What is IPM? Integrated Pest Management Explained
It's easy to think that dealing with a pest problem on your plants is as simple as spraying some pesticides and letting it do the work. But it isn't always that simple.
Different pesticide products can fight various forms of pests, mold and mildew, at all different stages of development. Some focus specifically on eggs, while others focus on dealing with matured pests.
The key to dealing with potential pest problems is preventing them from happening in the first place. That is where Integrated Pest Management, aka IPM, comes in.
What is IPM?
IPM is relatively self-explanatory. You are integrating preventative pest management practices directly into your grow regiment.
That doesn't just mean using various pesticide products throughout your growth cycle to prevent various issues though. In fact, we would argue that just as important to your IPM regiment, if not more important, is your environmental control practices.
Certain environments not only welcome, but help to breed various pests that you'll then have to apply additional products to in order to destroy. Keeping your environment under the right conditions is the first step to preventing an eco system welcoming to pests.
Integrated Pest Management Practices
Opposed to waiting for a problem to appear and dealing with it, IPM aims to prevent the problem from happening at all. This is done by using a range of pest control products throughout your plant's growth cycle.
That means from the very beginning, regardless of if you even have a bug problem, you need to be giving your plants pest control products anyway. Think of it like wearing a seat belt.
You never plan on getting in a car accident, but you wear a seat belt as a safety precaution just in case. IPM is the seat belt for your plants.
Through providing your plants consistently with pest control products, if any pest, mold or mildew were to appear (which is already less likely thanks to IPM), you have a head start on fighting it.
While you will be giving your plants these pesticide products regularly, you don't need to use the full dosage that you would use if the pest was already there. This means you can use less of the product throughout your growth cycle, so you're less likely to damage your plants while still preventing potential problems.
So what products should you use?
Best IPM Products
At Cultivate we recommend three types of pesticide products for IPM: an oil-based product, a pyrethrin product, and an azadirachtin product. Using these three products in unison will help prevent just about any potential pest, mold or mildew issue that could arise.
But remember, it can all be for nothing if you don't take control of your environment.
Lost Coast Plant Therapy is an oil based product that in its traditional usage will adhere to the target insect, egg case or larvae to destroy it. When used in a diluted fashion, the oil coating of Plant Therapy will prevent any bugs from landing on the plants and laying their eggs.
Pyrethrins are a class of organic compounds normally derived from Chrysanthemum flowers that have potent insecticidal activity by targeting the nervous systems of insects. Bonide Pyrethrin Garden Spray is effective against just about any potential pest.
Even in its traditional usage, Garden Spray can be used up until the day of harvest if necessary. That makes this product a great addition to your IPM regiment in a diluted dosage.
Azadirachtin is a chemical that is sourced from the Neem tree which is most prevalent in India, and one of the oldest known pest control products in history. AzaMax is an antifeedant and insect growth regulator that controls pests through starvation and growth disruption.
AzaMax is effective against all of the most common pests that might come for your plants. It is also organic and avoids using harsh chemical solvents, which makes it great as an IPM product.
While using the above products together is a great way to protect your grow from unwanted pests, mold or mildew, they can only do so much to combat a bad grow environment.
Hot, humid environments are breeding grounds for bacteria and make a great home for pests to lay eggs. Cold and dry environments can cause the same issues.
Your environmental needs will depend on what is being grown. You wouldn't just throw some tomato seeds out into a dry dead field and expect them to grow without doing some research. Your indoor grow shouldn't be any different!