IPM is an oft mis-used buzz word for the politically correct. There are many definitions. It is more common sense than anything else. The US government is in the process of legislating pest control in schools and they are defining the process as IPM. When this occurs, it will at least standardize the term. Many use it like a mantra to show they minimize pesticide use.
The basic idea is to deal first with the environmental issues that contribute to the success of the pest. This requires some knowledge of the life of the pest in question.
For example, say the pests are fungus gnats. This bug can usually breed in only a few places in the home: over-watered root balls of house plants; the slime on the inside layer of the house plumbing; the gunk inside the edge of the garbage disposal.
Once you know the pest and the conditions that favor it, you alter or repair them. With the fungus gnats, if you eliminate the breeding site, the problem goes away without any pesticide use. To eliminate the breeding site, you would repot the plant, clean the inside of the disposal, make certain the p-traps have water in them.
Insect traps are a common tool to evaluate pest populations. You will find this as a step in most IPM definitions: inspect, monitor, modify habitat, monitor, apply chemical, monitor. For some, a feedback loop is included. The school legislation will require a paper trail.
One of my biggest customers is a school district with 200+ schools. Rodent control will be the most effected when the new law takes effect. Today, when a school calls with a mouse problem, I start by looking for evidence and habitat. Where would I go/hide if I was a mouse? If conditions prevent access by children I usually place a bait or bait station in the problem area. Then I look for the open rodent door - how did it get in? In nearly every case, there is a door missing the door sweep right near the problem. Even though I point it out, it is rarely fixed and when the rodent bait is gone I am called to replace the poison bait or snap trap etc.
In the future, the door sweep will be reported to a higher authority, a work order will be released, and I will return to remove the bait when the work is done and the mice are gone.
If your goal, like mine, is to use little or no pesticide, you are most likely already an IPM practitioner.
"To sum it up you use good bugs in greenhouse to keep bad bugs out... Brenda"
A greenhouse is a closed environment. You should be able to avoid using bugs or chemicals if you meticulously close all entry points, but it also requires impeccable sanitation.
Although I am an organic gardener and an exterminator, I have no professional (or even amature) experience with greenhouse pest control. I have read a little about some of the greenhouses that grow "gourmet" hydroponic tomatoes. The only chemicals they use are in the fertilizer/nutrient mix. They do not use bugs inside.
Lady bugs, for example, are a real pain. The immature stages eat aphids only, and the adults hibernate in structures. I have been called to spray to get rid of them in houses. Thousands will infiltrate from the outside and then gradually emerge inside all winter. When people buy them, they don't realize the bug wants to fly before it lays eggs. So they release the ladybugs and the lady bugs fly away to someone else's garden.
To me, IPM is an excuse to continue using small quantities of chemical insecticide, fungicide, herbicide, and other -icides when perfectly good organic methods and materials are available. Ideally you don't want to use anything unnatural against pests, because even many of the organic solutions are non-selective and will kill things you have not targeted.
Some people plant certain "weeds" simply because they attract the beneficial insects and birds to the yard. Some people put up bird houses, bird feeders, and bird baths to attract hungry birds to the yard. Lots of things can be done. One thing I do is to leave all the wasp nests around to eat the caterpillars and spiders in the garden and garage.
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