Sounds like something that came out of a super-secret think tank. Integrated Pest Management (IPM): Hidden deep in the mountains of Colorado or locked behind a bunker at Area 51.
IPM services dug its roots into our vernacular back around the time of the Revolutionary War. It all began with the idea of “supervised insect control.” After thousands of years of being bugged by bugs, we finally figured out how to keep the little monsters at bay. Good old chemistry. It was in the early 19th century synthetic insecticides came within reach of normal folks for pest control.
But it took a disgraced President, a peanut farmer and a lab at the University of California to finally realize the dream of IPM.
Starting in the ‘50’s, UC hatched the term “integrated control.” Then in 1972, Richard Nixon sent-out an order to every federal agency. The directive called on government managers to latch onto Integrated Pest Management (IPM) procedures. Then when the peanut farmer and nuclear scientist from the Peach State became President, Jimmy Carter created an agency to coordinate IPM management.
As Barney Fife would say, “Nip it! Nip it in the bud!” That’s the premise behind what integrated pest management or IPM is all about. This is a way to slap-down pests before they start getting mail delivered to your house. We’ve given you the history of pest control using the IPM method. What do you say we get into the nitty-gritty on Integrated Pest Management?
There are five tenets that are the hallmarks of pest control management:
- In times of war, the best defense is a thorough knowledge of the thing that you’re fighting. It’s impossible to penetrate the pest’s lair if you’re looking for a critter and not where the nuisance hangs its hat, feeds its family and interacts with others of its ilk. Some grunt didn’t just stumble upon Osama bin Laden. It took a lot of intelligence work. So, know your enemy.
- You may curse the pest up-and-down, but have you ever thought it might be your fault? An open door or window without a screen is the equivalent of posting on your Facebook account that you’re having a party this Friday night while your parents are out-of-town for the weekend. Add to that FB message your home address. If you give a pest an invitation to join-in the festivities by not locking-down your environment, you just set yourself-up for an infestation. Change your habits. Practice good IPM management.
- Here’s a tricky one if you have pets or kids. Traps. Poison. Toxic materials that could help you from an IPM standpoint. But stuff sitting around that could lead to a trip to the hospital or veterinarian requires extra caution. There are safe ways to reach your Integrated Pest Management – IPM goals. Just make sure you follow the directions to a “T” and don’t be creative. Warn the children and make it impossible for the pets to sample any of the killer goo you spread around.
- Walk around the inside and outside of your house. While it’s a little exercise, you’re really doing some detective-work. Seek out cracks, holes, openings, fissures and any defects in the internal and external areas of your home. Start with the inside and work your way towards the great outdoors. Carry around a bucket of appropriate filler material and plug the entry and exit points.
- One person’s crumbs are a pest’s next meal. You don’t have to be obsessive about it, but if you make a mess, wipe it up right away. Practice pest control IPM immediately. Since most banes of your existence work the graveyard shift, leaving junk around overnight is another one of those “it might be your fault” issues. If you do you need clean it out yourself or you can hire a local junk removal service company to do it for you.
This system of Integrated Pest Management is not a shotgun approach to pest control via IPM. It’s a balance between Mother Nature and how effective the procedure truly is. The Environmental Protection Agency puts it best when it says that IPM services “manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.”
When you employ a professional exterminator, they bring IPM methods to the table. It doesn’t matter if it’s termites or rats, fleas or red fire ants. Whatever they are faced with, the pest manager will target the unwanted critter with a laser, aka integrated pest management – IPM, and not a 500-megaton bomb.