Integrated Pest Management: Cost-Benefit Study
By Frank Meek International Technical & Training Director, Orkin, LLC | May 19, 2010
In 2003, Orkin, Inc. and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University teamed up to study and evaluate, once and for all, the differences in efficacy - and cost - of IPM and conventional pest control programs.
IPM: Where Did It Come From?
Before studying IPM, it is critical to agree on a definition. You will hear various definitions in the marketplace, but simply put, IPM is the use of all appropriate technology and management practices to bring about pest prevention and suppression in an environmentally sound manner. Notice that there is no mention of not using pesticides. Pesticides still have a place in an IPM program, but they should be considered the last option for controlling pests.
How did IPM come into being? Here's a quick look at the pest-management milestones that led to the development of IPM:
1900-1960s - During this period, chemical-based pest control was king. The ability of pests and crops to develop resistances to pesticides and disease was largely ignored. The introduction of DDT in mid-1940s, seen by the agricultural industry as a "one-size-fits-all" solution to pest problems, sealed the industry's total dependence on chemical pesticides.
In the late 1960s, following heated debate on the environmental impact of pesticides - DDT in particular - sparked by Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring," the agricultural community began to search for alternative methods of pest management. The EPA's instituted a ban on DDT in the late 1960s further solidified the need for alternative solutions.
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