What Is Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and Why Should We Care About It?
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a unique approach to pest management that discourages pest populations while minimizing the use of pesticides. It is a multi-faceted approach that causes the least damage to the environment. In other words, IPM is the “safest” form of pest control.
Man has always fought insects. Insects can be annoying because they bite or sting. Pests can cost humans dearly if they ruin a crop. Additionally, they can be dangerous if they spread disease. No one wants these parasites around you!
For the past few decades, the immediate solution to pests has been an all-out attack with synthetic chemicals. Products line store shelves to kill ants, kill cockroaches, kill mosquitoes, etc. Bug sprays, pump sprayers, knapsack sprayers, granulars, aerosol cans, dusting planes – so many ways to dispense these chemicals in the name of pest control.
But this automatic reaction to chemical spraying has become costly. We are poisoning the planet with this approach. The food production chain in the United States uses an insane amount of pesticides each year – pounds of pesticides per person who will eat the food produced in this chain. Soil is “killed” where it can no longer sustain food production. Waterways are infiltrated with toxic chemical pesticides. Human diseases related to brain function are increasing at an alarming rate – ADHD, autism, Alzheimer’s, etc. All because of copious amounts of pesticides thrown at the insects.
This is why integrated pest management was developed. Closely monitor pest populations so that when action is needed, manage pests using cultural, mechanical and biological controls combined with responsible pesticide use (if necessary). Instead of blindly using synthetic pesticides as soon as a problem arises, IPM allows a variety of solutions specific to the current pest problem to find a safe solution. It limits the use of toxic chemicals to achieve acceptable levels of control.
IPM is gaining ground and that is a very good thing. Some corporate and university campuses have adopted IPM recognizing that a few pests in small numbers are not a house fire…and certainly do not allow the use of strong chemical poisons to “fix” the situation. . Homeowner groups and eco-friendly developments appreciate the aversion to using toxins and are at the forefront of changing mindsets.
Integrated pest management is the safest way to control pests rather than using toxic chemicals at the first opportunity. Help spread the word about the benefits of IPM so more places follow suit.
Our future depends on it!