Pests are usually defined as the insects or other animals that attacks the crops and destroys the cultivation
Usually, lots of chemicals or pesticides are used to get rid of them
However, the problem still continues and use of pesticides further leads to other gigantic problems.
What is Integrated Pest Management (IPM)?
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an ecosystem-based strategy that focuses on long-term prevention of pests or their damage through a combination of techniques such as biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices, and use of resistant varieties.
It is an approach to control the pest in an integrated way.
Under this method, pesticides are only used according to standard established guidelines and treatment is done with a goal of removing only the target organisms.
It is a method which is used to solve pest problems without or at low level of risk to the people and the environment.
It is an eco-friendly method of pest control.
Furthermore, IPM can also be considered as a pest control program that combines several methods for prevention from the pest and protection of the plants.
IPM incorporates several biological, ecological, physical and chemical strategies for controlling the pests’ problems
IPM programs use information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information is then used to manage pest damage.
Principles of IPM:
Principle 1:Prevention and Suppression
Prevention is adoption of measures to reduce the chance of occurrence of pest. Suppression is reducing the impact of the pests.
Prevention and suppression can be done by applying the different techniques.
It is a method of preventing the spreading of harmful organisms by hygiene measures (e.g. by regular cleansing of machinery and equipment)
One of the methods of prevention and suppression is crop rotation where it would break the life cycle of the pests.
Prevention and suppression also include use of adequate cultivation techniques (e.g. stale seedbed technique, sowing dates and densities, under-sowing, conservation tillage, pruning and direct sowing)
Principle 2: Monitoring
Harmful organisms must be monitored by adequate methods and tools, wherever available.
Monitoring can be done through observations, use of scientifically sound warning, forecasting and early diagnosis systems, advice from professionally qualified advisers, etc.
Many countries like France, Denmark have adopted this monitoring and forecasting technique
Principle 3: Decision making
Decision making is done based on the results of the monitoring
IPM focuses on threshold-based intervention in most of the cases. Threshold is the defined pest density, or population level, which when exceeded, management should occur.
However, threshold is difficult to define in most of the cases and in case of tolerant species, decision of intervention is based on the general observations.
We should also be aware that specific crops, pest life cycle, climatic condition, etc., should be considered before making any kind of decisions
Principle 4: Non-Chemical Methods
Non-chemical methods are prioritized over chemical methods if they can produce satisfactory results.
As chemical methods are often not sustainable and creates more pest problems, non-chemical methods are always preferred at first hand as they are more sustainable with less biological and environmental hazards.
Examples of non-chemical methods include soil-solarization or biological control.
Use of live natural enemies is one of the major non-chemical (biological) intervention method
Other non-chemical methods include biological, physical and ecological methods.
Principle 5: Pesticide Selection
IPM doesn’t totally avoid the use of the pesticides
When the alternative methods are not properly used then the pesticides are used for pest control.
The pesticides used however needs to be as specific as possible for the target
The pesticides shouldn’t possess any threat to the health of human, non-target humans and environment.
Principle 6: Reduced Pesticide Use
Reduced pesticides use refers to the reduction in the frequency and doses of the pesticides
This method needs to be supported by the other means of intervention
It helps in reducing the side effects of the pesticides
Principle 7: Anti- resistant Strategies
IPM focuses on the anti-resistance activities as:
Unmanaged and haphazard use of the pesticides have created the problem of resistance and
Pests have developed the resistance and the use of pesticides have less effect on them
This is also the major reason for the IPM.
Anti-resistant strategies include use of combination of different pesticides that has different mode of action, applied in different time.
Principle 8: Evaluation
Evaluation is the important aspect of the IPM program.
Evaluation is done based on the records of the use of the pesticides, its effects and many more.
Evaluation is necessary in studying the effectiveness of the plan protective measures and plan further.
Advantages of IPM:
1. Lower cost intervention
Traditionally, the use of the pesticides to control the pest invasion would account to lots of cost.
Also, these pesticides need to be imported as well
The application of IPM would lessen the financial burden.
Moreover, different techniques involved in IPM are more sustainable with long lasting benefits
2. Benefits to the environment
Use of the pesticides are often linked degradation of the environment causing some more additional problems
IPM is an eco-friendly approach and the effects on the environment is always considered before the application of any interventions
Less use of pesticides won’t affect the fertility of soil
3. Minimizes residue hazards of pesticides
It is obvious that in an IPM schedule the use of pesticides will be considerably reduced, hence the pesticide residue hazards will also get automatically minimized.
The IPM model in itself is the anti-resistant mode for pest control.
It discourages the use of chemicals and thus creates less cases of anti-resistance.
Pesticides are used only when the other alternatives are not satisfying.
5. Useful and best intervention for the general public
Assurance of safe, reliable and low-cost pest control
The pest control will not affect the crops
Moreover, it is safe and affordable for the general public as well
Disadvantages or limitations of IPM:
1. More involvement in the technicalities of the method
IPM needs to be planned
IPM demands more attention and dedication
Requires expertise of various field
All those involved in the IPM needs to be educated and trained which often requires much time.
2. Time and energy consuming
Application of IPM takes time.
Much time is needed in planning itself.
As IPM strategies differs from region to region, a separate plan is required for each region.
The expected results of intervention may take long time to be achieved.
Challenges in IPM:
Financial constraints in initiation of the IPM
Lack of involvement of the expertise
Inadequate research on pests
Lack of supportive government and policies
In developing countries where traditional farming is still practiced, farmers are unknown to the concept of IPM as well as IPM seems difficult to practice.