What is Pollinator Friendly Integrated Pest Management (IPM)?

Asked September 26, 2019, 7:28 AM EDT

Is all of IPM pollinator-friendly, or is there a subset that best benefits pollinators?

Howard County Maryland integrated pest management pest insects and mites

1 Response

Hi - Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an approach, a series of techniques, to keep pests below damaging levels and reduce risks to the environment and people. In general, the use of pesticides is a last resort, and product selection and timing is based on understanding the host plant and the biology of the pest.

So, to give an example, to minimize harm to pollinators, one would first choose the right plant for the right place. A plant in its ideal environment won't be stressed and will have fewer pest problems. Choose plants that are pest and disease resistant. Add plants to your landscape that support beneficial insects (natural enemies) that serve as a natural form of pest control. https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/natural-enemies

If pests do show up, determine how much damage is tolerable. "Do nothing" and accepting some damage is a way to protect beneficial insects and pollinators. If pest populations get higher than what is considered tolerable, identify the pest and learn its lifecycle and when it would be most susceptible to treatment.

If a pesticide is needed, choose one that is selective to the pest and less likely to be harmful to beneficial organisms. All that said, there may be times when a treatment is used that may have negative impacts on pollinators. It depends on the product and timing. Pesticide product labels provide information on toxicity to beneficial organisms and how to minimize negative impacts. It is essential to read and follow the product label if a pesticide is used.

This infographic outlines the IPM approach.