Integrated pest management, or IPM, is a process you can use to solve pest problems while minimizing risks to people and the environment. IPM can be used to manage all kinds of pests anywhere–in urban, agricultural, and wildland or natural areas.

Integrated Pest Management Definition

Integrated Pest Management or IPM is an ecosystem-based strategy that focuses on long-term prevention of pests or their damage through a combination of techniques such as biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices, and use of resistant varieties. Pesticides are used only after monitoring indicates they are needed according to established guidelines, and treatments are made with the goal of removing only the target organism. Pest control materials are selected and applied in a manner that minimizes risks to human health, beneficial and non-target organisms, and the environment.

How Does Integrated Pest Management Work?

With Integrated Pest Management, you take actions to keep pests from becoming a problem, such as by growing a healthy crop that can withstand pest attacks, using disease-resistant plants, or caulking cracks to keep insects or rodents from entering a building. Rather than simply eliminating the pests you see right now, using Integrated Pest Management means you’ll look at environmental factors that affect the pest and its ability to thrive. Armed with this information, you can create conditions that are unfavorable for the pest. 

Integrated Pest Management research

Monitoring is a key part of this eco-friendly process, checking on fields, landscapes, buildings, and surrounding forests to identify which pests are present and their status. Correct identification is key to knowing whether a pest is likely to become a problem and determining the best management strategy.

Environmental Benefits

Applying pesticides to crops, animals, buildings or landscapes on a routine basis, regardless of need, is not Integrated Pest Management. Applications of pesticides are always the last resort in an IPM program. Pesticides are responsible for many short-term health effects including stinging eyes, rashes, blisters, blindness, nausea, dizziness, diarrhea, and death. Not only harmful to humans, pesticides are deadly to the environment including other creatures sharing spaces with humans. A 2006 US Geological Survey review of 51 studies over ten years reported that 96% of fish, 100% of surface water, and 33% of major aquifers sampled from 1992 to 2001 contained one or more pesticides. That is why Integrated Pest Management is not only preferred by many in our environmentally-focused present, but necessary as well. 

IPM reduces hazards by reducing overall pesticide use, using least hazardous pesticides when there is a demonstrated need, and taking special protective measures to reduce pesticide exposure living organisms and the environment. While not considered ‘organic’ due to the use of pesticides in only extreme cases of infestation, Integrated Pest Management help organic programs reduce hazards when used in conjunction. At Tree Keepers, we are passionate about the environment as a whole just as much as we are passionate about tree health. It is imperative to us that forests and private properties alike have healthy, pest and disease-free trees, but that we’re not harming the environment to keep those trees alive. With this balance, we offer quality pest management and tree care without breaking the bank and without causing damage for the sake of aesthetics.