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Integrated Pest Management

IPM is also known as Integrated Pest Control (IPC) is a broad-based approach that integrates practices for economic control of pests. IPM aims to suppress pest populations below the Economic Injury Level (EIL). The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization defines IPM as “the careful consideration of all available pest control techniques and subsequent integration of appropriate measures that discourage the development of pest populations and keep pesticides and other interventions to levels that are economically justified and reduce or minimize risks to human health and the environment. IPM emphasizes the growth of a healthy crop with the least possible disruption to agro-ecosystems and encourages natural pest control mechanisms.”

IPM Application :
IPM approach can be applied to agriculture, horticulture, forestry, human habitations, preventive conservation and general pest control, including structural pest management, ornamental pest management and turf pest management.

The IPM takes advantage of all pest management options, but not limited to, the judicious use of pesticides. The organic food production applies the use of pesticides that are produced from natural sources, as opposed to synthetic chemicals.

IPM programs :
IPM is not a single pest control method but, a series of pest management evaluations, decisions and controls. In practicing IPM, growers who are aware of the potential for pest infestation follow a four-tiered approach. 

The Six IPM Program Essentials are as follows –

Monitoring and Identifying Pests :

Beneficial Bugs

This includes regular site inspections and trapping to determine the types and infestation levels of pests at each site.

Harmful Bugs

Not all insects, weeds, and other living organisms require control. Many organisms are innocuous, and some are even beneficial. IPM programs work to monitor for pests and identify them accurately, so that appropriate control decisions can be made in conjunction with action thresholds. This monitoring and identification removes the possibility that pesticides will be used when they are not really needed or that the wrong kind of pesticide will be used.

Keeping Records :
This system is essential to establish trends and patterns in pest outbreaks. Information recorded at every inspection or during treatment should include pest identification, population size, distribution, recommendations for future prevention and complete information on the treatment action.

Actions :
Pests are virtually never eradicated. An action level is the population size which requires remedial action for human health, economic, or aesthetic reasons. Before taking any pest control action, IPM first sets, a point at which pest populations or environmental conditions indicate that pest control action must be taken.

Prevention / controls :
Prevention is and should be the primary means of pest control in an IPM program. IPM programs work to manage the crop, lawn, or indoor space to prevent pests from becoming a threat. In an agricultural crop, this may mean using cultural methods, such as crop rotations, selecting pest-resistant varieties and planting pest-free root stock. These control methods can be very effective and cost-efficient with little to no risk to people or the environment.
Once monitoring, identification and action boundary shows that pest control is required and preventive methods are no longer effective or available, IPM programs then evaluate the proper control method both for effectiveness and risk. Effective, less risky pest controls are chosen first, including highly targeted chemicals, such as pheromones to disrupt pest mating or mechanical control, such as trapping or weeding. If further monitoring, identifications and action boundary shows that less risky controls are not working, then additional pest control methods would be employed, such as targeted spraying of pesticides. Broadcast spraying of non-specific pesticides is a last resort.

Strategy :
Under IPM, chemicals should be used only as a last resort only, but when used, the least-toxic materials should be chosen, and applied to minimize exposure to humans and all non-target organisms.

Evaluation Program :
A regular evaluation program is essential to determine the success of the pest management strategies.

Harmful Insects

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