Definitions

Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management (IPM), planned program that coordinates economically and environmentally acceptable methods of pest control with the judicious and minimal use of toxic pesticides. IPM programs are based on a careful assessment of local conditions, including such factors as climate, crop characteristics, the biology of the pest species, agricultural practices, soil quality, and government regulations. The tactics employed range from changes in agricultural methods, such as better tillage to prevent soil erosion and interplanting of different crop varieties; natural biological weapons, such as the introduction of beneficial insects that eat the harmful species; and mechanical tools, such as vacuums that pull the insects off of the crops. Toxic pesticides are used only when all other methods have failed. See also organic farming; pesticides.

In agriculture, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a pest control strategy that uses an array of complementary methods: mechanical devices, physical devices, genetic, biological, legal, cultural management, and chemical management. These methods are done in three stages: prevention, observation, and intervention. It is an ecological approach with a main goal of significantly reducing or eliminating the use of pesticides.

For their leadership in developing and spreading IPM worldwide, Dr. Perry Adkisson and Dr. Ray F. Smith received the 1997 World Food Prize.

History of IPM

Shortly after World War II, when synthetic insecticides became widely available, entomologists in California developed the concept of "supervised insect control." Around the same time, entomologists in cotton-belt states such as Arkansas were advocating a similar approach. Under this scheme, insect control was "supervised" by qualified entomologists, and insecticide applications were based on conclusions reached from periodic monitoring of pest and natural-enemy populations. This was viewed as an alternative to calendar-based insecticide programs. Supervised control was based on a sound knowledge of the ecology and analysis of projected trends in pest and natural-enemy populations.

Supervised control formed much of the conceptual basis for the "integrated control" that California entomologists articulated in the 1950s. Integrated control sought to identify the best mix of chemical and biological controls for a given insect pest. Chemical insecticides were to be used in manner least disruptive to biological control. The term "integrated" was thus synonymous with "compatible." Chemical controls were to be applied only after regular monitoring indicated that a pest population had reached a level (the economic threshold) that required treatment to prevent the population from reaching a level (the economic injury level) at which economic losses would exceed the cost of the artificial control measures.

IPM extended the concept of integrated control to all classes of pests and was expanded to include tactics other than just chemical and biological controls. Artificial controls such as pesticides were to be applied as in integrated control, but these now had to be compatible with control tactics for all classes of pests. Other tactics, such as host-plant resistance and cultural manipulations, became part of the IPM arsenal. IPM added the multidisciplinary element, involving entomologists, plant pathologists, nematologists, and weed scientists.

In the United States, IPM was formulated into national policy in February 1972 when President Nixon directed federal agencies to take steps to advance the concept and application of IPM in all relevant sectors. In 1979, President Carter established an interagency IPM Coordinating Committee to ensure development and implementation of IPM practices. (references: "The History of IPM", BioControl Reference Center.

How IPM works

An IPM regime can be quite simple or sophisticated. Historically, the main focus of IPM programs was on agricultural insect pests. However, IPM programs encompass diseases, weeds, and any other pest that interferes with the management objectives of your site (agriculture, garden, structure, wild lands, etc.).

An IPM system is designed around six basic components:

  1. Acceptable pest levels: The emphasis is on control, not eradication. IPM holds that wiping out an entire pest population is often impossible, and the attempt can be more costly, environmentally unsafe, and frequently unachievable. It is better to decide on what constitutes acceptable pest levels, and apply controls if those levels ('action thresholds') are exceeded.
  2. Preventive cultural practices: Selecting varieties best for local growing conditions, and maintaining healthy crops, is the first line of defence, together with plant quarantine and 'cultural techniques' such as crop sanitation (e.g. removal of diseased plants to prevent spread of infection).
  3. Monitoring: Regular observation is the cornerstone of IPM. Visual inspection, insect and spore traps, and other measurement methods are used to monitor pest levels. Record-keeping is essential, as is a thorough knowledge of the behavior and reproductive cycles of target pests. Since insects are cold-blooded, their physical development is dependent on the temperature of their environment. Many insects have had their development cycles modeled in terms of degree days. Monitor the degree days of an environment to determine when the optimal time for a specific insect's outbreak.
  4. Mechanical controls: Should a pest reach an unacceptable level, mechanical methods are the first options to consider. They include simple hand-picking, erecting insect barriers, using traps, vacuuming, and tillage to disrupt breeding.
  5. Biological controls: Natural biological processes and materials can provide control, with minimal environmental impact, and often at low cost. The main focus here is on promoting beneficial insects that eat target pests. Biological insecticides, derived from naturally occurring microorganisms (e.g.: Bt, entomopathogenic fungi and entomopathogenic nematodes), also fit in this category.
  6. Chemical controls: Synthetic pesticides are generally only used as required and often only at specific times in a pests life cycle. Many of the newer pesticide groups are derived from plants or naturally occurring substances (e.g.: nicotine, pyrethrum and insect juvenile hormone analogues), and further 'biology-based' or 'ecological' techniques are under evaluation.

