WHAT IS INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT?
Integrated pest management or IPM is defined as the use of all the methods of pest control, for example, cultural, physical, chemical & biological methods in such an integrated way so that the risks of investment, health & environment got reduced. IPM can also be defined as the comprehensive & collective program of pest control which applies all the methods of pest control in combination to avoid human & environmental losses. Here the pests are controlled only after looking their life-processes & host range & application of control measures only when the pests have come towards the Economic Injury Level (or EIL). Integrated pest management is also a tool in the production of organic food from the crop fields. Integrated pest management is the program which works in three ways such as; inspection of the insect pest by looking its present status etc.; than identification of the insect pest by looking at its life cycle etc. & afterwards applying the treatment methods which control it before reaching it from economic injury levels. The different aims of integrated pest management are:
- To reduce the expenditure on agriculture by reducing a large amount of money spent on chemical pesticides for controlling insect pests in crop fields.
- To reduce the environmental problems which arise due to uncontrolled chemical & inorganic methods of pest control in crop fields.
- To provide the uncontaminated food to humans for consumption.
- To protect the non-insect pests or natural friendly insects by applying the different control methods in a controlled way.
- To increase the use the cultural or biological methods more commonly than the chemical methods of pest control.
There are also many different principles of integrated pest management such as:
- Identification of different pests as major, minor, key & potential pests according to the losses caused by them & their population present in fields.
- Also identification of non-insect pests or beneficial insects which help in pest control by the action of parasitism.
- Establishment of Economic Threshold Levels i.e. ETL for assessing the risks & losses by the insect pests.
- Applying the control only when they are on the way of crossing the economic injury level after which the insect pests cause economic losses.
- Applying the chemicals for pest control as a last option when pests are not controlled by the different physical, natural or biological methods of control.
TOOLS OF INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT (IPM)
The different tools of IPM through which it works effectively & properly for environment & nature conservation are listed in detail below:
- Monitoring of insect pests: It can be understood as the keeping full record of insect pests & their damaging capabilities which are present in the crop conditions & which tends to occur in near future so that proper combination of controls must be applied in an efficient manner.
- Growing of insect pest resistant varieties: It will help in controlling the most advantageous insect pests of an area which likely occurs in the susceptible varieties of crops & causes huge economic losses.
- Cultural insect pest controls: These are the control measures which are based on pest biology & their development & include the different cultural practices for controlling the pests such as crop rotation, mixed or intercropping, cover crops, planting distance & methods, sowing or harvesting dates, destruction of leftover crop debris etc.
- Mechanical or physical methods of pest control: These are the methods which are based on the complete knowledge of insect pests. These methods include the following measures like hand picking, installation of bated or traps for catching pests, mulching with crop debris or synthetic materials, deep ploughing in summers etc.
- Biological control: These are the natural control methods which are based on control of pests with the natural enemies like predators, parasites, fungi or pathogens so that the environment is conserved & food obtained would also be free from contamination of chemicals etc.
- Chemical or pesticide control: Chemical control of pests is applied only when all other measures are failed in controlling the pests & they are causing economic damage to the crops. These are applied with proper skills & guidelines.
ADVANTAGES OF INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT
- IPM reduces the cost of cultivation of crops by reducing the expenditure on insect pest control & thus leading towards low investment crop production.
- IPM also reduces the health & skin hazards to the farmers who use the chemical control measures in the fields which pose health threats to them if come in contact with the body.
- IPM would also helpful in controlling the environmental pollution & contamination of land & water resources due to chemicals used for pest control.
- IPM will also be helpful in providing the full information about life history & identification of pests so that they should be controlled in near future.
- IPM would also promote the sustainable use of natural resources for future conservation.
- IPM provides the organic & contamination free food materials of high values & nutrition quality.
- IPM would also give the lower risk & effective pest control programs.
- IPM would also solve the problem of deposition of wastes of chemical control as it recommends chemicals to be used as a last option of pest control.
- IPM would also help in saving the non-insect pest populations which are getting killed due to overuse of chemicals for pest control.
- Integrated pest management is also helpful in the development of resistance in insect pests due to chemicals which are also posing many problems. For example, 2,4-D resistance developed in different mosquitoes & resistance against many chemicals in American bollworm of the cotton crop.
INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
IPM programs are formed after the implementation of different IPM principles & practices. The different components of the integrated pest management program are:
- Identification of the pest: First of all the pest should be identified properly & information about it should be clear in mind that it is pest or pathogen or fungi.
- A collection of information about the life cycle & living habits of the pests which are infesting the area & the host plants where they live in pupal periods.
- Monitoring the population of pests & assessing the damage created by the insect pests.
- Formation of the different thresholds of assessing the damage in economic terms.
- Collect the most advanced & present information about using the IPM.
- Apply the different methods of pest control i.e. cultural, physical, biological or chemical control measures in integrated combination manner.
- Evaluation of the results of IPM program so that the best & efficient system must be applied in future for better pest control.