What is Integrated Pest Management (IPM)?
According to the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program; “IPM is an ecosystem-based strategy that focuses on long-term prevention of pests or their damage through a combination of techniques such as biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices, and use of resistant varieties. Pesticides are used only after monitoring indicates they are needed according to established guidelines, and treatments are made with the goal of removing only the target organism.
IPM is not a one stop solution to eliminating the pests you deal with on a daily basis, this is a long-temp prevention plan for these pests or the damage they cause by managing the ecosystem they live in. It is not just reacting to the pests you see right now, but creating an inhabitable environment affecting their ability to thrive.
IPM programs combine several methods of managing pests that work effectively together with one another. Pest management is broken into several categories:
Biological Control– the use of natural enemies, introducing competitors to the pests themselves.
Cultural Controls– practices that reduce pest establishment, reproduction, dispersal, and survival. Changing irrigation is an example of a practice that can reduce pest problems, since too much water can increase root disease and weeds.
Mechanical and Physical Controls– practices that will kill a pest directly, block a pest out or make the environment unsuitable for its survival. Rodent traps would be an example of a mechanical control. Physical controls would include mulches for weeds or sterilization of the soil for diseases.
Chemical Control– this is the use of pesticides.
While using pesticides will eliminate the pests present, it is most effective to follow an Integrated Pest Management program using all methods of control to eliminate the establishment of pests from the start.
How to get Started?
A big influence for pests is the season and their environment, weather changes can be a predictor to the pests present and their stage of life. It is very important to know the seasonal pest patterns for your area to give you the ability to make proper preparations to battle them.
A personal, in field, weather station can give you a specific look into the environment present for pests, allowing you to attack when the time is right. One valuable piece of information given from our standard weather station is growing degree days. This is a weather-based indicator for assessing crop development. Growing degree days is a calculation that measures heat accumulation and in turn is used to predict plant and pest development rates. This is critical information because it allows you to attack pests in the most vulnerable stage of their life cycle.
Installing an IPM ready Davis weather station or upgrading an existing Davis station can give you a more advanced and in depth look at what pests may be present and what stage of their life cycle they are in. Along with knowing your growing degree days, these stations will give you tailored IPM reports. These reports take models designed for a number of individual pests and uses your personal data to give you an in depth look of potential threat risks present in your orchard.