Best Practices for Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

IPM BMPIntegrated Pest Management (IPM) is defined by the EPA as an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM is a process consisting of the balanced use of cultural, biological, physical, and chemical procedures that are environmentally compatible, economically feasible, and socially acceptable to reduce pest populations to tolerable levels.

Best Management Practices for IPM

There are four general types of Best Management Practices (BMPs): structural, biological, biological plus structural, and cultural.

  • Structural Management includes the construction of reservoirs which can remove pesticides. In addition, reservoirs can store peak storm water flows, minimizing biological stress on receiving waters. Research has shown that over 705 of nutrients (pesticide and fertilizer) from agricultural runoff can be trapped.
  • Biological Practices include riparian zones (vegetation on river banks) and natural flood plains. In each case sediment is trapped and chemicals which are bound to these particulates are assimilated.
  • Biological and Structural management can be in the form of wetlands which provide both biological and physical remediation. These systems are commonly referred to as 'Nutrient/Sediment Control Systems' and are composed of a combination of sedimentation basins, grass filter strips, and constructed wetlands.5
    • Sedimentation basins are designed to reduce runoff rates and to remove pollutants. The remediation obtained through the usage of sedimentation basins primarily depends upon the retention time of the pond. For example ponds that are always filled with water have the most effective removal of pollutants.
    • Filter strips remove sediment and other pollutants from surface runoff. These strips alter the hydraulics of the flow, enhancing infiltration, deposition, filtration, adsorption, and absorption of the sediment bound pollutants.
    • Wetlands act similarly to detention basins/ponds, however they have the additional capability to provide biological assimilation.
  • Cultural Practices are considered to have the greatest potential for lessening the effects of agricultural runoff. Examples of such practices are conservation tillage and pesticide application optimization.
    • Conservation tillage is the process in which 30% of the soil surface remains covered with crop residue after planting. This residue helps decrease soil erosion and surface runoff and increases infiltration.
    • Pesticide application has been receiving much attention because of its potential for reducing pesticide runoff and leaching. Always apply pesticides at the label recommended application rate, make sure and wait the labeled time interval between applications, wear proper PPE during application, and make sure to check the weather so you know when to apply. It is usually best not to apply your pesticides during storm events (or within 24 hrs. of one) or when strong winds are present so you can avoid loss of product (money spent on product), possible runoff into the watershed, and to avoid drift of the pesticides which may kill beneficial and non-target species.

Learn more about the Advantages of IPM