Preparing a site correctly and selecting plants best adapted to local conditions and then watering, fertilizing, and caring for them properly form the basis for integrated pest management. Keeping a landscape healthy enables it to tolerate low levels of pests and makes the area a good habitat for beneficial organisms that help control pests.
To make the best use of natural controls, it is important to understand the biology and ecology of the environment. In natural ecosystems, all the living organisms interact. Conditions in the ecosystem also depend on site and soil factors, weather, pollutants, and other non-living factors.
Plants bred for agricultural production or landscape use frequently require human assistance to survive, reproduce, and compete for resources in a natural ecosystem, such as a landscape. Providing such assistance through an IPM program using chemicals sparingly, may require more time and labor.
Early detection of pests, followed by appropriate control steps will minimize damage and save time, effort, and money. When pest pressures and environmental conditions are severe, pest damage may exceed tolerable levels. The cause of any problems that occur should be determined, and the safest, most effective control(s) should be chosen. If chemical control is necessary, select the safest effective pesticide and follow label recommendations. Chemicals should be applied when the pest is most susceptible and only those areas in need should be treated. Pesticides should be used in an IPM program as only one of many management tools available.
IPM programs offer long-term solutions to pest problems, reduce costs associated with chemical pest control, and reduce the amount of chemicals introduced into the urban environment. This manual is designed to introduce integrated pest management strategies, cultural practices, and proper use of pesticides and also to help identify the pests most troublesome in urban settings. Cooperative Extension personnel can also assist in identification of diseases and insects.