Jump to main content.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Principles

Este Web page está disponible en español

  1. What is IPM?
  2. How do IPM programs work?
  3. Do most growers use IPM?
  4. How do you know if the food you buy is grown using IPM?
  5. If I grow my own fruits and vegetables, can I practice IPM in my garden?
  6. For more information

  1. What is IPM?

  2. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.

    The IPM approach can be applied to both agricultural and non-agricultural settings, such as the home, garden, and workplace. IPM takes advantage of all appropriate pest management options including, but not limited to, the judicious use of pesticides. In contrast, organic food production applies many of the same concepts as IPM but limits the use of pesticides to those that are produced from natural sources, as opposed to synthetic chemicals.

    Top of page

  3. How do IPM programs work?

  4. IPM is not a single pest control method but, rather, a series of pest management evaluations, decisions and controls. In practicing IPM, growers who are aware of the potential for pest infestation follow a four-tiered approach. The four steps include:

    Top of page

  5. Do most growers use IPM?

  6. With these steps, IPM is best described as a continuum. Many, if not most, agricultural growers identify their pests before spraying. A smaller subset of growers use less risky pesticides such as pheromones. All of these growers are on the IPM continuum. The goal is to move growers further along the continuum to using all appropriate IPM techniques.

    Top of page

  7. How do you know if the food you buy is grown using IPM?

  8. In most cases, food grown using IPM practices is not identified in the marketplace  like organic food. There is no national certification for growers using IPM, as the United States Department of Agriculture has developed for organic foods. Since IPM is a complex pest control process, not merely a series of practices, it is impossible to use one IPM definition for all foods and all areas of the country. Many individual commodity growers, for such crop as potatoes and strawberries, are working to define what IPM means for their crop and region, and IPM-labeled foods are available in limited areas. With definitions, growers could begin to market more of their products as IPM-Grown, giving consumers another choice in their food purchases.

    Top of page

  9. If I grow my own fruits and vegetables, can I practice IPM in my garden?

  10. Yes, the same principles used by large farms can be applied to your own garden by following the four-tiered approach outlined above. For more specific information on practicing IPM in your garden, you can contact your state Extension Services for the services of a Master Gardener.

    Top of page

  11. For More Information on IPM

  12. Top of page

Publications | Glossary | A-Z Index | Jobs

Local Navigation

Jump to main content.