Integrated pest management (IPM) is an approach to managing pests that seeks to evaluate and identify the best management approach for a given pest and context while minimizing negative environmental and human impacts; pest is a term that can refer to animals, plants, and other organisms that are causing negative impact on humans and/or ecosystems. IPM is relevant across different environments such as in residential yards, agricultural fields, and managing vegetation along waterways.
There are a few steps to the IPM process: 1) monitoring: to identify if prevention or management actions are needed, 2) prevention: working to create conditions to prevent pest problems before they begin, 3) control: evaluating available control methods and selecting the most effective and least risky option.
In terms of the third step, control, a variety of types of pest controls are considered: 1) biological: utilizing other living organisms, 2) mechanical or physical: changing the environment to be inhospitable or removing pests, 3) chemical: use of pesticides. In IPM, one method of control is not inherently better than the other; rather the pest and context are considered together to identify the most effective method(s) with least risk for negative impact.
After control method(s) are utilized the IPM process, or series of steps, begins again.