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  MG Manual Reference
Ch. 16, pp. 14 - 15

[Intergrated Pest Management: ipm | example | cultural | biological ]

Although it is questionable whether we could raise all crops without the use of pesticides, it is certainly true that we can reduce the amount of pesticides we use by careful and efficient use. There are some steps to consider before automatically turning to a pesticide. First, identify the suspect pest organism. There are literally thousands of species of insects, but relatively few species are harmful. Many sprays are mistakenly applied to control "pests" which turn out to be lady beetles or other beneficial predatory insects. Insects and diseased plants may be taken to your county Cooperative Extension office where they can assist in identification.
Second, determine if control measures are really needed. While considerable scientific basis exists for making pest control decisions in commercial crops, pest control decision-making for home gardens and ornamentals becomes very subjective. Most crops can tolerate a considerable amount of insect damage before any yield loss occurs so garden crops generally do not need to be kept completely pest free. Frequent inspection of plants can tell whether pest levels are increasing or decreasing.
Usually, each plant will only be attacked by a few insect pests and plant pathogens. Knowledge of these pests' identification and life cycle is essential for effective pest management.
Although pesticides are essential tools in many crop production systems, the many problems associated with pesticide use, including environmental contamination, necessitate the search for viable alternative methods of pest control. Two non-chemical approaches, biological and cultural control, have been used extensively and successfully for many years. Biological control involves the manipulation of specific organisms which are antagonistic to pest organisms. Cultural control is the deliberate manipulation of the cropping or soil system environment with the goal of reducing pest losses. Cultural and biological control approaches can work independently, but are used together for maximum effectiveness. Integrated control, or integrated pest management (IPM), is the integration of various control tactics, including biological, cultural, as well as chemical control into a comprehensive management strategy.

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