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Adoption of IPM

For practical purposes, IPM programs can develop through three stages:

Stage 1

  • Improved cultural and hygiene practices
  • Monitoring of pests to reduce pesticide use and achieve better timing of pesticide application if and when they are necessary

Stage 2

As for stage 1 plus:

  • monitoring that also includes beneficial species
  • selection of chemicals that are less hazardous to beneficials
  • spot spraying and targeted spraying
  • selective control of pests with the use of products such as pheromones, Bacillus thuringiensis, insect growth regulators and baits

Stage 3

  • environmental modification to encourage beneficials
  • releases of mass-reared beneficials

Some crops or situations may be unsuited to stage 3, but may still benefit from stage 1 and stage 2. Stage 3, the highest level of commitment, means investing time and money into encouraging biological agents. A decision to use broad-spectrum pesticides in a stage 3 IPM program cannot be taken lightly, as this may undo the work of the previous months or even years. Research and experience may make it possible to decide in advance the stage to which an IPM program should be taken. The levels of pests and beneficials (obtained from monitoring), in addition to crop and economic factors, will help determine the appropriate levels of action for each crop.