rat peering through cage

Integrated Pest
Management (IPM)

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Integrated Pest Control Management

Long term prevention of pests

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a pest control management system which encourages strategies specifically aimed at sensibly managing pest problems which minimise risk to health and the environment.

The main philosophy underpinning IPM is to encourage actions and processes to help prevent pests becoming a problem in the first instance. Instead of the traditional practice of eliminating pests, the focus should be on examining and managing the environmental conditions that help pests thrive. By doing this, it may make it feasible to avoid or reduce practices such as “calendar spraying” which can cause unwanted environmental damage and can increase pesticide resistance, thereby requiring more intense spraying each year. These proactive techniques can also involve relatively simple actions such as filling cracks and holes or clearing areas where pests like to reside.

A key element of IPM is pest monitoring and inspection which should be carried out at regular intervals. This helps identify the exact nature of the particular pest problem and what level of pest control management is required.

Pest control management techniques can be broadly classified as follows:

  • Biological control – Using the pest’s “natural enemies” e.g. predatory insects, parasites, pathogens. Supplier advice should be sought so that their introduction is carried out in the correct way.
  • Cultural controls – Practices that reduce pest establishment, reproduction, dispersal, and survival.
  • Mechanical and physical controls – e.g. Rat traps, bird deterrents.
  • Chemical control – Using pesticides. With IPM pesticides should be used selectively and in such a way as to minimise any environmental damage. This may also mean using pesticides in combination with other methods.

5 Key Components of an IPM Programme

Each pest control management problem is unique but generally each of the components below will play an integral role in any Integrated Pest Management programme.

  1. Pest identification – Important to ensure that the right control measures are taken and that they don’t make the situation worse.
  2. Monitoring and assessing pest numbers and damage – Early monitoring is essential to minimise pest activity.
  3. Guidelines and clear policies giving direction when action is needed.
  4. Preventing pest problems – procedures to be adopted to prevent a pest control problem occurring in the first place.
  5. Using a combination of biological, cultural, physical/mechanical and chemical management tools to ensure minimal health and environmental damage.