A Guide to Integrated Pest Management

two young pest control technicians screwing on the wall

What is integrated pest management?

  1. Biological control
  2. Mechanical control
  3. Cultural control
  4. Chemical control


Eradicating pests can be a difficult endeavor, especially if one is not equipped with the proper tools and acumen on these types of animals. The most common way of killing pests, such as bugs or insects, is through the application of some chemical-based agent. However, a more comprehensive and preventative measure exists called integrated pest management.

Generally, integrated pest management is the process by which pests are dealt with in a more environmentally-friendly and holistic manner. Unlike what is most commonly understood to be the most effective way of dealing with pets, which is by chemical agents, this method focuses more on preventive measures of tackling such animals.

Continue reading to learn more about a more effective and longer-lasting method of pest eradication.


Biological control

Controlling the proliferation and the growth of pests through biological means involves the introduction of several organisms that pose a threat to these pests. These organisms may be other types of parasites or predators which can help keep the population of pesky pests at a minimum.

This type of control is most commonly utilized in farm-level scales. Since pests are herbivores, they can halt the healthy growth of crops. For example, an apple or a grape farm would be in danger of attracting the following: insects, mites, weeds, or even algae. Instead of the farmer applying an insecticide to his crops, which can potentially damage them, he will simply have to introduce what is deemed as ‘natural enemies’ to control the growth of these unwanted pests.

Biological control requires only a minimal level of human intervention in the beginning, through either the introduction, preservation, or augmentation of these natural enemies.


Mechanical control

mouse and mousetrap

While the first type of pest control is largely applicable to agricultural environments, the next one is something that can be practiced in the household. Mechanical control simply refers to the type of measure by which physical or mechanical alterations are applied to the surroundings in order to facilitate the removal of the pests.

A familiar mechanical control would be that of rat traps. Typically, the purpose of these rat traps is to exterminate such types of vermin which can be difficult to capture. If your house has already been invaded by this type of pests, you would know how easily they can scurry off into a small corner where you might not be able to reach them. You can, however, identify the places where they are most commonly found.

Rats can typically be found in the kitchen, where they can feed off of food left on the dining table, for example. Once you have identified the location, you’ll now be able to place a highly adhesive rat trap and simply wait for the rodents to take the bait.

Other types of physical control exist for different types of pests. To properly deal with them, you should employ the most appropriate method.


Cultural control

Cultural control is perhaps one of the most difficult types of pest control to practice. Effective cultural control of pests not only requires a comprehensive understanding of the ecological surroundings, but it also requires one to understand the type of environment which might foster the population growth of the pests. Similar to the first method, this is a largely preventive measure that is conducted before further infestation.

In agricultural settings, cultural control can be employed in a number of different ways. Careful planning is required for this method to become successful, but the benefits are long-term. An example of a cultural control strategy involves making modifications to the crop to make it more susceptible to a particular pest. Another type would be to make the crop inaccessible to pests by understanding the factors which make the latter proliferate in number.


Chemical control

pest control technician

This last method of integrated pest management deals with the application of insecticides. While found to be the most convenient, insecticides have many negative consequences for crops grown in agricultural settings. This is precisely why proper pest integrated pest management considers insecticides only as a last resort.

Chemical-based pest removal agents are highly indiscriminate which makes them undesirable in farming activities. They might kill the crop as well as, pose harmful effects for humans. This method is typically employed in combination with either one or two methods of integrated pest management presented above. In this way, pesticide use is more targeted and done in a more selective manner.


Key Takeaway

A comprehensive way of dealing with pests long-term is needed in order to prevent their spread and growth. While individual curative methods have been proven to be effective, it would be to your advantage to look into integrated pest management. By relying on careful planning and more environmentally-friendly methods, these pests are more efficiently exterminated from the environment.

The guide above has hopefully made you consider practicing integrated pest management, the next time you have to deal with these creatures.