Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a systemised process that finds the most effective way to remedy pest problems whilst minimizing potentially harmful pesticide usage.
Professional pest management has moved past relying solely on applying pesticides to solve pest problems. Concern for the environment and the health of clients has led to methods that reduce pesticide usage. With proper planning, the need for pesticides can sometimes be eliminated completely.
The five steps of IPM.
The proper application of IPM principles is a five step process:
- Application of control measures
The area to be controlled must be inspected for the presence of pests and conditions that are conducive to pests. Even when clients report problems in specific areas, the real cause may be concealed or located elsewhere.
Quite often the client will specify which pest problems they want controlled. Even then, it is important to identify the particular species requiring control and what conditions present in the premises might be encouraging the infestation. For example, the problem might be specified as cockroaches. However, German and American cockroaches have different breeding areas and habits that significantly affect remedial measures.
The client is provided a report detailing the steps that need to be taken to manage identified pest problems. The client and ourselves will find the appropriate solutions that meet the client’s specific requirements. For example, the private home has very different needs to a commercial food handling premises.
Application of control measures.
These are the action steps towards solving any current problems and preventing future pest infestations. Depending on pest type, location and client needs, these steps can include the following:
Sanitation: Cleaning areas that contribute to pest infestations.
Exclusion: Putting physical barriers over entry points to prevent pest entry.
Trapping: Placement of traps that capture pest populations.
Pesticide application: Placement of pesticide products to kill existing pest populations.
Sometimes removing food sources and other pest attractants will significantly reduce the need for continual pesticide application to manage a pest population. Examples include the careful management of garbage and regular cleaning up of wet areas.
A program should be put in place to monitor the success of the pest management program in accordance with client needs. Again, the homeowner might be satisfied with calling in pest management professionals only when they experience new pest problems. Food handling companies in particular need to be more proactive to ensure adequate food safety practices.
Normally, pests are only seen after some level of infestation has established itself. The careful placement of traps and other monitoring equipment can provide early warning that a new infestation is trying to establish itself before it reaches a critical area.
These traps need to be inspected regularly and the results recorded to identify trends and any required changes to the pest management program in place.