Montana State University

MSU Extension's website answers questions about Integrated Pest Management

March 8, 2011 -- MSU News Service

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Montana State University Extension's website answers questions about Integrated Pest Management and link to experts. Users will find information explaining what IPM is, how to reduce pesticide use on lawn and landscapes and how to contact a certified Urban IPM Practitioner trained by the MSU Extension Urban IPM Program.

IPM is cost-effective and environmentally responsible strategy for combating pest problems while avoiding unnecessary pesticide use.

The Urban IPM Program website (www.urbanipm.org) includes a list of businesses that practice IPM, and have personnel who have completed IPM certification training by MSU IPM Program trainers.

IPM is not the same as organic. Organic is a way of growing crops without the use of synthetic pesticides. There are some pesticides that can be used in organic systems. IPM allows the use of synthetic chemicals, but encourages use of the least toxic option while emphasizing non-chemical alternatives. These practices emphasize the use of cultural non-chemical controls and resistant varieties. If a pesticide is used, it is the least toxic pesticide, at the lowest effective rate to achieve the desired control, while reducing the risk of exposure of non-target organisms - like birds, family pets or children. For example, an ant trap or roach motel can be an IPM alternative to spraying insecticides. These traps contain minimally toxic chemicals that are limited to the inside of the trap so that pets and people do not touch the pesticide.

IPM practices do not necessarily require the use of pesticides. IPM incorporates many non-chemical measures that can help control pests in the landscape. A stream of water from the garden hose may be as effective as a pesticide to get rid of aphids on platns. And a sticky barrier around the trunk of a tree can keep ants away. IPM promotes proper identification of pests so the best control measure can be implemented. Monitoring for pests and application of control measures at the right time rather than applying several applications of pesticides to prevent pest damage are key practices of IPM.

To learn more, contact a certified Urban IPM Practitioner trained by the MSU Extension Urban IPM Program. Certified practitioners have undergone a minimum of 12 hours of specialized training in IPM principles and techniques and receive updated information regularly. To remain certified, they continue to take courses and workshops that teach them about current issues regarding insects, weeds, diseases, and pesticide safety and laws. To locate a nursery or landscape professional using IPM near you, visit the MSU Extension Urban IPM website (www.urbanipm.org) and go to "Find a Certified Practitioner."

Linnea Skoglund at (406) 994-5150 or urbanipm@montana.edu