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Integrated Pest Management

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Integrated Pest Management


Emily Pochubay, Integrated Pest Management and Public Health Pest Specialist


What is Integrated Pest Management?

Instead of using only pesticides, integrated pest management (IPM) uses a variety of methods as part of a pest management program. This approach minimizes damage caused by pests while also minimizing harm to humans, animals, property, and the environment. Smart management decisions and effective IPM begin with properly identifying pests, assessing their populations, and establishing a level of tolerance for their presence. Understanding the pests that could occur and conditions favorable for them helps prevent pest problems. 

Prevention is a key component of IPM and includes methods such as making habitats less suitable for pests by removing food sources or shelter and addressing points of entry into spaces where pests are unwanted. If prevention doesn’t work and pest numbers exceed an established tolerance, biological, mechanical or physical, and as a last resort, chemical management methods can be used to reduce pest numbers below the tolerance level. Monitoring pests, keeping a record of management methods, and whether methods were effective improves future IPM decisions.

The IPM approach can be used in agricultural and non-agricultural settings including at home, in the garden, at work, or in schools. In Michigan, there are legal requirements to follow IPM in schools, day cares, health care facilities, and other public buildings. Learn more about IPM by visiting the sites below.