You’ve probably heard of extermination and pest control, but have you ever heard about integrated pest management? Integrated pest management or IPM is a multifaceted approach to pest control that reduces the use of pesticides but does not ultimately eliminate them. The judicious use of conventional pesticides is still necessary to achieve acceptable levels of control especially in agriculture but also in residential pest management. When lower toxicity materials can be used (such as botanical and essential oil formulations) effectively, they are employed.
What is a pest and why do we want to manage them?
A pest is a species, either an animal or an insect, arachnid, etc. that poses harm or discomfort and elicits removal from your home. An example is a mouse or a rat. While to some people, they may seem harmless, pests can actually cause a great deal of damage to your home and in some cases your health. Some pests can spread viruses and diseases that can make you and your family very sick. Removing pests is an essential process when a pest interferes with your daily life.
What goes into IPM?
Some might think IPM is a method of using gentler chemicals, but there is so much more that goes into the process. Chemical use is typically the last choice for treatment, while the alternatives include monitoring, growing crops that are resistant to the pests, sealing up cracks. Officially, there are four approaches to IPM. These four approaches include biological control, cultural control, mechanical and physical control and chemical control.
Biological control elicits the use of the pest’s enemies in nature. With this method, the IPM technician will use the pest’s predators or other pathogens, parasites or competitors that will aid in the removal of the pest.
Cultural control are practices that impede the pest’s reproduction rate, survival and dispersal. An example of this is wiping out a pest by implementing too much water to an area that might kill off the plants the pest is feeding off or living in. The pest will either die or be forced to find a new area.
Mechanical and physical control works by killing a pest, preventing them from entering somewhere or making the environment unlivable for the pest. Barriers are an effective use for rodents and some other pests.
Chemical control for IPM is when pesticides are used to directly rid the area of the pests. The pesticides are applied carefully to ensure it doesn’t affect people or other organisms that it is not intended for. The chemicals are safe for the environment and will ensure the air, soil and water. The application of the pesticides is more targeted than what is done by exterminators or traditional pest control.
How are integrated pest management programs established?
The first step of an IPM program is to properly identify the pest. The technician will work to accurately identify the pest . The next step of the program is to monitor and assess the amount of pests in the area and the damage they have done or are currently doing. Following this, the technician will determine when management is needed and what kind of control will be most effective. Pest prevention is started using a mixture of the various control methods and then lastly, the situation is reassessed and additional measures of control are taken if necessary.
How effective is IPM?
According to extensive research by the Natural Resource Defense Council, IPM is believed to be more effective and economical than traditional pest control or extermination methods. Pesticides may be linked to health problems that are especially prevalent among children. IPM may be less expensive than other pest control methods. The main factor is the expense of this type of control is the use of chemicals and because chemicals are used sparingly if other methods aren’t working first, the price is lower than options that use the chemicals first.
What are the benefits of IPM?
- Plants grow healthily
- Environmental risks from harmful pesticides are reduced
- Non target species are kept safe
- Increases cost effectiveness
- Protects the air and ground water from contamination
What are the chemicals used for IPM?
Exterminators use conventional chemicals which are nerve and stomach poisons and work to paralyze or dehydrate the pest. These chemicals are often not deemed safe, environmentally friendly or humane because of what they do to the pests. In IPM, the chemicals used are called birational chemicals and are known for being less toxic. While some conventional and traditional pest control methods may still be implemented in IPM, such as sticky traps, repellents, attractants and anti-feeding agents, the processes are deemed more humane than the techniques used by exterminators, who have the goal of killing pests, but do not usually offer long-term solutions. In addition to being wasteful with chemicals by applying them liberally throughout the home, exterminators will often not retreat areas where pests are returning.
At Summit, we practice and implement some integrated pest management methods and techniques such as the use of pesticides. The pesticides we use are better for the environment and are safe for people and pets. In addition to this, we also implement exclusion and seal out to make sure pests will not reenter the home causing any further damage or stress.
We offer pest services for rats, mice, rodents, mosquitoes, bees, ants, fleas, bed bugs, spiders, roaches and crickets. If you have a problem with any of these pests in your home, contact us. Our highly skilled and trained technicians will be able to come up with the best solution for your pest problems. From diagnosis, to treatment and then management, Summit Pest Control will be with you from the very beginning until your pest problem is resolved. For more information about the services we offer, including our animal removal, home improvement and home remodeling, crawl spaces, waterproofing or attic insulation, contact us to schedule your free and comprehensive estimate.