Integrated Pest Management: Principles, Methods, Advantages, Disadvantages and Ideal Management

Integrated pest management is the modern approach for pest management; For a Grower, the most important thing is getting good returns from produce. Still, the factors which majorly affect it are pests, diseases, and market value. Pesticides have a direct role in agriculture production and control of pests, insects, and diseases; at the same time, they also show ill effects. Therefore, only a single pest control measure can never be an effective and permanent solution for management.

Integrated Pest Management
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To overcome all these effects of pest damage, a new approach to tackle the problem is Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Barlett coined the term IPM. IPM Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly pest control approach that involves various practices. IPM programs make use of up-to-date, comprehensive information on pest life cycles and interactions with the environment.

IPM can be used in agricultural and non-agricultural systems, such as the home, garden, and workplace. IPM employs all appropriate pest management options, including, but not limited to, the prudent use of pesticides. On the other hand, organic food production uses many of the same concepts as IPM. Still, it limits the use of pesticides to those derived from natural sources rather than synthetic chemicals. 

Integrated Pest Management: Principles

IPM is not only one single pest control. But IPM is instead a combined effort of many different techniques. Therefore, we often refer to it as four principles, but in an elaborate context, they are 8 IPM Principles.

Principle 1: Prevention

Prevention is the adoption of measures to reduce the chance of pests. Suppression minimizes the impact of pests by applying techniques such as crop rotation and good cultivation techniques.  It is a method of preventing the spread of pathogenic organisms through hygiene measures (e.g., by regular cleansing of machinery and equipment).

Crop rotation is one pest prevention and control method that breaks the pest’s life cycle. The use of appropriate cultivation techniques is also part of prevention and suppression (e.g., stale seedbed technique, sowing dates and densities, under-sowing, conservation tillage, pruning, and direct sowing)

Principle 2: Monitoring

Wherever possible, harmful organisms must be monitored with appropriate methods and tools. Monitoring can be done through observations, sound scientific warnings, forecasting, early diagnosis systems, advice from professionally qualified advisers, and so on. Many countries, including France and Denmark, have adopted this monitoring and forecasting technique.

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Principle 3: Decision making

Decision-making is based on the monitoring results rather than the level of pest activity being monitored. The threshold is the defined pest density or population level that, if exceeded, requires management.

Principle 4: Non-chemical methods

Non-chemical methods are preferred as they are more sustainable with fewer biological and environmental hazards. However, chemical practices are often not sustainable and create more pest problems, so they are always preferred at first hand. Using live natural enemies is a significant non-chemical (biological) intervention method. Biological, physical, and ecological methods are examples of non-chemical methods.

Principle 5: Selection of pesticide

IPM does not eliminate the use of pesticides. Pesticides are used for pest control when alternative methods are not used properly. However, the pesticides used must be as specific as possible for the target. In addition, pesticides should pose no risk to human, non-target human, or environmental health.

Principle 6: Pesticide reduction

Reduced pesticide use refers to a cut-down pesticide application frequency and doses. Other forms of intervention must supplement this method. However, it aids in the reduction of pesticide side effects.

Principle 7: Anti-resistance techniques

IPM focuses on anti-resistance activities such as unmanaged and hazardous pesticide use has created a problem of resistance. As a result, pests have developed resistance, and pesticides have less of an effect on them. This is also the primary motivation for the IPM. Anti-resistance strategies include combining different pesticides with different modes of action and applying them at other times.

Principle 8: Evaluation

The evaluation component of the IPM program is critical. The evaluation is based on records of pesticide use, effects, and other factors. Evaluation is required to study the effectiveness of the plan’s protective measures and future planning.

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Integrated Pest Management (IPM): Different method & techniques

  1. Cultural Method
  2. Physical/ Mechanical Method
  3. Biological Method
  4. Chemical Method

Cultural method

Cultural pest control methods involve conducting regular farm operations so that the pests are either destroyed or prevented from causing economic loss. 

  • Keep nurseries and main fields pest-free by removing plant debris and trimming bunds, treating soil, and deep summer plowing, which kills pests at various stages.
  • Selection of clean, certified seeds and treating seeds with fungicides and biopesticides to prevent seed-borne disease.
  • Selection of seeds from pest-resistant/tolerant varieties that play an essential role in pest control.
  • Adjustment of sowing and harvesting time to escape peak season of pest attack.
  • Rotation of crops with non-host crops and Proper plant spacing make plants healthier and less susceptible to pests.
  • FYM and biofertilizer use should be encouraged.
  • Proper water management (alternating wetting and drying to avoid water stagnation) is required. Because high moisture sometimes in the soil promotes the development of pests, particularly soil-borne diseases.
  • Proper weed management. 
  • Synchronized sowing of sowing crops simultaneously in the vast area so pests may not get different staged crops suitable for their population build-up.
  • These are known as trap crops for that pest.
  • By growing crops on the border of the fields, pest populations get attracted, which can be either killed by pesticides or by their natural enemies for natural control.
  • Remove and destroy crowded/dead/broken/diseased branches while pruning fruit trees. Do not pile them in orchards, as this could lead to pest infestation.
  • To protect the plants from pest/disease attacks, pruned wounds should be treated with Bordeaux paste/paint.
  • For an excellent fruit set, pollinizer cultivars should be planted in the required proportion in the orchards.
  • Keeping bee hives or flower bouquets of cultivars facilitate pollination and subsequent fruit set.

