I.P.M. a good read! Jul 13, 2006 7:40:09 GMT -6
Post by Pharmer Phil on Jul 13, 2006 7:40:09 GMT -6
Integrated Pest Management
The gardener's dependence on pesticides has all but vanished over the
past few decades as new pest-control strategies have been developed.
One of the more popular methods for pest control is called integrated
pest management. While it isn't a single strategy, integrated pest
management utilizes a combination of pest-control strategies to
monitor and control the amount of damage pests do to crops.
What Is Integrated Pest Management?
The exact definition varies, but the general idea is that integrated pest
management "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." In
other words, it's using all that people know about plants and pests to
control pests in an environmentally friendly manner.
People who use integrated pest management are well aware that to
completely eradicate pests isn't good for plants or the environment in
general. Instead of killing off all the pests, the method controls the
number of pests on plants, keeping the population below a certain
threshold level. That way, the damage pests wreak on plants is
manageable, and the environment is as minimally affected as possible.
Advantages of Integrated Pest Management Integrated pest
* environmentally friendly
* less costly over the long term
* avoids situations where pests develop resistances to pesticides.
How Does Integrated Pest Management Work?
In a sense, integrated pest management manipulates nature in order
to control pests while not causing any permanent damage to the
environment. Gardeners are not restricted to any one method of pest
control, with the proviso that chemical pesticides be used only as a last
Integrated pest management is a time-consuming method, as it relies
on the gardener to regularly inspect plants. Once the problems have
been identified, the gardener is expected to utilize this information,
along with information about the local weather, the pest's natural
enemies, the pest's natural habitat, and so on, to regulate the pest
population by using a low-impact method that hopefully works in the
Integrated pest management also has a high initial cost, but the
long-term costs of this strategy are much lower than the continuous
use of pesticides as it's designed to control the pest populations over
the long haul.
Integrated Pest Management Control Methods
With integrated pest management, the gardener must constantly
inspect the garden for pests and plant diseases. Since the method
utilizes all available knowledge for pest control, the more you know, the
better your garden will fare.
Once you've discovered the problems, use a variety of strategies to
control the pests. Some of the control methods include:
* biological controls such as introducing a pest's natural predators
into the garden or eliminating a pest's source of food and water
* cultural controls such as using a drip irrigation system to deliver
water where it's needed most or utilizing crop rotation to prevent pests
from setting in
* genetic controls such as the selection of sturdier plants, or plants
that have developed a resistance to certain pests
* mechanical controls such as installing traps or barriers to prevent
insects from reaching the plants
* chemical controls such as utilizing insecticidal soaps, or in the most
dire situations, using pesticides.
The Five Easy Steps of Integrated Pest Management
Integrated pest management isn't just for large commercial farmers.
You can implement this strategy for pest control in your own garden by
following these five easy steps:
1. Inspect the garden.
2. Identify the pest.
3. Determine the highest tolerable (threshold) level of that pest.
4. Use various control methods to keep the pest level under that threshold level.
A Note on Chemical Controls
Integrated pest management does use chemical controls,
but only as a last resort, when the pest population has exceeded the threshold level and when no other method seems to be working. When chemical controls are used, try insecticidal soaps and less toxic pesticides first to avoid affecting other plants and animals.