Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a strategy that seeks to identify and then change the underlying factors that are allowing or contributing to a pest infestation at a damaging level. When the conditions that are contributing to a pest infestation are changed or modified to the extent that the pest can no longer find what it needs to thrive, the result is long-term, sustainable management of the pest with significantly reduced reliance on pesticides.

In many cases, successful IPM programs involve combining or “integrating” several strategies into the overall management approach. Pesticides can be part of an IPM program, but are used only after monitoring indicates they are needed according to established guidelines, and treatments are made with the goal of removing only the target organism. Pesticides or control materials are selected and applied in a manner that minimizes risks to human health, beneficial and non-target organisms, and the environment.

Why Should Less Pesticides Be Used?

Pesticides are a legitimate and valuable tool for managing pests, but they may provide only a short term solution to many pest problems. If the conditions contributing to the pest problems are not modified, the pests may simply return requiring another pesticide application. Some insecticides kill natural insect predators making a resurgence of the original pest likely as well as providing a safer environment for new ones to thrive.

Every time a pesticide is used, it enters the environment and, as discussed in a previous section, certain pesticides are increasingly being detected in the state’s waters, especially from urban runoff. To the extent practicable, the County should show leadership and take the steps necessary to help prevent this problem in Los Angeles County. In addition to helping protect the environment, following the principles found in this Program may allow management of some facilities without using any pesticides thus eliminating the need for employee licensing and training as well as the required pesticide storage.