What is IPM?

IPM, or Integrated Pest Management, is an ecological approach to pest control that offers farmers and others with pest problems (like people who manage buildings and parks) a means to reduce the risk from the pesticides they apply.

IPM is a sustainable approach that emphasizes pest prevention and monitoring in order to minimize economic, health, and environmental risks. Growers who use IPM do not try to eliminate all pests. Instead, they monitor pest populations and intervene when their numbers are potentially damaging to crops. IPM methods include:

Cultural controls such as crop rotation, trap crops and planting resistant varieties

Physical and mechanical controls such as row covers and traps

Chemical controls—these are only used when other methods fail. Least toxic,  targeted pesticides are selected in favor of of broad spectrum pesticides.

Growers using IPM take a systems approach to managing pests. This is a site-specific activity, not something that a farmer can do using a cookbook approach. Management-intensive pest control is specific to the crops involved. IPM in tree fruit differs from IPM in berries.

For more information, visit the Cornell University biological control website.