Why Provide Integrated Pest Management as a Small PCO?


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Patrick Carter

Experienced owner with a demonstrated history of working in the consumer services industry. Skilled in negotiation, budgeting and customer service. Strong business development professional with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Kennesaw State University - Michael J. Coles School of Business.

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Table of Contents

Integrated Pest Management for Small PCOs: What Is It and Why Is It So Important?

Do you own a pest control company? Are you wanting to incorporate integrated pest management into your practices but are unsure what it is and where to begin? 

It can be challenging to add a new approach to an existing business! 

Sit down, pour a cup of coffee, and keep reading. By the end of this article, you will be a “pro” in integrated pest management.  

In this article, you will learn: 

  • Key concepts of integrated pest management
  • Goals of integrated pest management
  • Benefits of integrated pest management

What Is Integrated Pest Management?

A combination of common-sense practices makes up Integrated Pest Management (IPM), a practical and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management.

By using IPM, agricultural products can be protected from pest damage with little risk to humans or the environment. 

IPM is used to manage and eliminate pests in: 

  • Urban areas
  • Wildlands
  • Natural areas; and
  • Agricultural fields

Key Concepts of Integrated Pest Management for Small PCOs

Understanding pest biology and behavior is key to developing IPM solutions. Following are some key concepts involved in integrated pest management:

  • Solutions that are long-term and sustainable
  • Pest prevention and avoidance through window screens, sealed cracks, door sweeps, and good sanitation
  • Identification and monitoring of pests and conditions that attract them
  • Combining mechanical (traps), physical (removal), and, when necessary, chemical treatment

What Is the Goal of Integrated Pest Management?

While managing pests effectively, IPM reduces the adverse impacts of pest control on: 

A PCO uses IPM to ensure chemical usage is the last resort. 

Instead of simply "spraying and praying,” this approach allows technicians to learn what is causing the issue and get rid of the issue in a more "natural" way.

How Do You Conduct IPM?

IPM focuses on: 

  • Pest prevention
  • Pest reduction; and
  • Elimination of pest-infesting conditions

As opposed to a single pest control method, IPM consists of a series of: 

  • Evaluations
  • Decisions; and 
  • Controls

In IPM, growers aware of the potential for pest infestations follow a four-tiered approach. The four steps are as follows:

  1. Set action thresholdsIn IPM, pest populations or environmental conditions must meet a threshold before pest control action is taken. A single pest does not necessarily indicate the need for control; a pest's economic threat level is critical to guide future pest control decisions.
  2. Monitor and identify pestsNot all insects require control. Some insects are harmless, and some are even beneficial. With IPM programs, pests are monitored and identified accurately to make appropriate control decisions. 
  3. Prevention — As a first line of pest control, IPM programs aim to prevent pests from becoming a problem. This is cost-effective and presents little to no risk to people or the environment.
  4. Control — If preventive methods are no longer effective or available, IPM programs evaluate the appropriate control method both for effectiveness and risk.

3 Benefits of Integrated Pest Management for Small PCOs

The effectiveness of IPM programs has been proven to significantly reduce pesticide-related risks while improving the …

  • Quality
  • Health; and 
  • Welfare

… of the environment. 

Let’s take a look at three benefits for small PCOs.

#1: A More Eco-Friendly Approach to Pest Control

By promoting the biological method of pest control, IPM promotes healthy plants and animals, reducing the harmful effects of pesticides on the environment and human health.

It is an eco-friendly method of pest eradication that protects some other species that would have been affected otherwise.

In addition, the method reduces the contamination of water or air caused by pest control methods. All pest control methods are considered in IPM, and the safest and most effective way is adopted for each pest.

Essentially, the concern about the effects of pesticide use is eliminated.

#2: Less Chemical Usage = Better Bottom Line

This benefit is as straightforward as it appears — you can save your pest control company some money by not having to purchase as many chemicals.

One study compared integrated pest management with insecticidal spraying against German cockroaches in apartment buildings. Compared to conventional spraying, IPM reduced the rate of insecticide application by 943%.

#3: Generally Gets Better Results

Why is IPM more effective than other pest control options?  

IPM is a protocol or procedure to control specific pests effectively. It is not just the spraying of broad-spectrum insecticide. In IPM, environmental changes and pesticides are used as needed.

IPM solves a problem by getting to the "root" of the issue instead of just treating the symptoms.

You are educating yourself on the best practices for your business. Why not also take some time to educate yourself on how to serve your customers better?

