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What Is Integrated Pest Management & How Does It Work?

pest control technician examinaing a crawlspace with a flashlight

Integrated Pest Management (IPM), also known as Integrated Pest Control, is a process that uses ecosystem-based strategies that are focused on the long-term prevention of pests and their damages, thereby minimizing the risk to people and the environment. This basically means that instead of just treating pest problems with chemicals, there are simple measures that can be taken to help prevent infestations in the first place. 

How does IPM work?

Integrated Pest Management is based on a combination of four controls, or methods, to effectively manage pests. 

  • Biological controls utilize natural enemies or predators. This could include owning a cat to keep mice away or planting lavender or mums, which naturally repel ladybugs.
  • Cultural controls are based on actions you can perform to reduce the reproduction, attraction, or survival of pests. This could be as simple as raking leaves to discourage critters from nesting there.
  • Mechanical and physical controls are based on blocking out pests or making the environment unsuitable for them to live in—by using screens for example.
  • Chemical controls include using chemicals, such as pesticides, to get rid of bugs, rodents, and more.

It is important to remember that IPM is based on the combination of these methods. 

Why use IPM?

In the past, homeowners would notice a pest problem and call a technician, who would then use chemical treatments. While this may have worked then, through the overuse of chemical products, many pests have developed a natural resistance to pesticides. Additionally, most of the chemicals are not safe for the family or the environment. By practicing IPM strategies, you avoid having to use chemicals until it is your last possible option.

How to Implement IPM

The key to a successful IPM program is simple—prevention. You want to prevent pests from getting into your home and causing a problem. To do that, ask yourself: where and how could they gain entrance to your home and how do I seal those openings? To help you answer that question, reach out to an expert exterminator who is familiar with your area and common pest problems. Many companies, including BOG Pest Control, will offer a free inspection to not only discuss access points that pests could use to enter your home, but to also check for any tell-tale signs of a current infestation.

10 IPM Tips for Homeowners

Here are a few helpful tips on how you can change the environment within your home to hinder and discourage pests. 

  • Check the rubber seals around your garage door and install door sweeps on exterior doors to tightly seal all cracks. Seal gaps around windows by using high-quality silicone or acrylic latex caulk.
  • Caulk around all plumbing and electrical entry points, such as the electric lines, dryer vents, gas lines, and cable lines. If you find larger holes, stuff them with copper or steel wool and then cover them completely with cement patch and paint.
  • Switch to yellow bulbs for outdoor lighting to discourage pests and, if possible, move the lighting away from structures. Outdoor lighting can attract flying insects, which in turn attract spiders.
  • Keep your mulch at least 18” from the foundation of your house, as it holds moisture and attracts small pests, including ants and termites.
  • Keep the lids of exterior trash cans tightly sealed and remove all trash from inside the house on a daily basis. 
  • Make sure to keep counters clean and cover leftovers in sealed plastic bags or store in the refrigerator or freezer. Sweep or vacuum food particles that could attract pests, such as ants.
  • Void damp wood by checking your plumbing for leaks and directing sprinklers and gutter downspouts away from your home. Damp and decaying wood can attract termites and other wood-destroying organisms.
  • Don’t leave pet food out all day—instead, encourage pets to eat at set times and then remove uneaten food.
  • Trim tree branches and vegetation away from your home and trim your lawn regularly. Make sure to rake all leaves and debris to discourage nesting sites. 
  • Fill in low spots or empty containers that collect rainwater, as this could be used as a breeding ground by mosquitoes.

For the Integrated Pest Management process to fully work, it is best to establish a relationship with a local pest control company. At BOG Pest Control, expert technicians help you assess your home and give you helpful tips and tricks to keep pests out of your home. And in case you do have an infestation, we provide quick, effective, and family-friendly treatments that will give you peace of mind.

Have a healthy, pest-free home!

Get a free pest control inspection today!

Affiliations

Quality Pro by the Pioneers in Pest Management
National Association of Landscape Professionals
National Pest Management Association
Maryland TurfGrass Council