How do I begin pest management at home?
Try alternatives to pesticides and use conventional ones only when absolutely necessary. Integrated pest management does not necessarily result in pest elimination but encourages you to choose between various strategies to minimize the health and environmental impacts they create.
Integrated Pest Managment
- Identify the pest problem. Figure out what pest you are up against. Weeds, termites, rats, and mildew are examples of pests. Some signs such as poor soil or lack of water may look like a pest problem but actually are not. Most insects, up to 90 percent of them, are beneficial and don’t require a "cure."
- Decide how much pest control is necessary. Be reasonable. By living with minor pest damage, you can avoid intensive pest control product treatments.
- Prevent pests. Use preventive methods in your home, garden and lawn before you reach for a toxic chemical.
- Deny pests food and water.
- Deny pests access and shelter by blocking, removing or destroying places they can enter or live, such as piles of decaying wood or leaves.
- Keep plants healthy so they can resist disease. Choose plants that are suited to the climate. Rotate crops to decrease vulnerability to pests. Keep soils healthy ensuring the right pH, texture, nutrients and water or moisture.
- Choose the least toxic solution. Try various non-toxic methods first, such as physically removing pests or pruning diseased plants before deciding on a control. Choose a product that targets only the problem and poses the least hazard.
Non-chemical controls really work, and have many advantages. They are effective for long periods of time and less likely to create pesticide resistant pest populations. These controls pose virtually no risk to human health or the environment. Non-chemical methods include biological controls such as beneficial predators, parasitoids, microscopic pathogens and biochemical pesticides. Manual methods include spading and hoeing weeds, handpicking weeds and pests, using flyswatters, setting traps, and mulching to reduce weeds.
Use pesticides or chemical controls only if a non-chemical solution doesn't work. If you must use them, take care to choose the correct and least toxic pesticide product and amount. Read the product label. Store, handle, apply and dispose of them properly to reduce pesticide risks. Remember that the results achieved by using chemical controls are generally temporary and repeated treatments may be necessary.
- Evaluate the results. Allow time for the method to work and decide whether it is effective. Decide on long term or short-term chemical control, as well as non-chemical methods.
It is easier to prevent pests than to control them. You may not need to worry about pest control if you make the effort to prevent pests in the first place.
What Are The Benefits Of IPM?
- Reduces the need for pesticides by using several pest management methods.
- Protects the environment from unnecessary pesticide applications.
- Fosters clean water supplies. Pesticide ridden water leaving your home can pollute ground water, streams or coastal regions.
- Promotes sound structures and healthy plants. Well maintained homes, lawns and gardens better withstand damage from pests.
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