Physical/ mechanical method

The physical method is also known as “mechanical” control. It involves physically removing pests from your garden, crushing or killing them, or using barriers, traps, mowing, and tillage.

  • When possible, remove and destroy insect pest egg masses, larvae, pupae, adults, and diseased plant parts.
  • Install bamboo cage cum bird perches in the field and place parasitized egg masses inside them for natural enemy conservation and pest species avoidance wherever possible.
  • Light traps are used, and trapped insects are destroyed.
  • The rope is used to dislodge leaf-feeding larvae such as caseworms and leaf folders.
  • Where necessary, install a bird scarer in the field.
  • Installing bird perches in the field allows Birds will sit and feed on insects and their immature stages.

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Biological method

The most important component of IPM is the biological control of insect pests and diseases. Biocontrol, in a broad sense, is the use of living organisms to manage crop-damaging living organisms (pests). Some of the most common biocontrol agents are Parasitoids, Predators, and Pathogens.

  • Parasitoids are organisms that lay eggs in or on the bodies of their hosts. As a result, the hosts die. A parasitoid may be of a different type depending on the host’s developmental stage. Examples are different species of Trichogramma, Apanteles, Bracon, Chelonus, Brachemeria, and Pseudogonotopus.
  • Predators are free-living organisms that hunt other organisms for food. Examples are spiders, dragonflies, damselflies, ladybird beetles, Chrysopa species, birds, and other insects.
  • Pathogens are micro-organisms that infest and cause diseases in their hosts. Fungi, viruses, and bacteria are the three major groups of pathogens. In addition, some nematodes also cause disease in some insect pests. Virus: nuclear polyhedrosis virus (NPV) and granulosis viruses. Bacillus thuringiensis and B. popillae are two common bacteria.

The various types of biocontrol practices are classified as follows:

  • Introduction: A new species of the bioagent is introduced into a location for establishment against its host in this process. This is only done after extensive laboratory testing and field trials to ensure its efficacy.
  • Augmentation: This process increases the population of natural enemies already present in the area. This is accomplished by releasing laboratory-reared or field-collected bioagents. The bioagents released are of the same species and in sufficient quantity to suppress the pest population in that area.
  • Conservation: This is the essential biological control component and significantly impacts pest suppression. In addition, natural enemies in the environment are protected from being killed during this process.

Chemical method

IPM works to reduce chemical inputs as much as possible. However, they can occasionally be helpful if things get out of hand. Chemical pesticides are used as a last resort when all other methods fail to keep pest populations under economic loss. 

  • Pesticide use should be need-based, prudent, and based on pest surveillance and economic threshold levels (ETL). This helps to reduce not only the cost of the project but also the associated problems. 
  • When it comes to chemical control, we must thoroughly understand what to spray, when to spray, where to spray, and how to spray while keeping the following points in mind.
  • The ETL and pest-defender ratios must be monitored.
  • Pesticides that are relatively safer, such as neem-based and biopesticides, should be chosen.
  • Only spray the entire field if the pest is in strips or isolated patches.
  • IPM practices are more critical in vegetable and fruit crops. Pesticides that are generally highly toxic and have residual toxic effects should not be used without caution. 
  • Farmers start immediately after pesticide waiting periods before harvesting and marketing the crop. 
  • This results in pesticide poisoning, long-term effects, and, in some cases, death. As a result, we must be more cautious and cautious when employing pest control practices in the field.

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Integrated Pest Management (IPM): Advantages or benefits

Lower cost interventions

  • Traditionally, using pesticides to control pest invasion would incur high costs.
  • The use of IPM would reduce the financial burden.
  • Furthermore, the various techniques used in IPM are more sustainable and provide long-term benefits.
  • Assurance of pest control that is safe, dependable, and inexpensive
  • Pest control will not affect the crops.
  • Furthermore, it is both safe and affordable for the general public.


  • The IPM model is an anti-resistant mode of pest control in and of itself.
  • IPM discourages using chemicals, resulting in fewer cases of anti-resistance.
  • Pesticide usage only when other alternatives are not functional/ Effective.

Environmental benefits 

  • Pesticide use is frequently associated with environmental degradation, resulting in additional problems.
  • Pesticide use reduction does not affect soil fertility.
  • In an IPM schedule, Pesticide usage will be considerably reduced to the recommended level. Thus, pesticide residue hazards will automatically minimize in nature.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM): Disadvantages or limitations or challenges

  • Financial constraints in launching the IPM
  • Lack of Expertise involvement in IPM
  • Inadequate pest research, government, and policy support more technicalities Involvement in this method.
  • IPM must be planned; IPM necessitates more focus and dedication: Expertise in various fields is required. 
  • All those involved in IPM must be educated and trained, which often takes a long time.
  • IPM is time and energy-consuming for the result-oriented approach. Because IPM strategies differ by region, each region requires its plan.
  • The anticipated outcomes of intervention may take a long time to achieve.
  • Farmers in developing countries where traditional farming is still practiced and IPM appears challenging to implement.

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Beetle Pest
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Integrated Pest Management (IPM): Ideal management strategy

IPM programs are created by combining these IPM principles and practices. While every situation is unique, six central components are shared by all IPM programs:

  1. Identification of pests
  2. Pest numbers and damage are being monitored and assessed.
  3. When management action is required, follow these guidelines.
  4. Keeping pests at bay
  5. Using a mix of biological, cultural, physical/mechanical, and chemical management techniques
  6. After acting, evaluate the impact of pest management.


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