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Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is the process of using multiple building management functions in order to work together to achieve the following objectives:
1. Inspection and Monitoring:
A complete inspection of your home or business should be done in early spring and mid- fall. Make this part of your spring and fall cleaning. You should be looking for conducive conditions as well as signs of pest infestations.
2. Short Term Solutions:
This usually requires the use of pesticides or traps. The purpose is to immediately reduce or eliminate any pest infestations right away. The goal of IPM is to reduce the amount of pesticides used, and their toxicity. Therefore, with the inspection, the areas of infestation can be found and pesticides can be introduced in only the areas where they will be most effective and not in areas that will be ineffective. SEE PESTICIDE FORMULATIONS for more information on pesticide usage.
3. Long Term Solutions:
Long term solutions are the key to making IPM work. These solutions use other building functions to reduce the conditions that would lead to infestations (conducive conditions). These are determined during the inspection and monitoring step and include the following areas of building management.

Solid Waste Management

This involves proper management of the disposal of your garbage. Things to look for include, but are not limited to:
1. Keeping the garbage inside from overflowing and spilling. This also includes keeping the lid as airtight as possible.
2. Keeping the garbage outside from overflowing and spilling. This also includes keeping the lid as airtight as possible. If overflowing is a regular problem, then you should consider more frequent garbage pickup, if possible, or increasing the number of garbage cans or size of dumpsters.
3. Moving the outside garbage as far from the structure as possible. In a house, this may mean moving the garbage to an outside bin (preferably one that itself can be closed and latched). In a structure that relies on dumpsters, consider moving it to the other side of the parking lot or driveway.

Landscape Modification

This involves making sure that there is no vegetation growing against the outside of the structure as well as no trees overhanging the roof. You should also make sure the grade is below the siding and leading away from the structure, which allows rainwater to drain away from the structure. In some structures, usually built into a hill, drains may need to be installed to make sure the water does not run towards the foundation.

Structural Modifications - Exclusionary Steps

This involves removing possible entry points of various pests. This may involve sealing cracks in foundations, siding, soffets, facia boards, around windows, doors, and vents, installing screening, usually at least 20 mesh in size, around windows, doors, and vents. To keep mice, rats, and bats out, all openings 1/4 inch or larger needs to be sealed. Be careful, however, not to prevent proper ventilation during this process.


Sanitation is a key aspect of IPM. Poor or inadequate sanitation can provide food, water, and shelter to a large variety of pests. Sanitation includes:
1. Cleaning all food and refuse spillage as soon as possible.
2. Sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming on a regular basis. The level of use will determine the frequency. For example, a busy office will require more frequent cleaning than a house with only a two income couple.
3. Fixing all leaking pipes, air conditioners, and roofs as soon as possible.

Moisture Elimination

Although this may seem like an extension of number three above, there are other aspects of moisture elimination that should be looked at. SEE MOISTURE CONTROL for more information.

Storage and Procedural Modification

This involves proper storage of items, materials, and supplies as well as inspecting all material that arrives. Proper storage involves limiting storage of items inside corrugated cardboard boxes and storage on the floor of basements. Instead, items should be stored on metal wire shelves. Also be careful not to store too much. If you live in a house for a period of years, it becomes easy to store way too much stuff. Your spring and fall cleaning should concentrate on items that you probably will never use again. Tag sales are a great way to get rid of these types of items that someone else could use. Inspecting all material that comes into your business or house is also an important part of IPM. A number of pests, ranging from cockroaches and ants to silverfish and certain types of termites, can be carried into your home or business in paper bags, boxes, supplies, furniture, and even appliances. A careful inspection, especially items that you may have bought at tag sales and consignment shops, should help in preventing infestations.

Other Long Term Solutions

Other possible long-term solutions may include:
1. Baits: By using baits in critical areas or areas that have a high probability of infestation can a) determine if an infestation begins and b) be the first step in the control and elimination process. See more about baits in PESTICIDE FORMULATIONS.
2. Preventative spraying may also be effective, especially near doors, windows and other entry points, in preventing crawling arthropods, such as ants, earwigs, millipedes, spiders, etc. from entering the structure.
3. Use of light traps and / or insect electrocution devices near entrances to eliminate flying insects from entering the structure.

INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT is the wave of the future in pest management. All the professional pest management associations (such as the National Pest Control Association) as well as governmental agencies promote the use of this philosophy. However, like anything new, implementation of such a philosophy in the professional world of pest management is slow. It was not until 1999 that the state of Connecticut made IPM mandatory at state facilities. Other states still do not make it mandatory, but they soon will. If you are hiring a pest management professional, make sure they understand the various aspects of IPM and they consider themselves an IPM company. A recent article in Pest Control magazine, an industry trade journal, stated that less than 24% of the companies surveyed performed complete IPM service while some still claim that they perform no IPM. In other words, ask questions and watch them. See HIRING A PEST MANAGEMENT PROFESSIONAL for more tips.

If you have any questions, please ask Pestdude!