What is IPM?

IPM is the acronym for Integrated Pest Management. This concept of IPM in pest control was first developed in the late 1950’s in response to the development of insect and weed resistance to modern pesticides, and the serious difficulties this presented to the success and profitability of agriculture. The term was first described as the Integrated Control Concept (1959). The problem was that with development of insect resistance to products, treatment did not achieve the same results in improved crop yields so that the cost of treatment added cost without the expected benefits in yield. As a result of this, researchers in agriculture began looking at better ways to address the issue through looking at alternative ways to control and reduce impacts of pests based on understanding the biology of the pests. A similar problem also exists with pests that live in or near buildings and depend on human activities for success such as cockroaches, mice, rats, ants, flies as well as pests that actually do damage to structures such as termites and carpenter ants. In more recent years, bed bugs have also made a comeback and have developed high resistance to currently used products. IPM was therefore adapted to be used in Structural Pest Control (the pests that live in or near structures), and in Vector Pest Control (the pests that can cause disease in humans and domestic animals. The concept and practice of IPM is is based on a model of using knowledge of the pests and of their environment living in or near our buildings in order to prevent them from getting into buildings, and of making it more difficult for them to succeed through good design, maintenance, early detection and treatment that includes non-chemical methods, and the use of pesticides only when necessary and in the least amounts needed. Integrated Pest Management also has a Quality Assurance aspect so that the term “Management” in IPM is not merely a “catch-phrase”, but means what management means – that is an active process of getting things done based on “intelligence” and knowledge with a quality assurance oversight. Integrated Pest Management can be applied to any pest control issue and is the recognized best approach. IPM is not one specific method of control nor even a defined treatment protocol, it is an approach that is dynamic and while there are common elements, it is the best use of prevention and treatment methods. Knowledge is the key to IPM and this includes the education of a variety of “stakeholders”. It may be the homeowner facing solving a specific problem in their home, or a landlord or facilities manager from a 4 Star Hotel to a homeless shelter, a senior residence home manager, or public housing property manager, but also includes pest management professionals, health department and property standards inspectors and social care agencies. In addressing some pest issues such as bed bugs it may also involve legislators at all levels of government. IPM is also grounded in the work of researchers in various disciplines involving pest control.