Integrated Pest Management
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a holistic and environmentally sound approach to minimize pesticide use by managing and reducing pest populations. As the name suggests, this is a completely integrated process that involves the following:
- Knowledge – know all you can about the pests you will be encountering. For example, aphids are a major issue in greenhouses. So, we need to know all we can from their lifecycles, what plants they prefer and natural controls, such as parasitic wasps.
- Prevention – As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! Focusing on tasks such as proper water, nutrition, sanitation, variety selection and pest management help prevent pest and disease outbreaks.
- Observation – Careful monitoring of crops for pest and disease help identify a small problem before it becomes a big one. We monitor our plants in multiple ways. This includes visual inspection of very susceptible crops and use of yellow sticky cards to trap insets in the greenhouse.
- Intervention – Even with all the knowledge, prevention and observation, pest and disease outbreaks can occur. Once the outbreak occurs, there are several methods we can employ to manage it, including physically removing effected plants, using predatory insects to significantly reduce the pest population and chemical controls. When deciding on chemical controls, biologic and organic options are selected. These options limit any impact on our precious bee populations.
- Evaluation and Planning – Continuing to learn, adapt and improve is key to any IPM program. We continue to learn to reduce pest or disease issues so less management is needed.
This approach takes a great deal of effort, but we feel it is the right approach to growing strong healthy plants in an environmentally way. We are happy to answer any specific questions you may have regarding IMP and share resources for how you can use IMP in your home gardens.