What is Integrated Pest Management?
Integrated Pest Management, also referred to as IMP, and involves utilizing knowledge and resources to develop a broad approach in reducing risk of plant pests and crop damage.
Success starts here, if proper steps are taken, you will face little to no infestations.
- Cleanliness–keep garden/growing space free of excess debris, water, weeds. Sanitize pots, saucers, equipment and spaces between crops using Physan 20or Bio Green Clean.
- Preventative plant treatment-when acquiring plants from other sources it is vital to isolate and treat them before introducing them into your garden. This can be done using Azamax and/or Green Cleaner.
- Preventative room treatment-ideally set off a fogger in the empty grow space while no plants are present between crops to achieve 100% coverage. Good options for this include Pyrethrum TR, Beethoven TR, and Trinity TR.
Scouting and Monitoring
Become familiar with the common insects that affect your crop and/or region and the damage that they cause. Early identification is vital to minimize damage to plants.
Common pests include-spider mites, thrips, root aphids, fungus gnats, whiteflies, russet mites, foliar aphids.
Inspect plants closely on a regular basis for presence of insects and/or damage. A few things that can help with early detection are Yellowand Blue Sticky Traps, Magnifier Loupes, and Active Eye Microscopes.
Treatment of an Infestation
Despite preventative efforts all gardeners will face an infestation to some degree that will require treatment. It is important to ensure that you are using the right product for the right pest and crop.
There are beneficial insects, fungi, and bacteria that can be effective in prevention and treatment of plant pests. Some of the more popular biological controls include
a. Phytoseiulus persimilisfor controlling spider mites
b. Botanigard ES and Met-52 for controlling root aphids
c. Gnatrol WDG and Nematodes for controlling fungus gnats
d. Encarsia formosa for controlling whiteflies
e. Ladybugs for controlling aphids
f.Amblyseius cucumeris for controlling thrips.
Technically to be qualified as organic, a substance must be certified by OMRI or another qualified organization. These are deemed to be the safest to use both for application exposure and for those crops that are going to be consumed or exposed to the human body in some manner. Application instructions must still be read and followed carefully as some degree of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) will still be necessary for use.
These are not typically certified by a particular organization, but rather consist entirely of natural derived substances. Similar to organic substances, these are generally considered to be of low risk. As always follow instructions and use proper PPE.
These of course are man-made but are often mimicking naturally occurring compounds. These tend to be products that you want to be more cautious with and can be broken down into further classifications.
Synthetic pesticides safe for consumable products
The product label will indicate this. You still need to be aware of proper application rates, recommended PPE, and the amount of time between application and consumption of the plant product.
These are strictly labeled for ornamental use only and should NOT be used for plants intended for consumption. There are often very strict application instructions intended to protect people and the environment. USE WITH EXTREME CAUTION!
It is very important that you do not use the same product for the same pest over and over again. Most insects have such a short life cycle that they are able to develop resistance rather quickly. The insects that survive produce offspring that exhibit resistant traits that allowed them to survive the initial pesticide treatment. Coming at them with a rotation of 2 or more products proves to be most effective and reduce resistance.
It is necessary to protect yourself and others any time you are using a pesticide or fungicide of any kind. Depending on the product used, if proper measures are not followed serious health effects can result.
Product label instructions
If you are ever to thoroughly read an instruction manual, pesticide application is THE time to do it. After all you are likely spraying something that is suspended into the air where yourself, others, and the environment are at risk of the consequences.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
This should be listed on the product label. This may consist of simply wearing long pants and sleeves or require more drastic measure such as respirators properly rated for the chemical being used.
Do NOT sell yourself short here, we do not want to see any harm done to you, others, or the environment
Here is a list of some popular PPE that we recommend: Grease Bully Nitrile Gloves, Kleenguard Chemical Suits, Tychem SL Chemical Suits, 3M Half Mask and Full Mask Respirators, 3M P100 Respirator Cartridges.
Re-entry interval (REI)
This is listed on the product label and/or the MSDS (anchor text to the MSDS sheet). It is the length of time that must pass before you can safely re-enter the treated area without PPE.
The key to successful Integrated Pest Management is to take a multi-faceted approach to insect control. Do not simply rely on one of the sections listed above but be pro-active in all phases.