What is Integrated Pest Management (IPM)?

Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is an approach to solving pest problems by applying our knowledge about pests to prevent them from damaging crops, harming animals, infesting buildings or otherwise interfering with our livelihood or enjoyment of life. IPM means responding to pest problems with the most effective, least-risk option.

Under IPM, actions are taken to control pests only when their numbers are likely to exceed acceptable levels. Any action taken is designed to target the troublesome pest and limit the impact on other organisms and the environment.

Applying pesticides to crops, animals, buildings or landscapes on a routine basis, regardless of need, is not IPM. Applications of pesticides are always the last resort in an IPM program.

The National IPM Roadmap definition of IPM, updated in 2013:

“Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a science-based, decision-making process that identifies and reduces risks from pests and pest management related strategies. IPM coordinates the use of pest biology, environmental information, and available technology to prevent unacceptable levels of pest damage by the most economical means, while minimizing risk to people, property, resources, and the environment. IPM provides an effective strategy for managing pests in all arenas from developed agricultural, residential, and public lands to natural and wilderness areas. IPM provides an effective, all encompassing, low-risk approach to protect resources and people from pests.”