Integrated Pest Management

Predatory stink bug nymph (Podisus placidus)
Photo: Karl Hillig

IPM stands for Integrated Pest Management.  A program started in the 1960’s, IPM encourages the development of pest control methods that reduce dependence upon those insecticides that have health or environmental risks.  It coordinates the use of pest biology, environmental information, and multiple pest management tactics to prevent unacceptable levels of pest damage by the most economical means.

IPM components include:

  • Host plant resistance — Developing (through traditional breeding techniques) crop varieties that are resistant to common pests
  • Population monitoring/Economic thresholds — Monitoring pest populations and using chemical control only when pest populations reach economically damaging levels
  • Degree-day modeling — Using weather data and insect development models to track and predict pests and crop risk.
  • Cultural control — Using techniques such as crop rotation to disrupt life cycles of pests that complete their life cycle in one crop
  • Biological control — Using natural enemy predators (e.g. lady bugs) and parasitoids (e.g. tiny stingless wasps) to suppress insect pest populations
  • Chemical control — Evaluating new, safer products and determining ways that all insecticides can be used more safely.

IPM Resources:

Greenhouse and Hoophouse IPM:

Organic Resources:

  • Vegetables – various ATTRA publications on growing organic vegetable crops
  • Insect control – various ATTRA publications on organic and sustainable insect management
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