Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is the combined approach of
using physical, cultural, biological and chemical controls
to combat pest problems. IPM focus’s on the system as a
whole and works towards long term solutions instead of the
quick fix. IPM is site specific, it varies by ecosystem,
plant and planting system. An insects ability to adapt,
changes with each location it inhabits. This makes for a
purpose of IPM is to minimize risk to human inhabitants and
the environment in which we all live. If we can refrain
from using pesticides the majority of the time, the times we
must employ chemical controls the results will be more
effective and with less non target species being impacted.
programs have the same basic five components that can be
carried out in the home garden or large farm.
Identify the pest – Be sure
you know who is doing the damage to best target control.
Observation – Do not react
immediately upon witnessing a pest. Determine population
level and look for native predators already at work.
Keeping records year after year if you are a keener will
also help forecast where problems will arise.
Determine threshold – A
certain level of pests is necessary to maintain a healthy
balance of predators in the garden. Determine how much of
a population this plant can withstand without causing
irreparable damage. Hint: No pests is not the answer.
Implement cultural and
physical controls – An ounce of prevention is worth a
pound of cure. Cultural controls included things like;
Right plant right place We want to encourage a strong
healthy plant to flourish and withstand pests. If you
know the plant needs full sun do not put it in an area
with dappled shade. Cultural controls also include proper
pruning to eliminate areas of potential infection. There
are also a number of physical controls that will stop
pests dead in their tracks before ever reaching your
prized beauties. Copper bands around the base of Dahlias,
Remay cloth over the cabbages and sticky cards in the
carrots go a long way in preventing an outbreak.
Apply biological controls –
These are the beneficial organisms nature has produced to
perform e specialized tasks of seeking out and killing
harmful pests. These include; ladybugs, nematodes,
lacewing, parasitic wasps and Bt. We don’t have to wait
for mother nature to plop them into our gardens, most are
available through any reputable garden center.
Pesticides should always be
used only as a last resort. Overuse kills the native
predators and aids in pests building resistancy. If the use
of chemicals is infrequent than when we do make that choice
they will work much more effectively.
Pesticide Compatibility Chart:
To view the
pesticide compatibility chart, please
There are a variety of control methods you can create in
your own home to use against combating pests without risking
the rest of the environment around you. These methods
should always be tried before you reach for a chemical
spray. Some you may recognize as tips from your
grandparents. Others, you will wonder why you never tried
To prevent adult weevils from laying eggs around the base of
your Rhododendrons place Rhubarb leaves around the drip line
up to the trunk.
Copper to slugs is like chewing on tinfoil. Use copper
bands as collars around tender perennials or screwed around
the perimeter of the raised beds. Can’t find it at your
nursery. Hit a window supply store for copper flashing or
try a plumber for copper strapping. Must be a minimum of 1
Flea Beetles Flies and
Use an old sheer curtain or
very light sheet to cover plants before pest
arrives. Secure around edges and ends with rocks/soil.
Sheet can be kept in place until danger has passed or crop
Vinegar used against weeds growing in between the paving
stones will cure the problem within 2 days. Be careful not
to let it touch any of the tender good plants. This ascetic
acid does not discriminate.
Place plant in the shower
using luke warm water for 5 minutes. Keep humidity around
plant high for a minimum of 2 weeks. Spidermite do not
reproduce under humid conditions.
Sowbugs live in areas of high moisture and will feed on
decaying wood and other matter. Though not a complete
control, the following method can reduce the numbers of
Cut two small hole at the base of the container. Cut the
holes low enough so the bugs can easily enter when the
container is placed on the floor. Add a small amount (1-2
table spoons) of cornmeal and replace the lid. Place in an
area of high Sowbug population, close to a small puddle of
water if possible. The Sowbugs will feed upon the cornmeal
and expand the moment they have a drink of water. This
method is most effective in indoor situations
Sticky Traps for Flying
Yellow/blue latex paint
Vaseline or Tanglefoot®
Yellow sticky cards
Cut rectangular pieces from Bristol board, paint both sides
yellow and cover with Vaseline or Tanglefoot®. Some insects
such as Thrips sometimes respond better to bright blue.
just inside plant, or above plant canopy to monitor insect
levels or to help trap flying pests. Be careful you don’t
trap more of the good guys than bad. Check cards
Biological controls are the natural enemies one would find
in any garden environment combating insect pests. These
enemies consist of predatory and parasitic insects as well
as microbial such as fungus and virus pathogens. Ladybugs,
nematodes and Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) are all common
examples of biological control agents. These agents are no
longer limited to their native environment but can be
purchased commercially to augment the natural population .
Predators for fungus gnats, spidermites, cutworms, leather
jackets, mosquitoes, whitefly, caterpillars or soil pests
are all at our finger tips for control. No longer
uncommon, mass reared predatory insects and mites have
been used for the last 2 decades in commercial cropping
Our ability to implement these mechanisms to augment the
natural population gives us the alternative to chemical
pest control. By having a greater amount of tools in our
arsenal we are better able to find a solution through the
combination of approaches. Any good pest management
program requires 2 – 3 tactics to prevent pests slipping
through the cracks. A comparison to this could be the care
of our own bodies. If we limited our health care to just
taking antibiotics, eventually the bacteria that infect us
would become resistant to our efforts and overcome our
controls. If we included healthy eating, exercise and
small exposure to colds or flues, the occurrence of
infection to our bodies would become less and less.
Because we used a number of angles to approach the
problem. The same can be said with the use of biological
controls. If we were to add beneficial insects to our pest
management tool belt we would recognized a number of
Increase in overall plant health
Long term control
Thriving population of natural
Dramatic decrease in pest
Self sufficient pest management
The Bug Lady would like to provide all gardeners with
access to these effective little agents and help get your
garden off the drugs. Review our products page to find the
right predators for your plants.