Integrated Pest Management.
Pest management solutions are devised while looking through the following lenses: environmental, sociological, and economic consequences.
5 Steps To Integrated Pest Management: Identificaton, Monitoring, Decision Making, Intervention, Evaluation. Contact Us→
5 Steps To Integrated Pest Management (IPM)
The process outlined here focuses on landscape pest management with a short breakdown of how structural pest management works.
Step 1: Identification
Plant: Many times insects solely eat on a specific vegetation. This damaged vegetation, is information we use in order to identify potential pests i.e. turf-grass versus ornamentals. The plant damage can give us insights into the mouth parts of the insect such as: stippling, chewing, yellowing, or sooty mold. Here is an additional resource on plant damage.
Insect: Identifying the pest is also a part of the identification process. How many legs, what type of mouth parts (sponging, chewing, piercing, siphoning), life cycle (what part of the life stage is it in). Is it insect, mite, spider, etc.
Step 2: Monitoring/Scouting
In this process the professional is looking for the pest or evidence of the pest. When looking at the turf and ornamentals, we’re looking for stress & damage. This process includes identification of damage, the pest, or frass produced by the pest. Sometimes it’s a game of timing. Catching them in the act, makes the monitoring process much more precise. Other devices and tools can help identify pests when the timing is off. And recording and record keeping is critical. We document what, when, where so that we can monitor next year or when similar conditions are met some time in the future.
Step 3: Decision Making
There are thresholds that must be considered when making a decision to treat such as: damage threshold, insect abundance threshold, and even an aesthetic threshold. Basically, at what threshold of damage to plants, trees, and property or amount of insect infestation is beyond an acceptable level and runs the risk of causing irreversible damage. Damage thresholds in regard to ornamental ecosystem injury of course is another level of complexity in regard to diagnosing and treating urban landscapes as aesthetic value can be lost very quickly with even a small insect population.
Step 4: Intervention
We’ve identified the pest and understand what part of the life cycle it is in. Now it is time to plan an intervention. Home or landscape initially must consider cultural controls, meaning manipulating the landscape & home, or reduce plant stress in order to reduce pest abundance. Over fertilization, sitting water, turf issues can all cause an insect problem to explode a population very quickly. Pests love nitrogen. Moving plants to appropriate locations, transitioning to pest resistant/tolerant plants. When you know the region or area has a pest susceptibility, switch to tolerant plants. Remember right plant right place is a real thing. Urban habitats institute issues for plants, trees and urban built landscape all have inherent pest susceptibilities. Home owners can institute mechanical pest controls such as pruning infected trees & limbs and mowing infested grass and collecting clippings. After we’ve decided to intervene and we know which control methods we will introduce, the evaluation process begins.
Step 5: Evaluation
The questions that must be asked after treatment strategy is initiated. How well did that management strategy work? Through continued evaluation the approach to pest treatment is altered if needed. All of these questions must be evaluated in the process of treatment: Are pests dying? Is there still a presence of beneficial pests? Are there fewer pests? Are plants healthier? Is our current approach yielding better results than previous treatments? Managing pests in homes & landscapes is complex, difficult, and dynamic. There are many connected pieces in these ecosystems that must be monitored and managed.
Structural pest management and landscape pest management have differences and both require management of different variables and require an understanding of those best practice strategies. They are interconnected. One management system can effect the other.
Structural Pest Management
Various structures and their surroundings can enhance susceptibility to pests and the likelihood of an invasion. The same process applies to structures: (1-2) Identify & evaluate the building, landscape, and surrounding habitat. (3) We scout for pests in suspect areas. We then (4) intervene and then (5) evaluate. Information and statistics are found here.