What is IPM
Integrated pest management (IPM) is an ecosystem-based strategy that focuses on long-term prevention of pests or their damage through a combination of techniques such as biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices, and use of resistant varieties. Treatments are made with the goal of removing only the target organism. Pest control materials are selected and applied in a manner that minimizes risks to human health, beneficial insects, non-target organisms, and the environment. IPM focuses on prevention of pests and their damages by managing the ecosystem.
What is Method 1-pps?
Method 1-pps is a non-toxic treatment for the control of spider mites, aphids, whitefly, mealy bugs, and other common plant pests. It is easy on your plants and they respond positively to its tonic effect. It is an ideal tool to use in IPM.
Biological control is the use of natural enemies, including predators, parasites, pathogens, and competitors to control pests and their damages. There are many natural enemies. By gaining some degree of knowledge about a particular pest or disease, you can determine which biological control to use. We will address this more in future articles.
Cultural controls are practices that reduce pest establishment, reproduction, dispersal, and survival. For example, not over-watering will reduce root pests and disease.
Mechanical and Physical Controls
Mechanical and physical controls kill or control pests directly or make the environment unsuitable for the pest. Traps, mulches, screens, soil sterilization, and barriers are examples of this type of control.
Chemical control is the use of pesticides. With IPM, you use the most selective pesticide that will achieve your goal in a way that is the least harmful to humans and the environment.
How Method 1-pps is Used in IPM
Method 1-pps fits into the cultural control and chemical controls categories with a major exception. Method 1-pps is an alternative to using chemicals and eliminates the need for dangerous chemical compounds to control appropriate pests. As a cultural control it should be incorporated into scheduled practices of your growing process. It addresses the human safety and environmental concerns, because it is non-toxic, plant and environment friendly, while effective against a variety of pests.
Assessing Your Situation
Knowledge of your geographical area and what the common pests are for the specific plant in question is a great tool for assessment. See what you can learn. Some pests are virtually ubiquitous and some are local. What species of pests are most common?
Pest identification by visual inspection is a good first step in deciding what treatment or preventive regime to follow.
Monitoring and assessing degree of infestation and damage will help determine first steps in the process and help develop a plan.
Are you growing indoors or outdoors? There are a few different considerations for growing indoors as opposed to growing outdoors. For instance, when growing outdoors you should put more weight on consideration of beneficial insects before starting a treatment program, whereas there are fewer beneficial insects to be concerned about when growing indoors.
The value of your plants is also a consideration when formulating a plan for IPM.
Once you have evaluated the current situation, you are at the starting point of your IPM plan. What is your goal? Here is a good general goal: Control any pests or disease in a way that minimizes harm to your plants, in a way that is of minimal harm to humans or the environment. Notice I did not say eradicate or eliminate. While those are ideal outcomes, do not violate the principle of minimizing the negatives of using dangerous or harmful chemicals. Most of the time there is an acceptable level of pest presence that does not adversely affect the plant. So if you can achieve that without using a harmful substance, you have been successful.
Consider all four of the IPM controls and decide which of them you can improve on in your pest and disease control activities as well as the grow space itself. From there make a plan that includes prevention, scheduled activities, and safe methods and materials.
When using Method 1-pps use these plans which were developed to treat spider mites. With other pests the schedule may need to be tweaked a little. Keep in mind that the goal is to disrupt the life cycle of the pest in a way that prevents successful reproduction, therefore reducing population. Knowledge of the pest life cycle is the key to developing an effective schedule.
Treating a Bad Infestation
Mix 8 ounces of Method 1-pps with water to make 1 gallon of spray and apply with maximum coverage until it is dripping from the plant. Apply to top and bottom of leaves.
Follow-up in three days with a mixture of 4 ounces of Method 1-pps per gallon and repeat until the pest is undetectable.
Then revert to a preventive schedule spraying a mixture of 2 ounces per gallon applied once every seven days
Treating a Minor Infestation
Sometimes you find an infestation in a cluster among your plants. Spot treat the cluster every three days with a 4 ounce per gallon mixture for four applications then revert to the preventive on all of the plants with a 2 ounce per gallon mixture.
Let’s say you find no current pest problem. Then from a very early stage treat your plants with a 2 ounce per gallon mixture every seventh day. Why treat if there is no problem? Using mites as an example, the reasoning is as follows: Spider mites are extremely hard to see. Broad mites are even harder. It is difficult to examine every square inch of the bottom and top of the leaves to determine if any are present. Their populations can explode very quickly and significant damage can occur before you realize the problem exists. By treating in a proactive manner, you have a much greater chance of cutting off the problem before it is out of control or causes damage.
Alternatively, you could use biological controls in the final stages of these methods if you are concerned about flowers or taste issues.