What is Integrated Pest Management (IPM)?
Under the Integrated Pest Management Act and Regulation for British Columbia, the Ministry of Environment requires that all landscape and lawn-care companies use IPM techniques in your yard. Integrated Pest Management is a practical decision-making process that relies on a wide variety of tools to promote healthy plants and to manage pests. It is an effective, science-based approach that reduces the unnecessary spraying of pesticides around your home.
In general there are six elements to a good landscape IPM program:
Prevention: Focusing on plant health is the best way to prevent pests and diseases from occuring. Good fertilizing, aerating and mowing practices create strong grass that out-competes weeds. Proper pruning and fertilizing makes for healthy shrubs and trees that are less susceptible to pest damage.
Identification: Correctly identifying pests is critical, as most new treatment methods are tailored to a particular pest species. Proper identification takes time, and may require you to closely examine the plants and insects in your yard, check guides or manuals, and consult with a horticultural expert.
Monitoring: Pest levels must be monitored so that correct treatment decisions can be made. Monitoring may involve visits where a plant health technician examines your yard and records information about pest levels, amount of plant damage and levels of beneficial insects.
Action Levels:For each pest problem, your plant health professional should discuss your expectations with you. He or she can then use this information, along with established thresholds, to decide if and when a treatment is necessary.
Treatment: For any given pest, a variety of treatment methods may be available, and several may be used together for better results. Examples include:
Evaluation: IPM programs must be continually evaluated to find ways to improve plant health and reduce pesticide use.
What else can you expect from an IPM program?
Landscape and lawn-care companies will spend more time doing prevention, proper site management, identifying pests, and monitoring before they consider any chemical treatment options.
They will look for beneficial insects, such as honey bees, bumble bees, ladybugs and lacewings, and will avoid spraying a harmful insecticide when these insects are active. Beneficial insects are extremely important to the overall health of the plants in your yard.
Whenever possible, they will use reduced-risk pesticides, which pose fewer risks to humans, animals, and the environment. Reduced-risk pesticides often have a shorter period of activity than more toxic pesticides, and may require more frequent applications.
*Content on this page was copied from a brochure published by the Ministry of Environment, British Columbia