Ladybugs are a biological component of IPM

Perhaps you have been searching for help with a garden pest and run across the acronym IPM. This strategy should be a key part of your garden maintenance, but what is it?

IPM stands for Integrated Pest Management. It is a system of controlling pests using a variety of methods based on which will be least harmful to the environment. The five different components are biological, organic, mechanical, cultural and chemical

Biological control utilizes beneficial insects to battle pests. For example, ladybugs are efficient at attacking aphids on plants like roses. You could buy some to release in your garden and help control your infestation.

Organic control aims to use non-synthetic substances. Aphids can be controlled by applications of insecticidal soap.

Mechanical control is the use of physical means to block and remove the problem. With aphids, simply spraying them with a hose to knock them off the plant might be enough.

Cultural control is preparing the enviroment so that it helps curb the problem. You could make ladybug food or grow plants that attract ladybugs, like cilantro.

Chemical controls are sometimes needed if other methods fail or are not efficient enough to use. If the aphid infestation is severe enough, for example, you may need to apply some imidacloprid.

You may find that a combination of methods will yield the best results. Start with the least invasive methods and move up to stronger ones only if needed. This will lessen your impact on the environment and keep your garden healthier at the same time. 

If you need help in determining which methods are best for your situation, give us a call. We will be happy to help!

Image by Gilles San Martin under a Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License