Integrated pest management (IPM) is practiced differently depending on the type of pests and where they are located. However, for all pests and locations IPM follows the same basic process:
Investing in preventative management reduces the likelihood that chemical pesticides will be needed. There are many strategies to make a location unfavorable to pests; details based on location can be found in the list below.
Regular scouting, or monitoring, of an area for pests helps catch problems early. The Pesticide Environmental Stewardship has more information on scouting/monitoring techniques. Managing a small outbreak of pests is easier than managing an outbreak that has spread undetected. A critical part of scouting is accurately identifying what you find. Sometimes a pest may look very similar to a beneficial predator, and effective management options often differ greatly depending on the pest. Online tools from university and government websites, such as the University of Minnesota Extension, are helpful for identifying pests.
Diversifying the methods you use to fight pests keeps them from finding ways to overcome your management strategies. Stacking multiple management tools can make it even harder for pests to survive. Details about management tools for different locations can be found below while more general ideas about management tools can be found on the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship website.
Sometimes pests never reach levels that threaten yield, profit, or health. Managing low levels of pests with chemicals is unnecessary and sometimes backfires, causing pests to flare up. Years of research goes into determining when pest levels are unacceptable and require chemical management; those levels are called thresholds. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Cropwatch provides more detail on how thresholds are calculated.
Not surprisingly, an IPM plan for cockroaches in a school will look very different than an IPM plan for soybean aphids in soybean. Details about how to practice IPM in different locations are provided in the table below.