WHAT IS INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT?
If you have a garden outside your house, you are probably aware that there is an entire universe in that small patch of land. There are many different kinds of insects and animals there that have established their own “communities” and have found a way to sustain themselves through the fruits of the land. Yes, we are not the only ones benefiting from our hard, manual labour, and insects and animals will always be a part of every garden.
Animals and insects are not exactly bad for the garden. A lot of our plant species count on these insects and birds for pollination. Indeed, there are many more ways these insects and animals become beneficial to us and our gardens. There are, however, insects that are very damaging and can easily destroy our plants. Our gardens can easily turn into a paradise for unwanted pests where food is abundant. They gradually suck the life out of your once colourful garden by eating the leaves, stems, and roots of your plants. If we are not vigilant, then our gardens would eventually be in ruins.
This is why we should always be aware of what types of insects are there in the garden, and know how to get rid of each type of pests. Let us discuss garden pests and how to manage them.
Integrated Pest Management
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization defines Integrated Pest Management as “the care of all available pest control techniques and subsequent integration of appropriate measures that discourage the development of pest populations and keep pesticides and other interventions to levels that are economically justified and minimize and reduce risks to human health and the environment.”
Initially developed for commercial farmers, the principles of the Integrated Pest Management or IPM has been adopted by home gardeners as well. It promotes the non-use of synthetic pesticides that can affect human health.
IPM combines a series of activities and is not just a single control measure. With IPM, keep in mind the following:
Prevention – The first line of defence will always be the selection of the best varieties for local growing conditions and keeping the crops healthy. Inspecting for plants with disease and removing them comes next. Adding beneficial fungi and bacteria to the potting media to crops that are vulnerable to root diseases reduces the need for fungicides.
Know the acceptable pest levels – As we said, there are some insects that are beneficial to the garden, and that they will always be a part of it. It would be virtually impossible to eliminate them 100%, so the attention should be on control, and not total elimination. It is said that if almost pests are killed by insecticides, then those that survived can develop resistance, which they would certainly pass on to their offspring.
Monitoring – You should check if there really is a pest problem, or if it is just an isolated case. You would only know with regular observation. Visually inspect and record pest levels in your garden. Identification also is important when monitoring. False identification of pests may result in the wrong course of action. Monitoring should begin immediately.
Control – How do you stop the damage before it gets much worse? If the pests go beyond the acceptable levels, mechanical control methods are the number 1 option. This would include simply handpicking the pests from the plants, placing row covers, vacuuming, and putting traps. Introducing beneficial insects can do the trick also.
Applying Integrated Pest Management in your vegetable garden
Prevent pests right from the very beginning by planting only the plant varieties that are suitable to your area. You may also identify the insects that are common to your site and base your decision on what to plant on this information.
Encourage beneficial insects. To do this, try companion planting. Companion planting is planting two plants close to each other because doing so benefits each other. Beneficial insects are those that feed on the pests that feed on your plants. Companion planting has the ability to attract them. The following are examples of beneficial insects: ladybug larvae, which feed on aphids; ground beetles, which take care of the ground-dwelling pests; hoverflies, which feed on caterpillars and leafhoppers; lacewing larvae, which feed on aphids; and parasitoid wasps, which feed on aphids, caterpillars, and grubs. Beneficial insects, to catch their attention, need low growing plants, shady and protected areas to lay their eggs, and tiny flowers (for the wasps).
Monitor your plants. Watch out for the first signs of pests. This includes changes in colour, holes, webs, and wilting. Undersides of the leaves should be checked too, as there may be insect eggs there. Then analyze if there are too many pests for your garden to handle. Remember that a garden has a threshold level for accommodating pests. There are times too, that the problem is only temporary and will go away on its own.
If the problem seems long term, then control the damage at once. You can use your hands to remove these pests, especially beetles. After handpicking them, place them in a bucket of soapy water to kill them. If you see an infected or infested plant, remove it immediately so that the infection or infestation would not spread.
Place row covers to protect young plants. This is an effective way to protect them from pests. Sunlight can easily pass through the covers. The downside is that this will prevent pollination because the insects that can pollinate could not get to the plants too. When the plants are strong and big enough, then you may remove the row covers. Sticky traps and other forms of traps are also effective in putting down the population of pests. These traps also help you monitor how bad the problem really is in your garden.
IPM does not necessarily discourage the use of pesticides. A pesticide may be used as a last resort and only if necessary. There are many organic and botanical pesticides in the market. Unfortunately, even organic pesticides can do some harm, so choose one that is the least toxic yet effective.
What are some of the organic pesticides that are allowed for use under the IPM principle?
If using pesticides can be avoided, then do so. Pesticides are a last resort and should be used only if necessary. Though it would be great not to use pesticides for our plants, pest problems may occur which could be very difficult to control. And of course, always read the label.
Here are some of the organic pesticides that can be used for the garden.
Insecticidal soap – Insecticidal soaps are made out of sodium or potassium with fatty acids. It works by having the fatty acids in the soap penetrate the insect’s outer covering, which causes them to die. To be effective, insecticidal soaps must come in direct contact with the insects. Gardeners use this because it is safe for humans and animals and has no residue. The disadvantage of using this is that it can burn the plants.
Neem – Neem is sprayed on the plant’s leaves. This is used best on immature insects and insects that pass through metamorphosis. The advantage of using this is that it is non-toxic to humans. However, it washes away in rain and is slow acting.
Sabadilla – This is made from the seeds of the sabadilla lily, and is used as a spray. It comes in a fine powder and acts as a poison for pests. It is best for use against true bugs. However, it is recommended only as a last resort because of its high toxicity to bees and irritating to mucous membranes of mammals.
For other pest problems, you always have the option to call in the best pest control management in the Carolinas, Go-Forth Pest Control.
Go-Forth is simply the best
Go-Forth Pest Control is a family-owned commercial service solutions provider of modern pest control services and techniques, using the latest and most advanced technology in the business, making our service to you more efficient, safer and more convenient. We have a team of expert professionals who can provide the best pest control services to residents and business establishments all throughout North and South Carolina.
No home or pest is the same, so there is no cookie-cutter solution. At Go-Forth Pest Control, we have professional technicians who will examine your home and your lawn to evaluate your individual necessity. We will identify points of entry and make treatments as necessary. We only use state of the art equipment to keep up with these ever-evolving pests.
We bring in a new and fresh approach to the pest control industry, using family-friendly and pet-friendly methods of extermination that caters to your specific needs. Our expert experience in exterminating pests like cockroaches, wasps, weevils, mosquitoes, mice, flies, termites, ants, and spiders can really make you say goodbye to these pests in your home. You may check us on Facebook or Google us to see what our satisfied customers have to say about us.
Go-Forth Pest Control has earned the trust of residents and businesses in North Carolina for more than 50 years. For more information, or to set an appointment, just dial 336-841-6111. Our friendly operators are standing by.