IPM is applicable to all types of agriculture. Reliance on knowledge, experience, observation, and integration of multiple techniques makes IPM a perfect fit for organic farming (the synthetic chemical option is simply not considered). For large-scale, chemical-based farms, IPM can reduce human and environmental exposure to hazardous chemicals, and potentially lower overall costs.

1. Proper identification of pest - What is it? Cases of mistaken identity may result in ineffective actions. If plant damage due to over-watering are mistaken for a fungal infection, a spray may be used needlessly and the plant still dies.

2. Learn pest and host life cycle and biology At the time you see a pest, it may be too late to do much about it except maybe spray with a pesticide. Often, there is another stage of the life cycle that is susceptible to preventative actions. For example, weeds reproducing from last year's seed can be prevented with mulches. Also, learning what a pest needs to survive allows you to remove these.

3. Monitor or sample environment for pest population - How many are here? Preventative actions must be taken at the correct time if they are to be effective. For this reason, once you have correctly identified the pest, you begin monitoring BEFORE it becomes a problem. For example, in school cafeterias where roaches may be expected to appear, sticky traps are set out before school starts. Traps are checked at regular intervals so you can see them right away and do something before they get out of hand. Some of the things you might want to monitor about pest populations include: pest present/absent? distribution - all over or only in certain spots? increasing or decreasing in numbers?

4. Establish action threshold (economic, health or aesthetic) - How many are too many? In some cases, a certain number of pests can be tolerated. Soybeans are quite tolerant of defoliation, so if you have only a few caterpillars in the field and their population is not increasing dramatically, there is no need to do anything. Conversely, there is a point at which you MUST do something. For the farmer, that point is the one at which the cost of damage by the pest is MORE than the cost of control. This is an economic threshold. Tolerance of pests varies also by whether or not they are a health hazard (low tolerance) or merely a cosmetic damage (high tolerance in a non-commercial situation). Personal tolerances also vary - many people dislike any insect; some people cannot tolerate dandelions in their yards. Try to adopt a peaceful attitude!

5. Choose an appropriate combination of management tactics For any pest situation, there will be several options to consider. See Six Tactics section below.

6. Evaluate results - How did it work? Did your actions have the desired effect? Was the pest prevented or managed to your satisfaction? Was the method itself satisfactory? Were there any unintended side effects? What will you do in the future for this pest situation?

An example

In 1954, a new type of aphid was seen in California. At first, organophosphate pesticides were applied but after 5 years, most of the aphid population had become resistant. The pesticides also killed natural predators of the aphid. In the application of IPM, the amount of organophosphate used was lowered to allow the natural predators to live; further predators were also introduced.

References

  • Pests of Landscape Trees and Shrubs: An Integrated Pest Management Guide.

Steve H. Dreistadt, Mary Louise Flint, et al., ANR Publications, University of California, Oakland, California, 1994. 328pp, paper, photos, reference tables, diagrams.

  • Jahn, GC, PG Cox., E Rubia-Sanchez, and M Cohen 2001. The quest for connections: developing a research agenda for integrated pest and nutrient management. pp. 413-430, In S. Peng and B. Hardy [eds.] “Rice Research for Food Security and Poverty Alleviation.” Proceeding the International Rice Research Conference, 31 March – 3 April 2000, Los Baños, Philippines. Los Baños (Philippines): International Rice Research Institute. 692 p.
  • Jahn, GC, B. Khiev, C Pol, N. Chhorn and V Preap 2001. Sustainable pest management for rice in Cambodia. In P. Cox and R Chhay [eds.] “The Impact of Agricultural Research for Development in Southeast Asia” Proceedings of an International Conference held at the Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 24-26 Oct. 2000, Phnom Penh (Cambodia): CARDI.
  • Jahn, GC, JA Litsinger, Y Chen and A Barrion. 2007. Integrated Pest Management of Rice: Ecological Concepts. In Ecologically Based Integrated Pest Management (eds. O. Koul and G.W. Cuperus). CAB International Pp. 315-366.
  • Kogan, M 1998. INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT:Historical Perspectives and Contemporary Developments, Annual Review of Entomology Vol. 43: 243-270 (Volume publication date January 1998) (doi:10.1146/annurev.ento.43.1.243)

Books

On building organic pest-free gardens

External links

See also

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