Integrated Pest Management
Discovering which pest is causing the damage is the first important step in controlling pests. Our "How can I tell which pest I have?" section is a great place to start.
Some pests (or signs of them) are unmistakable. Most people recognize a cockroach or a mouse, but other signs that make you think 'pest' can be misleading. For instance, what might look like a plant 'disease' may turn out to be the result of poor soil or lack of water.
You need to identify the pest in order to look up the life cycle and other information that will help you decide how to deal with it. A magnifying lens (10x) can help you identify many diseases, and your local garden centre is a terrific source of information.
3. Monitoring Populations of Pests and Beneficial Organisms, Pest Damage, and Environmental Conditions
The presence of pests doesn't always mean a 'pest problem.'
Monitoring for pests means regularly inspecting the areas, plants, animals, or stored products where pest damage might take place.
In a monitoring program, pest populations, symptoms of damage, weather conditions (such as rain or temperature), and other key factors related to pest development are observed and noted.
Monitoring regularly lets you catch a developing pest problem early on and then treat it before it spreads to a larger area.
Controlling pests isn't the same as eliminating them forever.
When it comes to pests in your home or garden, try to be practical. Ask yourself:
- Does my lawn really need to be totally weed-free?
- Do I need to get rid of all of the insects, since some are actually beneficial to my lawn and garden?
- Do I need every type of fruit, vegetable, or flower I grow, or could I replace the ones that are sensitive to pests with stronger substitutes?
- Can I accept some damaged fruits and vegetables from my garden?
Following an IPM program means applying treatment only when your monitoring shows that pests are building up to a level you can't accept.
Set your own personal threshold for each pest. Your threshold level is the number of a particular pest or the amount of pest damage you can accept before you feel the need to control it.