The Ten Most Un-Wanted Pests
 


Introduction to IPM

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The Lake Whatcom area is an attractive place to live, with mild weather and seemingly safe neighborhoods. But even in this small town there are trespassers and mischief-makers lurking in your own backyard. Don't worry, your family is safe- it's your tender tomato plants and resplendent rhododendrons that might be assaulted. The inhuman offenders are insects, diseases, and weeds. No problem, you might be thinking. You were just about to go buy some ammo. Not bullets of course, but pesticides.

Wait! Now that you live in the Lake Whatcom watershed, there is some serious thinking to do. Where does that pesticide go after it kills trespassing weeds and insects? When the rain comes, it carries away the pesticide you sprayed. If you live in the Lake Whatcom watershed, that pesticide is heading straight for the lake, drinking water source of over 85,700 people.

But don't feel overwhelmed! Are weapons the only way society fights crime? No! There are lots of ways, like education and crime prevention. Similarly, you can fight garden pests using a combination of strategies, often reducing the need for pesticides. This is called Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM uses a combination of least-toxic, effective methods to keep intruders from destroying your landscape. Least-toxic methods also help keep your drinking water healthy. Best of all, these strategies aren't difficult-you probably already do some of them. IPM methods fall into four categories.

  • Do-Nothing Method: It might sound too good to be true, but it works. Mother Nature will eventually take care of the majority of intruders. She knows how to keep things in balance, and lots of times people mess it up by trying to fix something that's not out of control. Be patient and let natural causes like disease, weather changes, predators and parasites destroy pests.
  • Manipulative Measures: This is where you show troublemakers you're bigger and smarter than they are. Strategies include setting up roadblocks on rhododendrons and beefing up your lawn's self defense. An essential strategy is the S.W.A.T. team. Just as you'd expect, this is when you go outside and start swatting, squashing, or somehow physically destroying trespassers.
  • Secret Agents: Send in secret agents to do the dirty work. Let beetles munch down bindweed, order parasites to suck the life out of root weevils, and make your lawn an appealing environment for agents to track down criminals. They've been training their whole lives for this line of work.
  • Armed and Dangerous: Pesticides are designed to kill living things. They should only be used with extreme caution, in specific situations, and by a knowledgeable, responsible person. Don't waste ammunition by overdosing areas, and don't harm innocent bystanders, such as birds, pets, and beneficial insects, with off-target pesticide applications.

Introduction to Integrated Pest Management >>

Lake Whatcom Cooperative ManagementWSU Whatcom CountyWhatcom County IPM
For more information, contact Scarlet Tang or Todd Murray
WSU Cooperative Extension (360) 676-6736
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