Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management.
Pests, weeds and diseases have always been part of our daily lives. Either they were there since the beginning of time or were brought by humans as they travel across the Earth, mankind has to deal with pests in multiple ways - physically by direct means and chemically by usage of dangerous pesticides and other agricultural chemicals. These poisons are used on crops and plants that we consume, or well over-used on the crops that are not edible. This is the reason why natural predators were introduced in some locations while in other places farmers resorted to chemical usage more heavily to keep ahead of the pests.
Chemicals have affected all life; plant life, animal life and human life.
Integrated Pest Management will be the future due to higher pest tolerance caused by over reliance of chemicals. By encouraging the use of a combination of sustainable pest-control practices that embrace the natural control offered for free by beneficial insects in the farm, we improve life as opposed to blatantly using chemicals for pest control.
Many cases of high pest tolerance have been recorded in the recent past. This means that over reliance on pesticides will increase the risks that pests will become resistant to chemical substances thus making it limited to the disease causing effect. This will be a threat to food and human health and might lead to an increase in diseases among humans.
Consequently, every IPM program is designed based on the pest prevention goals and eradication needs of the situation. Successful IPM programs use this four-tiered implementation approach:
1. Identify pests and monitor progress - Correct pest identification is required to:
- Determine the best preventive measures.
- Reduce the unnecessary use of pesticides.
2. Set action thresholds - An action threshold is the pest population level at which the pest's presence is a:
- health hazard; or
- economic threat.
Setting an action threshold is critical to guiding pest control decisions. A defined threshold will focus the size, scope, and intensity of an IPM plan.1. Prevent - IPM focuses on prevention by removing conditions that attract pests, such as food, water, and shelter. Preventive actions include:
- Reducing clutter.
- Sealing areas where pests enter the building (weatherization).
- Removing trash and overgrown vegetation.
- Maintaining clean dining and food storage areas.
- Installing pest barriers.
- Removing standing water.
- Educating building occupants on IPM
An example to achieve this is erecting greenhouses to prevent rodents and pests from invading the plants.
2. Control- Pest control is required if action thresholds are exceeded. IPM programs use the most effective, lowest risk options considering the risks to the applicator, building occupants, and environment. Control methods include:
- Pest trapping.
- Heat/cold treatment.
- Physical removal.
- Pesticide application
- Documenting pest control actions is critical in evaluating success
Many plants and animals have changed over time or have evolved due to the level of chemicals around them. Integrated Pest Management is a better way to reduce pests other than using harsh chemicals. This article will show you how.
The food you buy at the store is not safe from pests. Unless it is organic or locally grown, it probably has been exposed to pesticides at some point in its travels. Pesticides get into water supplies and endanger aquatic life and with every bite of food you take, your body is being exposed to toxic chemicals that linger in the air around you. The World Health Organization has identified at least 30 pesticides that are known carcinogens, and exposure to pesticide residue puts you at risk for many cancers as well as neurological damage and developmental disorders.
The role of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in sustainable agriculture:
- Applies sustainable pest control - IPM builds on ecosystem services such as pest predation while protecting others, such as pollination. It also contributes to increased farm productivity and food availability by reducing pre- and post-harvest crop losses.
- Reduces pesticide residues - IPM contributes to food and water safety, as reducing the amount of pesticides used in turn reduces residues in food, feed and fiber, and environment.
- Enhances ecosystem services - IPM seeks to maintain the national crop ecosystem balance. It conserves the underlying natural resource base (i.e. soil, water and biodiversity) and enhances ecosystem services (i.e. pollination, healthy soils, diversity of species).
- Increases income levels - IPM reduces production costs through reduced levels of pesticide use. Higher quality crops (with less residues) can command better prices in markets and contribute to increased farmer profitability.
- Strengthens farmer knowledge - IPM promotes farmer stewardship, increases farmer knowledge of ecosystem functioning adapted to their local context.
Believe it or not, the food we eat is made from the best of intentions. Farmers want to grow crops that are safe for consumption and for their families. However, this has spiraled out of control, and farm lands have been over-treated with chemicals in an effort to make them both safer and more productive. This method, while successful at first, has led to major consequences when soil biology becomes hindered by long-term use of one method over another.
I believe that the future will look bright because of the recent up-rise in organic foods and plant based alternatives to meat that are being introduced. Through the efforts of many, people are starting to realize that in order for our planet to survive and provide for future generations, we must lessen our pollution.
In conclusion, in order to reduce the pressure of chemicals on insects and its surrounding environment, we have to change our way of thinking about pest control. Not only for controlling damage caused by pests but also for a balanced ecosystem. Integrated Pest Management will provide a better basis for future sustainable crop production by reducing reliance on chemicals.