Concerns about health, the environment and pests with increased resistance to traditional pesticides have forced people to reconsider practices they once took for granted. The regular preventive application of pesticides is one example. Most people don’t realize that, in general, nature takes pretty good care of itself. Healthy plants can usually fend off pest attacks, and predatory insects and birds may suppress undesirable insects. Thus, the preventive and indiscriminate use of pesticides is not advised.
An environmentally friendly approach to pest management is called Integrated Pest Management. IPM emphasizes proper identification of the insect or problem. Regular scouting will help detect problems early. Further observation is made to determine if a problem really exists or if natural enemies, like beneficial insects or other natural controls, are already present. All control options are considered, including prevention of serious pest outbreaks using pest-resistant plants and proper landscape management. If control is necessary, the safest and most effective pest management techniques are employed. The problem often can be solved creatively without the use of pesticides. Safe alternatives are always tried first, such as changing cultural practices or using barriers to block pest entry. If conventional chemical pesticides are required, the least harmful materials are selected to control them. Pesticides are used only to spot treat affected plants and lawn, not in blanket applications.
Pesticide resistance: after repeated applications of a certain pesticide, some pests may adapt to the chemical and are not harmed by it. Individuals that survive then breed and pass the resistant genes to their offspring.
Integrated Pest Management: a sustainable approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health and environmental risks.
When pesticides are used, necessary precautions should be followed:
1. Read the label and follow directions.2. Use the correct pH for the water that serves as a buffer to make the spray effective (optimum pH is between 5.5 and 6.5). This level reduces the amount of pesticide needed and the potential development of tolerance or resistance.3. Use a spreader sticker and/or an oil like Ultra Fine to enhance the effectiveness of the pesticide.
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