Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a system that utilises all suitable methods to maintain the pest population at levels below those causing economic damage. Success depends on adequate understanding of population dynamics of pests (and potential pests) of the ecology and economics of the cropping systems and possible harmful effects to the general environment.


-Acceptable pest levels,

  • Reduce damage to a level below that of economic thresholds (Economic Injury Level)
  • I.e. Control, not eradication. Using action thresholds.
  • Allowing a certain percent of pest populations to survive reduces selective pressures and the chance they may become resistant (to spraying).

-Preventative cultural practices

  • The first line of defence is to choose varieties that are best for the conditions of the environment, or resistant to particular pests.
  • Rotations, plant spacing, polycultures and well timing of the crop.
  • Plant sanitation is also important- removing dead plants infected with a virus, etc.

-Monitoring (forecasting)

  • Inspection (visually and using traps) followed by identification of pest species.
  • Knowledge of pest’s thermal biology necessary- degree days can predict emergence of some pest larvae/adults.
  • Weather is also important for insect pests and plant pathogens.

-Mechanical Methods

  • If the pest should reach an unacceptable level, mechanical removal of the pest is the first option.
  • Includes simple hand picking, barriers, traps, vacuuming and tillage to disrupt breeding
  • Inexpensive but can be labour intensive.

-Biological controls

  • Natural biological processes can provide control, with acceptable losses and minimized environmental impact.
  • This can be done by promotion of natural enemies (predators and parasitoids) of the pest.
  • There are also biological insecticides derived from naturally occurring microorganisms (Bt and entomopathogenic fungi).

-Responsible Use.

  • Environmental effects of pesticides must be taken into account
  • Knock-on effect of biological control measures too- effects on non-target organisms (like a bio-control agent instead controlling an NTO).
  • Prevention of pesticide resistance and secondary pest resurgence.








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