Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

According to G. N. Agrios (1997), the main goals of an integrated plant disease control program are:

  • To eliminate or reduce the amount of initial inoculum,
  • To reduce the effectiveness of initial inoculum,
  • To increase the resistance of the host,
  • To delay the onset of disease, and
  • To slow down the secondary cycle.

Disease triangle
Disease triangle

Definition of IPM

IPM is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM programs use prevailing and comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment in a disease triangle. This information, along with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage in economical ways ensuring the least possible hazard to people and environment.
IPM is practiced through four-stepped approaches
  • Setting an action thresholds
  • Monitoring and identification of pests
  • Prevention
  • Control

Setting an action thresholds

In IPM approach action is not taken until the pest populations or environmental conditions not reach to the action threshold. Action threshold is the sum total of conditions that can cause economic threat to the crops.

Monitoring and identification of pests

Not all the insects, weeds and fungi require control. Many organisms are pathogenic, while others are beneficial. IPM programs work to monitor for pests and identify them accurately, so that only harmful pests can be targeted.


Prevention is the first line of control. In IPM preventive measures are adapted to protect the crops from pests. This employs integration of cultural methods like crop rotation, field sanitation, selecting disease free seeds, raising disease resistant varieties, etc. These methods are very efficient and cost-effective and cause no harm to the people and environment.


If action threshold, monitoring, identification and preventive measures are no longer effective, IPM program sets methods of chemical control. First of all, target-specific and less risky pest controls are chosen. This includes application of pheromones that disrupt pest mating, or application of yellow sticky traps or weeding. If these methods also fail, then additional pest control methods are advised. This includes application of broad-spectrum pesticides.

Content first created on 01-05-2020
last updated on 22-01-2023