Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Integrated pest management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices.IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control methods is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.

The IPM approach can be applied to both agricultural and non-agricultural settings, such as the home, garden, and workplace.IPM takes advantage of all appropriate pest management options including, but not limited to, the judicious use of pesticides. In contrast, organic food production applies many of the same concepts as IPM but limits the use of pesticides to those that are produced from natural sources, as opposed to synthetic chemicals.

How Do IPM Programs Work?

IPM is not a single pest control method but, rather, a series of pest management evaluations, decisions and control. In practicing IPM, growers who are aware of the potential for pest infestation follow a four-tiered approach. The four steps include:

Set action thresholds

Before taking any pest control action, IPM first sets an action thresholds, appoint at which pest populations or environmental conditions indicate that pest control action must be taken. Sighting a single pest does not always mean control is needed. The level at which pests will either become an economic threat is critical to guide future pest control decisions.

Monitor and identify pests

Not all insects, weeds, and other living organisms require control. Many organisms are innocuous, and some are even beneficial.IPM programs work to monitor for pests and identify them accurately, so that appropriate control decisions can be made in conjunction with action thresholds. This monitoring and identification removes the possibility that pesticides will be used when they are not really needed or that the wrong kind of pesticide will be used.


As a first line of pest control, IPM programs work to manage the crop, lawn, or indoor space to prevent pests from becoming a threat. In an agricultural crop, this may man using cultural methods, such as rotating between different crops, selecting pest pest-resistant varieties, and planting pest-free rootstock. These control methods can be very effective and cost-efficient and present little to no risk to people or the environment.


Once monitoring, identifying, and action thresholds indicate that pest control is required, and prevention methods are no longer effective or available, IPM programs then evaluate the proper control method both for effectiveness and risk. Effective, less risky pest controls are chosen first, including highly targeted chemicals, such as pheromones to disrupt pest mating, or mechanical control, such as trapping or weeding. If further monitoring, identifications and action thresholds indicate that less risky controls are not working, then additional pest control methods would be employed, such as targeted spraying of pesticides. Broadcasting spraying of non-specific pesticides is a last resort.

Pest Prevention

The objective of the pest management programme is the maintenance of pest-free conditions in all areas of the site. The following systematic approach should be taken to all pest control and pest prevention issues, that being:

Exclusive - Refers to the methods adopted in preventing pest entry into a building. Exclusion is often neglected or ignored with entire reliance being placed on destruction, in many cases after infestation has occurred. The use of pesticides may then fail to achieve the desired result because building structure and conditions within are incompatible

Restriction - Refers to the methods used in creating unfavorable conditions for pests to harbor and breed

Destruction - Refers to the physical and chemical methods that are commonly used to control pests. Although one type of pest is not specific to one type of manufacturing process, product or building type or design, some are more attracted than others. Based on assumption that no building can be rendered entirely pest-proof, the following building and machinery design best practices will reduce the risk of infestation and aid in the eradication of pests as early as possible should they occur.

The requirements of pest most buildings provide three main attractions for pests:

Food - most pests actually require very small amounts of food-an adult mouse for example, can survive on as little as grams a day. The amount of food material required in order to provide adequate conditions for survival and breeding of insects can generally be met by less than scrupulous cleaning.

Warmth - a few degrees increase in temperature may be sufficient to encourage infestation, particularly in the winter months. Conversely, ultra-low temperatures are no insurance against pests. With most species of pests an increase in temperature generates a corresponding increase in breeding frequency and numbers.

Shelter - all buildings provide some degree of shelter or harborages for pests. It is commonly assumed that older buildings are more prone to infestation, but new buildings with enclosed roof spaces, suspended ceilings, wall cavities, paneling, raised floors, service ducts and lift shafts provide a myriad of harborages-many interconnecting-allowing a wide range of internal movement for pests.

Location - where a new building is being considered an assessment of activities, and the environment in proximity to the proposed site must be made. Landfill sites, watercourses, marshlands, derelict sites, farms and railway lines are examples of activities that often generate regular pest activity. Consider the previous use of the site and the pest history (if any) where an existing building is being renovated consider what the building was used for previously since pests may still be resident. Buildings that have previously been used in the food industry are most likely to have a pest history.