If you are in charge of protecting your landscape from pests like caterpillars and beetles, or other insects that eat plants, you should consider integrated pest management. When integrated pest management is used properly, the use of several chemicals and methods works together to control your pests without any loss of plant diversity or natural prey. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) combines several kinds of controls from natural hand-repellents to synthetic pesticides into a reasonable, long term integrated pest management plan. Designing your plan around common-sense principles can keep your garden free from insect invasions and maintain it healthy.
How would it take time to use an integrated pest management system if you did not have a garden? It would take time to apply a hand-repellent, for instance. The same is true for a pesticide. A hand-repellent would need time to sink into the soil to work its way into the pores of the soil. In a chemical-spiked crop, that is not likely to occur because the insecticide is in the crops and does not penetrate.
But sometimes, chemicals do get into the soil and cause unintended damage. In the case of some weeds and certain insects, it could make the weeds more resistant to the pesticides used to kill them. That would be bad news for farmers who depend on those chemicals to grow their crops. Besides, many weed species cannot be targeted using pesticides and thus require more natural pest control than can be had using integrated pest management techniques.
How can we know what kinds of methods will work best to protect our crops? There are several things we can do to reduce insect damage: We can introduce better soil and fertilizer management techniques. We can target certain pests with more effective pesticides. And we can use multiple methods to reduce pest populations.
Some farmers do very well with just one method, while others may need more than one to fully protect their crops. A great place to start is with understanding the relationship between pesticides and weeds. Some integrated pest management practices to target specific weeds and pests individually, while other methods use combination practices that include multiple methods.
One of the integrated pest management strategies that work best is integrated pest management with soil biology, soil health and integrated pest management practices. A simple example would be applying some weed killers to the soil around the crop and leaving it alone. Then a rotary suction device is used to aerate the soil and loosen the topsoil. After the soil is loose, the crop is sprayed with an insecticide that acts against the root system of the weeds and other pests.
The benefits of using multiple methods to control pests include fewer weeds being planted and fewer weeds sprouting. This will result in lower crop damage and less residue build-up. In a natural environment, the weed species tend to act in a self-organized way without the use of pesticides. But because of the human pressures we place on our ecosystems, this process can sometimes fail to take care of the problem, resulting in unintended consequences. Soil biology is designed to understand how the different weed species interact within the soil ecosystem and how we can control the environment so that this happens. Using pesticides in this way can allow us to have better control over the weed population and improve our soils at the same time.
Weed control is only one of the benefits of integrated pest management. There are many more benefits. This is why we continue to look for better cost vs. value proposition techniques. If we continue to embrace this kind of integrated pest management methods, our food and agricultural markets will continue to flourish and we will be able to provide better crop production for our consumers.