Integrated Pest Management

For many years, the trend in pest management increasingly relied on synthetic chemical pesticides. The result has been not only a tremendous increase in the use of many dangerous chemicals, but also an increase in the number of pests that are resistant to the pesticides or new organisms becoming pests. Additionally, some pesticides used for terrestrial pest management have been found in waterways causing serious problems in the aquatic environment.

Integrated Program Overview
Pest control managers are moving away from their reliance on pesticides alone toward an integrated approach that combines limited pesticide use with more environmentally friendly pest control techniques. This system is known as integrated pest management (IPM) (PDF), a strategy that focuses on the long-term prevention of pests or their damage through a combination of techniques, including preventative, cultural, mechanical, environmental, biological, and chemical control tactics. The techniques are utilized simultaneously to control pest populations in the most effective manner possible.

Developing a comprehensive IPM program and approach allows us to focus on our primary efforts of pollution prevention. By monitoring and preventing pests as well as minimizing heavy pest infestations we can reduce the need for chemicals and/or multiple applications.

To protect public health and the environment, the City of Fountain Valley uses an IPM program on all city property. IPM blends effective, economical, and environmentally balanced pest control methods into a single but flexible approach to manage pest populations within acceptable limits.

Those who practice IPM take the 1st step by deciding on the nature and the source of the pest problem. They can rely on a range of preventive and treatment strategies which can be cultural, physical, mechanical, or biological. Only the least-toxic chemical pesticides should be used, as a last resort.

An IPM program contains the following key components:
  • Identification: Identify the pest and/or the problem.
  • Monitoring and Record-keeping: Observe the plants, or site, for potential pest problems at regular intervals. Keep records of what is seen, decisions made, actions taken, and results.
  • Establish Tolerance Levels: Determine when the pest problem is likely to become serious enough to require some action.
  • Least-Toxic Treatments: In an IPM Program, the object of treatment is to suppress pest populations below their injury level, but not to eradicate them. Select control strategies that are easy to carry out effectively, long-lasting, and least disruptive to the environment.
Inspect after treatment action has been taken. Write down what you learn. Has the treatment been effective? How can the whole process be improved to achieve the overall objectives of the program?