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Integrated Pest Management

  • R. Kenneth Horst
Reference work entry

Abstract

Pesticides have been constantly scrutinized since Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring in the early 1960’s and the birth of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the early 1970’s. Registrations of many pesticides have been canceled and more will be canceled with the passage of the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) in 1996. The diminished availability of pesticides may limit choices to more costly materials. In addition, there is growing concern about groundwater contamination by pesticides and fertilizers, consumer exposure to pesticide residue on food and plant material, pesticide resistance in plant pathogens, insects and weeds, destruction of beneficial organisms, atmospheric contamination by pollutants, and concern for endangered species, all of which combine to make the problem of pest control more serious.

Keywords

Biological Control Pesticide Residue Biocontrol Agent Pest Control Integrate Pest Management 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Pesticides have been constantly scrutinized since Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring in the early 1960’s and the birth of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the early 1970’s. Registrations of many pesticides have been canceled and more will be canceled with the passage of the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) in 1996. The diminished availability of pesticides may limit choices to more costly materials. In addition, there is growing concern about groundwater contamination by pesticides and fertilizers, consumer exposure to pesticide residue on food and plant material, pesticide resistance in plant pathogens, insects and weeds, destruction of beneficial organisms, atmospheric contamination by pollutants, and concern for endangered species, all of which combine to make the problem of pest control more serious.

For the past 30 years integrated pest management (IPM) has received increased interest. Investigations have concentrated on enhancement of a broad arsenal of integrated strategies for control of pests and diseases on selected commodities. A key goal of IPM strategies is the reduction of pesticide use to the absolute minimum and the reliance on other strategies to assist in controlling pests. IPM strategies which can be used include:
  • Apply pesticides only when necessary;

  • Make use of application methods that apply less pesticide or use a more efficient spray system;

  • Use biocompatible chemicals as they become available;

  • Use biological controls when available and when appropriate; and

  • Use cultural practices which are favorable to healthy plant growth.

A successful IPM program depends on four basic techniques.
  • Scouting. Regular and random visual observations provide early warning to disease problems.

  • Disease Identification. The first and most important step is to identify the problem;misdiagnosis results in use of improper control.

  • Timing. Improper timing of control measure will result in disease control failure; the control measure must be timed correctly to the stage of disease development.

  • Records. Brief accurate records are a good tool for disease control decisions.

Although entomologists have achieved some success with biological controls, the successes by plant pathologists with biological control has been somewhat sparse. While use of classical biological control has aided pest control, most biocontrol products have not yet proved to be preferred treatments for disease control. Intense research in biological control of root diseases has been proceeding in the United States and in Europe. Some microbial agents, although sometimes sensitive to environmental variation, can be effective in controlling soil-borne plant pathogens. Although there are many promising fungal and bacterial biocontrol agents, and experiments demonstrate successful biocontrol in the greenhouse and field, there are few commercially available biocontrol products. The reasons may be due to:
  • An insufficient understanding of the mode of action of most biocontrol agents;

  • To need to develop mass production and delivery systems;

  • Little methodology for integrating biocontrol with other control strategies and crop production methods; and

  • Competition of the biocontrol agent with other microorganisms.

It should also be recognized that biocontrol products are effective against specific pathogens and that the use of pesticides on foliage or soil may have detrimental effects on the biocontrol agent.

There have been searches in recent years for “natural” substances that may bear profound antifungal/antibacterial properties and that exhibit low mammalian and environmental toxicities. These chemicals are termed biocompatible and there are four of interest:
  • Neem from the neem tree (Melis azedarach)

  • Bicarbonates (used in baking)

  • Horticultural oils

  • Strobilurins (from fungal extracts)

Some of these have now been formulated for the commercial market and are exhibiting excellent disease control. There are numerous biocompatible chemicals under investigation for their efficacy in disease and pest control. The great benefit of these products is their safety for the user and the environment.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Kenneth Horst
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe BiologyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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