Developing an Integrated Pest Management Program
November 3, 2009
This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media, with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today’s tip is putting together an integrated pest management program, or IPM.
Integrated pest management is gaining popularity among grounds managers seeking more sustainable options for traditional methods of protecting buildings, turf and landscapes.
IPM programs offer guidance based on information on the life cycle of a pest and its interaction with the environment – as well as available pest-control methods – to manage pest damage more economically, safely, and responsibly. One organization, the IPM Institute of North America, has developed a certification entitled Green Shield Certified, recognizing institutional and commercial facilities that meet IPM guidelines.
To earn Green Shield certification, the facility must have a formal IPM program, and a written IPM policy must state a commitment to the program’s implementation. The policy has to identify overall objectives relating to pest and pesticide risk management. A written IPM plan needs to include a schedule for inspecting and monitoring buildings and grounds, if applicable, and it must include a schedule for areas requiring more frequent inspection and monitoring.
Certified facilities also must establish appropriate roles and open communications policies. A specific individual needs to be responsible for day-to-day interpretation of the IPM policy, and the facility must have a trained pest-management professional on staff.
If the grounds department uses outside contractors for pest-control services, the department needs a signed contract identifying specific IPM practices the provider must use, including regular inspections, monitoring for pests and conditions that lead to pest problems, recordkeeping, and the use of least-toxic pesticides only as a last resort.