What Is Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and Why Should We Care About It?
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a rare approach to pest management that discourages pest populations while minimizing the use of pesticides. It is a multi-faceted approach that causes the least amount of harm to the ecosystem. In other words, IPM is the ‘safest’ form of pest control.
Man has always been fighting bugs. Bugs can be bothersome because they bite or sting. Pests may be expensive for man if they ruin a crop. Plus, they can be dangerous if they spread diseases. Nobody wants these pests around!
In recent decades, the immediate solution for pests has been an all-out attack with synthetic chemicals. Products line shelves in stores to kill ants, kill roaches, kill mosquitoes, etc. Bug bombs, pump sprayers, backpack sprayers, granular products, aerosol cans, crop-dusting airplanes – any number of ways to spread these chemicals in the name of controlling pests.
But this automatic reaction to spray chemicals has turned costly. We are poisoning the planet with this approach. The food production chain in the United States uses an insane amount of pesticides each year – pounds of pesticides per person who will eat the food produced in this chain. Soil is being ‘killed’ to where it cannot sustain food production. Waterways are infiltrated with toxic, chemical pesticides. Human diseases tied to brain function are increasing at upsetting rates – ADHD, Autism, Alzheimer’s, etc. All from copious amounts of pesticides being thrown at bugs.
Which is why Integrated Pest Management was developed. To closely monitor pest populations so that when action is necessary, to manage pests using cultural, mechanical and biological pest controls coupled with responsible use of pesticides (when 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. It restricts the use of toxic chemicals to unprotected to permissible levels of control.
IPM is catching on and that is a very good thing. Certain corporate and college campuses have embraced IPM by recognizing a few pests in small numbers isn’t a house fire… and certainly doesn’t authorize the use of high-powered chemical poisons to ‘fix’ the situation. Homeowner’s groups and environmentally friendly developments appreciate the aversion to using toxins and are on the front side of a shift in thinking.
Integrated Pest Management is the safest way to deal with pests instead of using poisonous chemicals at the first opportunity. Help spread the information about the benefits of IPM so more places will follow suit.
Our futures depend on it!