AFSIC Notes no. 3
Jane Potter Gates, Coordinator
Alternative Farming Systems Information Center, Information Centers Branch
National Agricultural Library, Agricultural Research Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture
Beltsville, Maryland 20705-2351
Deflnition and History
Integrated pest management (IPM) is an ecologically based, environmentally conscious method
that combines, or integrates, biological and nonbiological control techniques to suppress weeds, insects, and diseases
("Integrated Pest Management Systems: Protecting Profits and the Environment", by Raymond E. Frisbee and John M.
Luna, Farm Management : The 1989 Yearbook of Agriculture, p 226. NAL Call No. lAg84y 1989).
Interest in developing IPM into crop management systems began in the 1960s. Credit for the IPM concept is given to Dr.
Roy F. Smith and Dr. Harold T. Reynolds, of the University of California (op.cit.)
Integration of multiple pest suppression techniques has the highest probability of sustaining long-term crop protection
("Integrated Pest Management, a Sustainable Technology", by T.J. Henneberry et.al, Agriculture and the Environment:
The 1991 Yearbook of Agriculture, p 151. NAL Call No. lAg84y 1991). An array of technologies and data analysis
procedures have been developed about those strategies and tactics most appropriate for use in implementing specific IPM
systems. These include economic thresholds, sampling technology, modeling, natural controls, geographic distribution,
effects of pest migration and movement, host resistance, and pesticides (op.cit., p 152).
IPM's basic framework is acknowledged to be natural controls. These include natural enemies, weather, climate, and food
resources. Natural enemies play an important role in regulating populations of all pest classes (op.cit., p 154).
Biological Control: Natural Enemies
Biological control utilizes natural enemies such as parasites, predators,
pathogens or competitors, deriving its energy directly from the pests themselves. It is acknowledged to be the best type of
pest control ("Biological Control" by Lloyd A. Andres, Research for Tomorrow: The 1986 Yearbook of Agriculture, p 15
1. NAL Call No. lAg84y 1986).
The biological control strategy was born in a citrus grove in 1889, in what is now the city of Los Angeles, California
("Biological Control Turns 100 This Year" by Jessica Morrison, Agricultural Research, V 37 (Mar 1989) n 3, p 4. NAL
Call No. 1.98 Ag84). The release of 129 imported Australian vedalia beetles resulted in dramatic reduction of the cottony
cushion scale which had threatened California's citrus industry. The technique of releasing an imported organism that
establishes itself and spreads to permanently control a pest is today known as the classical biological control concept
(op.cit.). Successful classical biocontrol means that no further costs are required to keep the pest under control.
Natural Enemies: Problems
Although simple in concept, the process of locating the place of origin of the non-native
pest and then finding and introducing natural enemies from its place of origin presents obvious ecological and logistical
challenges. For example, any introduced pest predator or parasite must undergo exhaustive testing before being released
to be sure it will not harm non-target organisms. Even when challenges are successfully met, projects can fail because of
problems relating to such factors as climate differences, prior or current pesticide use, disturbances of the habitat by other
agricultural operations, and/or the removal of noncrop vegetation that might otherwise offer food and shelter to the natural
Natural Enemies: Strategies
Planting of cover crops, providing nectar-producing plants and sources of alternate hosts
in and around fields, and interplanting different crops to provide habitat diversity are all management techniques that lead
to the build-up of natural enemy populations and result in enhanced biological control of pests.
IPM: Prevailing Practice
Today virtually all land-grant universities, as well as USDA and the private sector, have
implemented IPM systems for most agricultural crops ("Altering Insect Brain Chemistry" by Michael E. Adams, Research
for Tomorrow : The 1986 Yearbook of Agriculture, p 142. NAL Call No. lAg84y 1986). In California, professional pest
control advisers (PCAS) are licensed by the state to give pest management advice to growers. At the University of
Minnesota, researchers are developing what may become known as the first biological herbicide (Joumal of Soil & Water
Conservation v. 46 (2): p.231; 1991 Mar/Apr. NAL Call No. 56.8 J822). And in Florida, Sarasota County has become
that state's first government entity to adopt integrated pest management on all its properties, calling it the wave of the
future (American Nurseryman v. 147 (3): p.69; 1991 August 1. NAL Call No. 80 AM371).
Further Information: Contacts/Sources
- Your county extension agent
- Publications such as IPM Practitioner.: The Newsletter of Integrated Pest Management and Common Sense
Pest Control (Bio-Integral Resource Center, Box 7414, Berkeley, CA 94707 )
- Free Quick Bibliographies from the NAL:
- QB 93-69 "IPM and Biological Control of Plant Pests: Field Crops"
- QB 94-12 "IPM and Biological Control of Plant Pests: Horticultural Crops"
- QB 93-05 "IPM and Biological Control of Weeds"
- "Before You Buy Botanical Pest Controls..." by Bob Hofstetter. The New Farm v. 13 (7): p.36-39; 1991
Nov/Dec. NAL Call No. Sl.N32
- "Biological Control: The Second Century" by M. R. Nelson. Plant Disease v. 73 (8): p.616; 1989
August. NAL Call No. 1.9P69P
- "Insecticide resistance management: an integral part of IPM" by J.B. Graves, B.R. Leonard, G. Burris, et.al.
Proceedings -Beltwide Cotton Conferences, 1991 v.l: p.23-24. NAL Call No. SB249.N6
- "Insects & Diseases: Friends or Enemies". California Grower v. 15 (4): p.20-32; 1991 April. NAL Call No.
- "IPM and Beyond: Biological Pest Control in the Conservatory" by Kristine Ciombor. The Public Garden v. 6
(2): p.29-32; 1991 April. NAL Call No. QK71.P83
- "IPM in Turf' by James B. Beard. Grounds Maintenance v. 26 (3): p.26,28; 1991 March. NAL Call No. SB476.G7
- "Principles, Definitions, and Scope of Integrated Pest Control" by R.F. Smith & H. T. Reynolds, U.N. Food and
Agriculture Organization, Symposium on Integrated Pest Control, Oct.11-15, 1965, Rome
Proceedings v. 1: p. 11-17. NAL Call No. SB951.FG2
- "Scout Crops Now to Protect Yields". Conservation Impact v. 9 (6): p. 1; 1991 June. NAL Call No. S604.C66
- [Series] by John A. Davidson and Charles F. Cornell. American Nurseryman. NAL Call No. 80
- "In the Beginning..." v. 167 (5): p. 76-77,79-89; 1988 March 1.
- "Changing Philosophies" v. 167 (7): p. 115-117,120-121; 1988 April 1.
- "IPM: Parts and Parcel" v. 167 (8): p. 81-91; 1988 April 15.
- "Making the Pilot FLY" by Davidson, Cornell, Mary E. Zastrow and Dona C. Alban.
1988 June 1. v. 167 (10): p 51-60; 1988 May 15.
- "The Untapped Alternative" by Davidson, Cornell & Alban. v. 167 (1 1): p 99-109;
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