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IPM 101

posted Aug 21, 2011, 2:06 PM by Stacey M

Integrated Pest Management also known as IPM is an ecological approach to crop management in agriculture to solve problems with fungus, insects, mold or any other situation that may be considered a pest. IPM incorporates natural environmentally friendly techniques with modern pest management to create a sustainable plan for a maximum harvest. IPM is used throughout the word and it’s developers have been honored by the United Nations with the World Food Prize. 

There are three stages to IPM, prevention, observation and intervention. The idea of IPM is to control the pest population not to eliminate it. What we think of as pests, other animals think of as food. If you kill one small thing it can lead to a chain reaction that will kill your food as well. Remember that we need insects to pollinate our plants or we will not have fruit and vegetables to eat. We need bacteria to break down waste for compost or we would have no fertilizers. It is all a cycle.

Step 1: Prevention
To prevent the spread of unwanted disease, bacteria and insects you should select your plants from local distributers. Not only does this ensure you are helping your local businesses, but you are more likely to find a plant that will grow well in your local enviroment. Also by choosing heirloom variety seeds and plants you are likely have much more flavorful results!

Step 2: Observation
The cornerstone of IPM is watching your plants! This is broken down into two steps. First is Inspection, Second is Identification. Be sure to check your plants everyday for signs of insects or spores. If your plants have damage on them be sure to identify the type of damage. You can do this by looking at educational websites, entemology and gardening books or contacting your local cornell co-operative extension.

Step 3: Intervention

Once you have identified the type of damage on your plants and have determined that it is at an unacceptable level it is time to take action. If you only have a few plants you may consider picking off the bugs, using fly paper or traps, or hoeing the ground around the pants to disrupt breeding. You may also consider attracting some beneficial insects by planting certain types of vegitation or getting some biological insecticides.

Charts of beneficial plants, what bugs they help repel, and how well they attract pollinators.


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