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What is IPM?

"IPM is a paradigm, not a recipe, and it is a journey, not a destination. I think it is best viewed as a continuum from no IPM on one end to complete IPM on the other. To me the most important to strive to move along the continuum, over time, towards a higher level of IPM."

Dr. Cliff Ohmart, Forest Entomologist
and 2011 President, Association
of Applied IPM Ecologists

Contra Costa County uses the University of California Statewide IPM Program definition of integrated pest management:

Integrated pest management, or IPM, is a process you can use to solve pest problems while minimizing risks to people and the environment. IPM can be used to manage all kinds of pests anywhere—in urban, agricultural, and wildland or natural areas.

  • IPM focuses on long-term prevention of pests or their damage by managing the ecosystem.
  • IPM uses monitoring and correct pest identification to help you decide whether management is needed.
  • IPM programs combine management approaches for greater effectiveness, including
    • Biological controls: using predators, parasites, pathogens, and competitors
    • Cultural controls: using practices that reduce pest establishment, reproduction, dispersal, and survival
    • Mechanical & physical controls: using traps, barriers, mowing, hand pulling, steam, vacuums, and other tools
    • Chemical controls: using pesticides—they are used only when needed and in combination with other approaches for more effective, long-term control. Pesticides are selected and applied in a way that minimizes their possible harm to people and the environment.