Four Steps for Controlling Pests
June 2, 2009
This is Chris Matt, Associate Editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today’s tip is implementing an integrated pest management program, or IPM.
Controlling landscape pests is one of the most challenging tasks grounds crews perform. And with pressure mounting on grounds managers to make landscapes more sustainable and to reduce or eliminate pesticide use, the challenges are even greater.
An IPM, involves a series of evaluations, decisions and controls. In putting the program into practice, managers need to monitor the potential for pest infestation and follow a four-step approach.
The first step is: Act to prevent problems. As the first line of defense, managers using IPM strategies work to keep turf and landscaped areas healthy. The program should focus on proper planting and cultural practices, along with selecting resistant or tolerant varieties.
The second step is: Set action thresholds. Before taking any action, managers need to determine the point at which the pest population or environmental conditions indicate action is necessary to avoid economic or aesthetic loss. Sighting one pest does not always require action.
Third: Monitor and identify pests. Many organisms cause no threat to landscapes or humans. Some even help. Workers must positively identify pests so managers can make appropriate control decisions. This process lessens the chances workers will apply pesticides unnecessarily.
The fourth and final step: Take control. When action thresholds indicate the need for pest control, managers need to choose the proper control method, based on effectiveness and risk. The first option should be the most effective but least toxic control.