What is Integrated Pest Management?
Rain and irrigation runoff carry fertilizers, weed killers, pest poisons and soil into our storm drains and water ways. This impairs water quality and harms fish and wildlife. The toxins you use to kill your weeds and pests are also a danger to other plants in your yard, your pets, your children and our water ways. Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is a strategy that combines a suite of effective practices for your yard and garden. IPM strategies are safer for your home and our ecosystem.
Integrated Pest Management is an ecosystem-based strategy that works with nature, instead of against it. IPM focuses on long-term management of pests and invasive plants by using the following techniques:
• Biological Control such as encouraging natural predators to control pest populations.
• Habitat Manipulation such as draining standing water so that mosquitos can’t lay their eggs.
• Change Cultural Practices such as reducing overwatering, which discourages funguses and root disease in plants.
• Select Preferred Plant Varieties that are resistant to pests and/or that will thrive naturally in our climate.
• Mechanical or Physical Controls such as plugging up entrances for rodents around your house, or using traps instead of poisons.
• Chemical Control is sometimes still needed, but IPM means using the least amount of the safest products, targeted to the specific pest or area to minimize danger. For example, using ant baits rather than sprays limits the toxin spread to the ants and their colony only.
How To Incorporate IPM at Home
If you’d like to learn more and start to implement IPM into your home and landscape care routines, here are some great local resources to help:
• Visit the "Our Water Our World" display at the West Sacramento Home Depot, which is filled with tip sheets on managing aphids, ants, snails and slugs, rats and mice, and more. Staff at Home Depot can also help answer questions about IPM.
• The West Sacramento Home Depot also now has shelf tags to help identify preferred, eco-friendly products for fertilizers, weed control, and other yard maintenance.
• Consider planting native species: in addition to requiring less water, they are better able to resist pests and thrive with minimal care and fertilizers.
How the City Utilizes IPM
The City of West Sacramento has made efforts to reduce pesticide and fertilizer use, and has incorporated IPM strategies such as:
• In the spring, goats are brought in to manage weed and grass growth at various locations across the city. Watch this video to learn more about using goats as weed control.
• The city has installed bat boxes along the Main Drain Canal in Southport to attract these vigorous insect-eaters. A single bat can eat 1,000 mosquitos in an hour, and some live up to 40 years! Learn more about helping bats help us.
• The City has installed owl boxes at Bryte park to attract barn owls to the area. Barn owls are significantly safer than poisons and less expensive than traps for managing rodent populations. You can learn more about owls for IMP here.