Urban / Small Farm Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

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What is IPM?

IPM (Integrated Pest Management) can be defined as 'A multi-tactic approach to managing pests which focuses on long-term prevention or suppression, with minimal impact on human health, the environment and non-target organisms'. The approach was developed in the late 1950s by the Californian entomologists Vern Stern, Ray Smith, Robert van den Bosch and Ken Hagen in response to the problems posed by the over-use of the new synthetic pesticides that were developed after World War II. At that time, heavy use of DDT and other persistent organochlorine pesticides had resulted in environmental problems and increasing levels of pesticide resistance amongst target pests. Integrated Pest Management represented a commonsense approach to pest control that placed more emphasis on preventative measures such as cultural and biological controls, with insecticides being used only as a last resort. Stern and his colleagues included the concept of economic (or action) thresholds - the point at which an increasing pest population needed to be treated to prevent it reaching the point where economic losses were incurred (termed 'the economic injury level'). Only when pest numbers reached the threshold was spraying recommended.

The IPM approach was originally developed in relation to insect pests of crops, but its underlying principles are equally applicable to managing other types of pests (e.g. weeds, pathogens and vertebrates) and pests in very different environments, including schools and other buildings. This site is dedicated to providing IPM-related resources for managing pests in the urban and small farm environments of New Mexico.

NMSU Agricultural Science Center - Los Lunas,
1036 Miller Road,
Los Lunas,
NM. 87031
Phone: (505) 865-7340