitchen. This is because the average homeowner is not looking for a pest control plan that rivals the American farmer. Traditionally, IPM looks at a variety of factors to help farmers keep pests out of their crops, but these can be easily reimagined for homeowners.
IPM starts with an initial inspection by a pest control professional, like Economic Exterminators. From there, the plan is a combination of preventative techniques (like a maintenance plan from your pest control company or getting your crawlspace encapsulated) and steps that you take to aid the prevention process (such as keeping your yard clear of debris to prevent fire ants).
Benefits of IPM
The rewards of Integrated Pest Management will differ from the commercial to the residential. The two of the larger benefits remain the same, regardless of the person using the technique:
- Although many professional pest control companies (like Economic Exterminators) use chemicals that aren’t harmful to humans, there are plenty of chemicals out there that are dangerous to be repeatedly exposed to.
- By opting for a regular, comprehensive kind of pest management plan, you decrease the chances of any serious damage being done to your home from pests, which can save you tons of money down the road! (We’ve written extensively about the damage that certain pests can do to your home, but termites come to mind as one of the more destructive pests out there.)
The moral of the story? IPM is a carefully weighed relationship between pesticide-use and nature. It helps the environment, reduces the reliance on and use of chemicals, and saves money. Thankfully, our pest control technicians are trained in IPM and ready to safely eliminate your pest issues.