Using best-in-class pest management software, Cedar’s modern interface gives pest control operators a leg up on the competition. 

Learn more by contacting us today.

3 Examples of Integrated Pest Management

Let’s look at three examples of IPM.

#1: Biological Approach

A biological control method uses other organisms to control pests, such as: 

  • Insects
  • Mites
  • Weeds; and
  • Plant diseases

To control pests and their damages, the biological approach utilizes the pests' natural enemies, including: 

  • Parasites — Parasites lay their eggs in, on, or near their hosts. The immature parasites feed on the host as soon as the eggs hatch. 
  • Predators — Insects that feed on insects that have a larger or equal body size
  • Competitors — When insects fight other insects; and
  • Pathogens — Using a specific, chosen living organism to control a particular pest 

There are many advantages to using biological methods in IPM: 

  1. Pest-specific
  2. Can be a long-term solution
  3. Long-term, cost-effective
  4. Environmentally friendly
  5. Suitable for use in glasshouses

#2: Cultural Approach

The cultural method involves using or changing various farm practices intelligently to prevent or reduce harmful insect pests. 

This insect control includes the regular farm operations performed to destroy the insect or prevent them from causing injury.

The cultural approach’s goal is to keep pests from: 

  • Reproducing
  • Surviving
  • Establishing; and
  • Dispersing

Having healthy, well-nourished plants is the first line of defense against diseases and pests.

In addition to selecting plants suited to your area, the cultural approach comprises some of the following: 

  1. Use of resistant varietiesCrop varieties with natural resistance to pest attacks are less likely to be attacked by a given insect than others.   
  2. Crop RotationRotating crops reduces insect infestations of most insects since certain insects attack certain crops.
  3. Crop residue destructionSome insects stay in crop residues and attack the following season's crop. Crop residues are destroyed to control such insects. 
  4. Tilling and cultivating the soil Changing soil characteristics directly influences most soil-infesting insects' survival.
  5. Pruning and thinningPests are usually carried from one portion to another. The undesirable portions of such plants should be pruned properly to keep insects at bay. 
  6. FertilizationPlants that are healthy and vigorous are more resistant to pest attacks than undernourished and sickly plants. Balanced fertilization can stimulate plant growth.
  7. Clean cultureClean culture entails removing all unwanted plants, debris, and other materials from the fields and only growing healthy crops. Most insects that survive or shelter in undesired plants in the field in the off-season can be controlled by removing them. 
  8. Water management The application of irrigation or the draining of water from the field can control some insects. 
  9. Planting of trap crops Insects that feed on polyphagous plants are controlled by planting trap crops. 
  10. Use of clean seedThere are a number of insect pests that are transferred from one crop to another through seeds. Certified seeds free from pests and diseases should be used for raising a new crop.

The advantages of the cultural method include being cost-effective and providing a safe application.

#3: Physical Approach 

The physical approach involves reducing pest populations by altering their physical environment or affecting them physically. 

To accomplish this … 

  • Temperature
  • Humidity; and
  • Light

… are manipulated.  

Some ways this is done include: 

  • Heat application — For ten to twelve hours, heat to a temperature above 500 degrees Celsius.
  • Cold application — All eatables, including dry fruits, should be refrigerated at 50 degrees Celsius to kill the insects.
  • Moisture manipulation — Raising and lowering the moisture content of food and other materials creates unfavorable conditions for insect pests. 
  • Using the sun to dry — Sun drying can easily control stored grain pests.
  • Radiation use — Radiation makes insects sterile and prevents their reproduction.

This IPM method is environmentally friendly and cost-effective.

As a Small PCO, Should You Be Marketing Your IPM Strategies?

Yes, absolutely! 

Responsible pest control companies include IPM into their services and make it known that they do!  

Marketing for PCOs instills trust and confidence in the customer on behalf of your business. Tell your audience you care about their safety and the environment to instill trust and confidence.

Let your audience know you use safe practices for people and the environment! 

Cedar Pest Helps Small PCOs Focus on What Matters Most — Getting the Job Done Right

Small pest control operators can simplify their …

  • IPM processes
  • Forms; and 
  • Records

… with Cedar Pest’s pest control software.

Furthermore, IPM makes it easy to identify the pest, what was applied, and how much was applied. 

Simply push a button on your phone, or tablet, and generate all of the info quickly and efficiently. 

Our veteran and minority-owned and operated company provides premium software to pest control companies. Pest control is one of the most exciting and essential American industries, so we are building tools to assist pest control operators.

Cedar Pest is committed to bringing you the best pest control tools.

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