Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective, environmentally-sensitive, common sense approach to controlling pests that offers a wide variety of tools to reduce contact with pests and exposure to pesticides.
Traditional pest control involves the routine application of pesticides. IPM, in contrast:
- Focuses on pest prevention.
- Uses pesticides only as needed.
This provides a more effective, environmentally sensitive approach.
IPM is not a single pest control method but rather involves integrating multiple control methods based on site information obtained through:
- monitoring; and
Consequently, every IPM program is designed based on the pest prevention goals and eradication needs of the situation. Successful IPM programs use this three-tiered implementation approach:
1. Identify Pests and Monitor Progress
Correct pest identification is required to:
- Determine the best preventive measures.
- Reduce the unnecessary use of pesticide
Many monitoring techniques are available and often vary according to the pest. Successful IPM programs routinely monitor:
- pest populations;
- areas vulnerable to pests; and
- the efficacy of prevention and control methods.
2. Prevent Pests
IPM focuses on prevention by removing conditions that attract pests, such as food, water, and shelter. Preventive actions include:
- Reducing clutter.
- Sealing areas where pests enter the building (weatherization).
- Removing trash and overgrown vegetation.
- Maintaining clean dining and food storage areas.
- Installing pest barriers.
- Removing standing water.
- Educating building occupants on IPM.
3. Control Pests
Pest control is required if action thresholds are exceeded. IPM programs use the most effective, lowest risk options considering the risks to the applicator, building occupants, and environment. Control methods include:
- Pest trapping.
- Heat/cold treatment.
- Physical removal.
- Pesticide application.
Benefits of Integrated Pest Management
IPM offers several benefits. It helps to:
- Reduce the number of pests.
- Reduce the number of pesticide applications.
- Save money while protecting human health
Adopting IPM reduces exposure to both pests and pesticides. Two health concerns faced throughout the country by children and adults are:
Rodents, cockroaches, and dust mites are often present in buildings and can cause or inflame serious allergic reactions and asthma attacks. Studies revealed a significant association between the prevalence of asthma among children and adults, and the incidence of pests, allergens (high cockroach and mouse allergen levels) and pesticides found in public housing; and demonstrated the effectiveness of IPM in controlling these allergens.
Ignorance of a pest problem or not professional use of pesticides pose risks. Children or adults with weak immune system may:
- Continue to contract diseases carried by biting insects.
- Suffer respiratory attacks from exposure to asthma triggers and allergens attributed to cockroach and rodent infestations.
- Be exposed unnecessarily to pesticides that have been over-applied or misused
There are cost savings associated with using IPM. IPM may be more labour intensive than conventional pest control and may require more up front resources. However, costs are generally lower over time because the underlying cause of the pest problem has been addressed. IPM practices also provide financial benefits unrelated to pests.
Put simply, IPM is a safer and usually less costly option for effective pest management in domestic and commercial premises.