Integrated Pest Management
The Future of IPM
In the past, it was believed that the most effective pest control came from heavy spraying of an entire structure. The goal was to do whatever it took to completely eliminate the pest problem. Both PCOs and customers believed the more products applied the better, as reported in a study conducted by Zocon.
Now the industry is shifting to the use of a variety of treatments. Zocon's study showed PCOs are using alternative treatment methods in response to legislative and environmental pressure, greater safety and liability issues, better informed customers and the popularity of improved treatment strategies. These factors are leading PCOs to convert to some form of Integrated Pest Management (IPM).
Effective IPM involves inspection, exclusion, sanitation, monitoring and documentation. In some situations, baiting, vacuuming, dusting or the use of dilutables or insect growth regulators (IGRs) may be needed.
Research revealed that PCOs believe they have a "toolbox" of pest control products and strategies to choose from when treating an account. With the trend toward greater use of IPM, a toolbox of products and strategies is vital to a PCO's success, because each account is different in terms of regulations, customer mindset and level of infestation.
What does this mean for the future of integrated pest management? Constant improvement will be the goal as legislation on the use of pesticides becomes stricter. In addition, the emphasis upon safety and liability continues to increase, as customers continue to learn about pest control and demand more options. PCOs will need to maintain effective pest control using fewer, safer products in a less obtrusive manner. The challenge for PCOs will be to choose the right product at the right time for maximum effectiveness. Simply reacting to pest problems will not be acceptable. PCOs will need to anticipate pest problems and take steps to avoid or prevent them. That means constant inspections and monitoring should be done to detect problems in the early stages.