What is Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and why should we care?
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a unique approach to pest management that discourages pest populations and minimizes the use of pesticides. It is a multifaceted approach that causes the least amount of damage to the environment. In other words, IPM is the ‘safe’ way to control pests.
Man has always been fighting insects. Insects can be annoying because they bite or sting. Pests can be costly to man if they ruin a crop. Also, they can be dangerous if they spread disease. Nobody wants these pests around!
In recent decades, the immediate solution for pests has been an all-out attack with synthetic chemicals. Products line store shelves to kill ants, kill cockroaches, kill mosquitoes, etc. Bug bombs, pump sprayers, backpack sprayers, granular products, spray cans, crop dusters – any number of ways to distribute these chemicals in the name of pest control.
But this automatic reaction to sprayed chemicals has become costly. We are poisoning the planet with this approach. The food chain in the United States uses an incredible amount of pesticides each year: pounds of pesticides per person who will eat the food produced in this chain. The soil is being ‘killed’ to the point where it cannot support food production. Water courses 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 the copious amounts of pesticides that are thrown at the insects.
This is why Integrated Pest Management was developed. Closely monitor pest populations so that, where necessary, manage pests through cultural, mechanical, and biological pest controls, along with responsible use of pesticides (where necessary). Instead of blindly using synthetic pesticides as soon as a problem arose, IPM allows for a variety of solutions specific to the current pest problem to find a safe solution. Restricts the use of toxic chemicals to achieve acceptable levels of control.
IPM is catching on and that’s a very good thing. Certain corporate and college campuses have embraced IPM in recognition that a few pests in small numbers are not a house fire…and they certainly do not authorize the use of high-potency chemical poisons to ‘fix’ the situation. Homeowners groups and green developments appreciate the aversion to toxin use and are at the forefront of a change in mindset.
Integrated Pest Management is the safest way to deal with pests instead of using poisonous chemicals at the first opportunity. Help spread the word about the benefits of IPM so more places do the same.
Our future depends on it!