What to Know About Integrated Pest Management

What it is…

Instead of routinely applying pesticides to keep vermin away, integrated pest management (IPM) focuses on preventing problems before they start, and only using pesticides when they are absolutely necessary. IPM works by monitoring a location (residential, multi-residential, or commercial) and making it into an environment that is less accessible and desirable to pests. It encompasses a variety of methods to create a plan that will suit any problem, building, and still be conscious of the environment and people.

How IPM Works:

Identify and Monitor: The pest(s) need to be correctly identified and the location needs to be regularly inspected to determine the size of the population, which areas are vulnerable, and the efficacy of treatment programs. Records of each visit should be carefully maintained. Later on in the process, pest prevention plans may need to be altered based on the data collected.

Action Thresholds: Once the problem has been determined, the level of severity needs to be established. This is based on the size of the pest population and how much of a threat it is to the building and its occupants, and how great of an economic burden it will be. The action threshold will then allow professionals to determine the course of action for the pest problem.

Preventative measures: A variety of actions are taken to keep pests away and make facilities less desirable hosts. These methods could include weatherization of buildings, removing overgrown vegetation, installing barriers, and educating occupants on IPM.

Control: This is a last resort step that may involve the use of pesticides or other, more invasive pest-removal actions. Consistent documentation is crucial for measuring efficacy and ensuring that the safest methods were always used.

Why it’s great…

Pests and improper use of pesticides can make your customers and employees feel sick, and make conditions such as asthma and allergies even worse. IPM is less invasive and limits the use of chemicals, which all keep the building healthier for the people occupying it.   Benefits to utilizing an IPM program include:

  • Cost-effective, customized plans and treatment
  • Prevent re-entry of pests
  • Some tactics, such as weatherization, may make buildings more energy-efficient
  • Keeps the air and water from being polluted
  • Protects other non-problematic plants and animals from pesticide harm
  • Decrease the chances of pests becoming resistant to pesticides

Because of the wide variety of methods and actions that can be taken, IPM can be even more effective than traditional, universally spraying of pesticides. A study of housing developments in New York City found that buildings receiving IPM had much lower counts of cockroaches and mice compared to the ones that continued to receive traditional services. Tenants in the IPM buildings were also more satisfied with their housing developments overall.

Whether your business has a pest problem or you want to stop one before it starts, consider the integrated pest management approach.

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