Pest Management – Identifying and Controlling Pests
Pests can damage plants, disfigure buildings and ruin property. They may be rodents, insects or diseases. Identifying and controlling them is the goal of pest management. Pest management practices can be simple or complex and can include a combination of physical, biological, cultural and chemical control methods. The goal is to prevent unacceptable levels of pest damage and minimize risks to health, environment and assets.
Prevention is the best strategy for dealing with pests. Identifying pests and understanding their life cycles is critical to preventing them from damaging plants and structures. Learn what they eat, how they develop and behave, and when to expect them. Proper site selection can also prevent certain pest problems. For example, choosing plants that are adapted to your climate and soil conditions can help you avoid many plant diseases.
Inspecting sites for signs of pests is another way to prevent problems. For example, ants and earwigs looking for warmth in the winter often enter homes and sheds, where they cause damage. Inspecting and sealing openings where pests might enter can help reduce the need for pesticides. Repairing ripped window screens, sealing cracks in walls and foundations, replacing rotting floorboards, and removing piles of debris can all help keep pests out.
Controlling a kings pest management only when it causes unacceptable harm is also an effective approach. If your landscape plants are being eaten by grubs, for instance, consider whether the damage is severe enough to justify applying a chemical treatment. If the problem is a disease, such as leaf spot or mildew, thinning crowded plants to improve air circulation may make the plants more resistant.
If control is necessary, use the least-toxic method possible. If you are using a pesticide, apply it according to the label and never exceed the recommended dose. Be sure to select a pesticide that will not interfere with the population of beneficial insects or other organisms that can help manage your pest problem.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an ecosystem-based approach that integrates monitoring, knowledge of pest biology and environmental factors, and the use of biological, cultural, physical, and chemical tools to prevent unacceptable pest populations and damage. Its decision-making process involves establishing tolerance thresholds and combining biological, cultural, and physical control methods to achieve them, using the least amount of pesticides possible.
IPM uses a wide range of tools to prevent pests, including inspection and monitoring, identification, learning about the life cycle and habits of the pest, and the use of natural enemies to deter pests. It also includes the proper timing of cultural and physical controls, and limiting or avoiding the use of pesticides by adjusting application rates, timing, and methods. It is essential to have technical oversight to provide an objective evaluation of program activities and to ensure that the right mix of pest management techniques is used in each situation. Without this oversight, a program can quickly revert to a traditional pesticide-based approach. To get the most out of your IPM program, work with a pest management professional who has experience in IPM and understands how to apply the appropriate techniques for your specific situation.