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What Is Integrated Pest Management (IPM)?

Integrated pest management (IPM) effectively reduces pest populations while minimizing human health and environmental hazards. IPM is a widely accepted, scientific approach to pest management. 

Approach

The approach can be used to manage all kinds of pests anywhere—in urban, agricultural, and wildland or natural areas. The major components of an IPM program are:

Pest Identification

Different pests have different biologies, and require different tactics. 

Treatment Needed?

Sometimes a few pests are acceptable, and treatment isn’t needed.  For example, do you really need to remove clover from your lawn?

Monitor pest populations 

Monitoring is needed to determine if and when treatments are needed. 

Choose Prevention First

It is often possible to build pests out of structures and landscapes, thus solving future pest problems without chemicals.

Using the least-toxic controls possible

Many pest control options are available, but hazardous chemical controls should be saved as a last resort.  


Costs 

IPM clearly pays off in its greater effectiveness and reduced pesticide (and pest) hazards. However, comparing the monetary costs of IPM to conventional pest control services can be complicated. IPM addresses long-term problems, but may have higher up-front costs for facility repairs or other pest prevention measures. In addition, pest management costs are often divided among many different areas, from labor and materials, to design and repair, to health care costs. In monetary terms alone (not including health care costs), the general consensus is that structural IPM programs cost slightly more in the first year but less thereafter. 


Related Content
Residential Pest Management
Pest Management for Businesses
Pesticide Hazards
Pest Management Resources

Additional Resources
What is IPM? - University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program
Integrated Pest Management in an Urban Community: A Successful Partnership for Prevention - Environmental Health Perspectives
Comparison of Cost and Effectiveness for Cockroach Control - National Center for Healthy Housing/U.S.Environmental Protection Agency
The Role of Pest Control in Effective Asthma Management: A Business Case (PDF) - Asthma Regional Council, New England 

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