Integrated Pest Management

What is Integrated Pest Management?

Integrated pest management (IPM is a strategy that focuses on prevention and control of pest problems through a combination of techniques to help reduce dependence on pesticides, minimize the amounts of pesticide required for nuisance control, and use the least-toxic product that provides effective control.

A central guiding principle of IPM, with few exceptions, is that pesticides should be used to control nuisance levels, not as a method of prevention. Pesticide use as a method of prevention can lead to excessive and unnecessary use. Following this principle helps to solve pest problem while minimizing risks to people and the environment.

Integrated Pest Management Plan

The following are pest control methods utilized by IPM:

Utilize beneficial insects to prey on a target pest species, or selected plantings to prevent crowding-out of desirable species by exotics or undesirable species.

Cultural: Practices that render the target pests preferred living conditions less favorable. For example, keeping trash areas clean can be effective for avoiding rodent infestation.

Mechanical: Measures that keep pest populations below nuisance levels. For example, handpicking may be sufficient in ridding garden and landscape are populations of snails, slugs, caterpillars and other pests.

Physical: Physically prevent pests from establishing themselves. Examples include window screens, mulch or fabric barriers in landscape areas or gardens, rodent and insect traps.

Chemical: When deemed necessary (i.e., when non-chemical methods have failed), the least toxic, pest-specific product that provides effective control should be applied as follows:

  • According to product instructions, using appropriate personal protective measures
  • Using spot treatment rather than broadcast application
  • In a manner that maximized effectiveness.

Benefits of IPM

IPM helps:

  • Protect the environment by reducing reliance on pesticides for control of pest problems. Less use of pesticides reduces the potential for non-target species to be harmed by pesticide use.
  • Prevent contamination of waterways and soils, and helps keep hazardous chemical out of the food chain.
  • Control pests while reducing potential exposure of children and pets to pesticide residues, as well as reducing the chance of harm to people who apply pesticides.

Pesticides and Water Quality

Pesticides are designed to kill pests, but they can also harm people, pets, and other creatures in our environment. Pesticides applied around the outside of the home or business can be washed into storm drains by rain and sprinklers. These pesticides can end up polluting our creeks and waterways, damaging these already compromised wildlife habitats.

Only pesticides that are licensed for direct application to water are permissible for surface water contact, and event these must be used prudently. More information on pesticides can be found at the University of California IPM Program webpage

IPM Education Campaign

Through the San Mateo Countywide Stormwater Pollution Program (SMCWPP), the City is participating in a Bay Area-wide campaign to raise awareness about employing principles of IPM to help protect our local creeks and waterways.

SMCWPPP has helped produce local and regional media spots, as well as an informative series of IPM fact sheets, which are available at City Hall. In addition, through a public-private partnership, many Bay Area businesses are helping SMCWPPP spread the word about IPM.

Stop by the participating businesses listed below for color copies of many of the fact sheets and an array of less toxic pest control products.

Participating Businesses

Home Depot
2001 Chess Drive
San Mateo, CA 94403