Integrated Pest Management
What is Integrated Pest Management?
Integrated Pest Management or IPM is a technique used to manage both indoor and outdoor pests by choosing the safest, most effective, and least hazardous method possible. It relies on a series of steps, which when executed correctly, create unfavorable living conditions for pests and eliminate the pest problem in your home. The steps below outline the process of IPM.
Proactive measures to prevent pests from entering the home:
Keep it clean:
Don’t leave food or drinks sitting out, pick up pet food at night, clean up spills right away, remove clutter, empty garbage can frequently, store food in tightly sealed containers, vacuum on a regular basis, dust using a damp cloth, launder bedding on a regular basis.
Keep it dry:
Fix any leaks or areas of seepage as soon as possible, use ventilation systems like exhaust fans, vents and windows so steam does not build up, regularly check plumbing and structure for any leaks, clean and check gutters regularly to ensure proper drainage.
Keep it maintained:
Block or seal any holes or entrance points with solid or fine mesh materials, caulk around sinks and tubs, use insect netting/screens in seasons when windows and doors are left open, install weather stripping around doors and windows, and secure loose wallpaper and trim.
How do I monitor for pests?
Monitoring for pests is an effective way to not only discover what type of pest you may have but it can also give you an idea of the concentration or severity of the problem. One easy way to monitor for pests is by using glue boards or traps. These devices only work if they are properly placed. According to research, it is important to place monitor traps in pest-vulnerable areas (PVAs), which are any areas where conditions are right for a pest to establish and thrive. PVAs are normally those areas where water, food, and shelter are available. In buildings, kitchens and food-handling areas are prime PVAs. Any area where trash is handled is an automatic PVA because of the food availability and the many pest hiding places it provides. In outdoor areas, monitors should be located where they will provide the best information for the area under consideration.
A pesticide is any chemical used to kill, prevent, or control pests. While sometimes very effective, pesticides pose risks as well. Pesticides are often temporary fixes and/or ineffective over the long term. According to IPM, pesticides should be used sparingly and in combination with other IPM solutions such as eliminating the pest’s habitat and thorough cleaning. If you are using a pesticide remember to carefully read and follow manufacturer's label. For more information on pesticide safety, please visit our page on preventing accidental poisoning by clicking here.
IPM: It’s a Pyramid
One simple way to think of IPM is to envision a pyramid. Much like the food pyramid, it is best to start from the bottom using preventative measures and only move to using things like pesticides when absolutely necessary. The pyramid also increases in toxicity moving form bottom to top.