Most effective insect management plans include one or more management strategies. Applying IPM strategies, insect control can be split into five separate categories.
Prevention includes such practices as using pest-free plant stock and materials. Prevention also includes removing insect pests before they can lay eggs or become carry disease.
Inspect plants regularly so you can catch insect pests before they reproduce.
Cultural controls are management practices that reduce the incidence of insect infestations, such as proper planting times and planting rates, planting companion crops, managing fertilization and irrigation to favor desired plants rather than insect pests, rotating crops, and planting cover crops or trap crops. Good sanitation, including manure management plans, will help reduce insect pest infestations, such as cockroaches and flies. Changing the environment to discourage insect pests by controlling temperature, light or humidity is another cultural control method.
These include hand-picking insects and the use of barriers, such as row covers. They also involve using mechanical devices that disrupt the soil and make conditions unsuitable for the survival of insect pests. Other mechanical controls include installing physical barriers, such as window screens and sealing cracks, to exclude insect pests, or trapping insect pests (for instance, with sticky traps).
This tomato hornworm has been attacked by
parasitic wasps, a type of beneficial insect.
Photo credit: Chazz Hesselein
Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Bugwood.org
Biological control is the use of a living organism to control insect pests. Success depends upon selectivity, reproduction, adaptation and ability of the organism to reach a high level of effectiveness. Predator or parasitic insects that target other insects are a good example. Generally, biological controls will not eradicate the pest, but they will help reduce the pest population to a manageable level. Care must be used to avoid damaging the biological control insect by using an incompatible chemical control (an insecticide).
Chemical control uses pesticides, or more specifically, insecticides to control a target insect pest. Many insecticides are available. Read the label carefully and know how they are used and how they work before you apply them.
There are many products available to control insects. Be sure to read
the label carefully before using to ensure the correct product is used
in the right way, and you and others are protected.
Photo credit: University of Nevada, Reno Extension
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Integrated Pest Management
Integrated Pest Management program is a long-term management strategy that uses a combination of tactics to reduce pests to tolerable levels with potentially lower costs for the pest manager and minimal effect on the environment.
Hefner, M., 2019, Insect Management, Extension | University of Nevada, Reno. IP
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