Integrated pest management

Integrated pest management (IPM) is an environmentally sensitive way of managing pests. It uses a combination of practices and control methods with the aim of preventing problems from occurring and reducing the need for pesticide intensive activities such as broadacre spraying.

IPM practices include

  • forward planning

  • regular monitoring

  • timely decision-making

IPM control methods include

  • cultural methods – they change the conditions to make them less favourable for pests, such as adjusting planting location or timing or crop rotation and cultivation techniques which expose pests to predation or destroy their food, shelter and breeding habitats

  • physical methods – they prevent pests from entering the area using methods such as barriers and traps, or physically remove them

  • genetic methods – these methods select pest resistant varieties developed by classical breeding or via genetic engineering

  • biological methods – they use predators, parasites or microbial pathogens to suppress pests

  • chemical methods – they use substances to kill or repel pests, selecting the least toxic options first and applying them only when needed instead of, for example, regular preventative spraying

  • regulatory methods – they prevent the entry or spread of pests using quarantine regulations and restrict the movement of materials including crops and livestock

IPM can be applied in many settings, such as on farms; in homes, gardens, workplaces and natural spaces such as national parks; and in schools.