What is IPM? Integrated Pest Management, is a method of pest control that prioritizes environmental balance and actively focuses on minimizing risk to both humans and nature. IPM is composed of a wide variety of different pest management techniques designed to suit specific pest control situations in order to provide the most effective results. By using IPM methods, property owners in any type of environment —urban, suburban, or rural— can more effectively reduce pest populations without compromising the health of people or the surrounding environment.
A Closer Look at IPM Methods
Rather than treating a pest control issue as an isolated event, IPM uses an ecosystem-based approach to solving infestations. IPM primarily focuses on long-term pest solutions, rather than a quick spray of chemical treatments. By understanding the unique ecosystem that the pest resides in, pest control specialists can then treat the problem using a combination of biological, environmental, cultural, and chemical methods. This combination of practices helps ensure that human and environmental health is preserved at all times.
A professional pest control specialist will carefully consider all of the different forms of pest control, as well as the unique aspects of the ecosystem itself when developing intervention strategies. Let’s take a closer look at each type of approach and how it can be used to better manage pests.
IPM pest control uses many different types of approaches in order to effectively maintain pest populations. The exact combination of approaches will differ by pest and ecosystem; however, there are generally broken into the four following groups:
- Biological controls
When using biological control, pest populations are maintained using of natural pest enemies. Each enemy is unique to each variety of pests. By carefully changing the balance of the pest to enemy ratio, invasive pest populations can be controlled. It is essential that the difference between beneficial pest populations and harmful pest populations are identified. Professional assistance from a pest control specialist can help ensure that biological controls are successfully implemented on your property.
- Cultural controls
Cultural controls refer to practices that can help reduce the appeal of certain environments to pests. It is generally preventative and includes practices such as carefully completing garbage disposal, making changes in your irrigation routines, and altering landscaping in a way that is not appealing to pests, among others. Cultural controls can be simple yet are effective at disrupting pest establishment and survival. For instance, leaving your garbage outside for only a few hours before collection is a relatively small change to make —however, it can significantly reduce pest activity.
- Physical controls
Also known as mechanical controls, this form of IPM practice involves methods that physically deter, block, or kill pests. The method of mechanical control will generally depend upon the type of pest that is causing issues to your property. Some types of physical controls include snap mouse traps or cage traps. Others include placing down mulch, pulling weeds, and placing netting over outdoor foliage to dissuade pest populations from approaching.
- Chemical controls
Chemical controls can come in a variety of different forms. In this method, chemicals such as pesticides are used to manage pest populations. Sprays and baits are commonly used chemical controls that can be highly effective if applied correctly. When using chemical controls, it is often best to let a specialist administer the chemical in order to avoid accidentally exposing the chemical to other animal populations.
The important thing to consider when using IPM methods is preserving the ecosystem and using a variety of complementary techniques in order to successfully manage the natural populations. Many times, extermination is not the answer to pest problems —that’s why IPM practices focus specifically on balancing natural populations to create a safe yet effective solution.
Using integrated pest management is the most effective method of pest control to use when fighting against pest populations on your property. By combining a variety of different resourceful techniques that specifically target the ecosystem and unique pest situation, rather than treat only with pesticides, property owners can safely remove pests while preserving the health of the environment. There are so many benefits of integrated pest management.
Solving a pest infestation can be a problem that often requires professional assistance —trust a specialized pest control professional to use IPM methods in order to knowledgeably and effectively manage pest populations for you!