Integrated Pest Management

Integrated pest management (IPM) is a recently developed technology for pest
control that is aimed at achieving the desired control while reducing the use of
pesticides. To accomplish this, various combinations of chemical, biological,
and physical controls are employed. In the past, pesticides were all too often
applied routinely whether needed or not. With IPM, pest populations as well as
beneficial parasite and predator populations are monitored to determine whether
the pests actually present a serious problem that needs to be treated. If
properly and extensively employed, IPM might reduce pesticide use by as much as
50 percent, while at the same time improving pest control. If this goal were
achieved, the environmental problems would be minimized, and significant
benefits would result for farmers and society as a whole.

IPM coordinates economically and environmentally acceptable methods of pest
control with judicious and minimal use of toxic pesticides. IPM programs assess
local conditions, including climate, crop characteristics, the biology of the
pest species, and soil quality, to determine the best method of pest control.
Tactics employed include better tillage to prevent soil erosion and introduction
of beneficial insects that eat harmful species. Many pests that are attached to
crop residues can be eliminated by plowing them underground. Simple paper or
plastic barriers placed around fruit trees deter insects, which can also be
attracted to light traps and destroyed. Weeds can be controlled by spreading
grass, leaf, or black plastic mulch. Weeds also may be pulled or hoed from the
soil.

Many biological controls are also effective. Such insect pests as the European
corn borer, and the Japanese beetle, have been controlled by introducing their
predators and parasites. Wasps that prey on fruit-boring insect larvae are now
being commercially bred and released in California orchards. The many hundreds
of species of viruses, bacteria, protozoa, fungi, and nematodes that parasitize
pest insects and weeds are now being investigated as selective control agents.

Another area of biological control is breeding host plants to be pest resistant,
making them less prone to attack by fungi and insects. The use of sex pheromones
is an effective measure for luring and trapping insects. Pheromones have been
synthesized for the Mediterranean fruit fly, the melon fly, and the Oriental
fruit fly. Another promising pest-control method is the release of sterilized
male insects into wild pest populations, causing females to bear infertile eggs.
Of these techniques, breeding host-plant resistance and using beneficial
parasites and predators are the most effective. Interestingly, the combined use
of biological and physical controls accounts for more pest control than chemical
pesticides.

And with that, I conclude this report with saying that we should pay more
attention to Integrated Pest Management to help achieve a better future for our
generation and the next generation to come.