What is Integrated Pest Management (IPM)?

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an approach to pest control that focuses on using a variety of tactics for prevention and eradication as opposed to the traditional method of simply applying pesticides.  The goals of IPM are to eliminate existing pests, understand what caused the problem and prevent the problem from recurring.  One of the foundations of IPM is to create a solution that involves the least number of toxins while offering long-term control.   This form of pest control follows a systematic approach when dealing with pests and includes the following basic steps.

 

Identification

 

This initial step is critical and influences the over-all approach throughout the course of treatment.  Identifying the pest correctly means having an understanding of its habits, life cycles, biology and how it responds to various treatments.  The accurate identification and proposed treatment plan are best handled by a professional pest control company that has experience with IPM.

 

Prevention

 

Preventing pests from returning is achieved with a variety of methods depending on the pest at hand.  Exclusion, such as sealing gaps, crevices, around pipes, etc., typically involves physically restricting pests from entering a structure.  Prevention also includes eliminating nesting places and minimizing the availability of food and water with good sanitary practices around the home.  This may include repairing leaking faucets and pipes, frequent cleaning up of spills and food particles and general good housekeeping.

 

Monitoring

 

Once a pest infestation is brought under control, monitoring for further infestation is the next step.  Monitoring enables future infestations to be caught early and is a safe way to keep an eye on things.  Traps are the preferred method of monitoring and with proper documentation and follow-up, this will keep most homes close to pest free indefinitely.

Because IPM focuses on prevention, as opposed to simply using pesticides to stop only an existing infestation, the positive effects are greater.  This approach is safer, more effective over the long term and leads to an easier method of control if an infestation begins again.

 

Benefits of Integrated Pest Management

 

IPM is a safe pest control approach because it doesn’t rely on pesticides as the main source of control.  This means fewer pesticides which means fewer toxins for humans.  This benefit is especially important in facilities such as schools, hospitals and retirement homes where the potential for pesticides to cause health problems is multiplied.

The variety of tactics used in IPM not only make it easier to detect recurring infestations, but they also make it easier to control those infestations.  Proper monitoring and recording further decreases the need for pesticides because safer control measures still get the job done because an infestation is detected early before things get out of hand.