What Is Biointensive
Integrated Pest Management?

Tomato Hornworm_Parasitic Eggs Tomato Hornworm with Parasitic
Wasp Larvae
Photo Credit: Max Wahrhaftig


The History
There is a lot of
discussion in the horticultural/agricultural world about the general topic of integrated pest management (IPM).  

Many different definitions have allowed for wide ranging interpretation of the goal and method of IPM.  As originally conceived, it is a sound, sustainable, ecological approach to reducing harmful chemicals in the environment.  The EPA defines IPM as “a sustainable approach to managing pests by combining biological, cultural, physical, and chemical tools in a way that minimizes economic, health, and environmental risks.” 

Unfortunately, in the horticultural/ agricultural industry, practice has often become far removed from theory.   There are steps to take before resorting to chemical intervention, but this has frequently been glossed over in an effort to reduce time and costs.  In ironic jest it has often been referred to as “improved pesticide marketing”

Hope for the Future     

Biointensive IPM is the next generation of thinking in the broader continuum of integrated pest management practices offered today. 

It is the ‘top tier’ approach that puts ecology back into the IPM equation, since it is the environment and food supply that has been compromised as time goes by. 

The concept of Biointensive IPM is more in line with the original ideas of integrated pest management. It seeks a natural balance in the ecosystem rather than just the elimination of pests.

Biointensive IPM takes a systems approach, based on knowledge of pest ecology.  There are many guidelines published that can be summarized in five major stages.  

Integrated pest management is an enormous subject that you can spend a lifetime in learning, but the practice of  biointensive integrative pest management is not difficult to implement for the home landscape and garden.
Refer to the next article "How to Get Started with Biointensive Integrated Pest Management".


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Getting Started with Biointensive Pest Management


ATTRA: http://www.attra.org/attra-pub/PDF/ipm.pdf
US EPA: http://www.epa.gov/opp00001/factsheets/ipm.htm

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