Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a term that varies in its interpretation depending on the practitioner. It is often misleadingly used to describe conventional methods. However, properly defined IPM does not allow for the use of pesticides immediately upon pest identification as does a conventional approach. Watch out for conventional pest management programs being disguised as IPM.
IPM as defined by Beyond Pesticides
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a pest management system that:
Eliminates or mitigates economic and health damage caused by pests;
Minimizes the use of pesticides and the risk to human health and the environment associated with pesticide applications; and
Uses integrated methods, site or pest inspections, pest population monitoring, an evaluation of the need for pest control, and one or more pest control methods, including sanitation, structural repairs, mechanical and living biological controls; other non-chemical methods, and, if nontoxic options are unreasonable and have been exhausted, least toxic pesticides.
Least toxic pesticides include:
Desiccant dusts (diatomaceous earth and silica gel)
Nonvolatile insect and rodent baits in tamper resistant containers or for crack and crevice treatment only,
Pesticides made with essential oils (not including pyrethrums) without toxic synergists; and,
Materials for which the inert ingredients are nontoxic and disclosed.
The term 'least toxic pesticides' does not include a pesticide that is:
Determined by EPA to be a possible, probable, or known carcinogen, mutagen, teratogen, reproductive toxin, developmental neurotoxin, endocrine disruptor, or immune system toxin;
A pesticide in EPA's toxicity category I or II; and
Any application of the pesticide using a broadcast spray, dust, tenting, fogging, or baseboard spray application.
For a full overview of IPM and program essentials by Beyond Pesticides click here for a pdf.