Check for Pests
Observation and analysis is the cornerstone of integrated pest management (IPM). First you need to recognize that you have a problem involving a pest (i.e. weeds or insects) and determine what type pest you are dealing with. Then you need to determine your response to the problem. Finally, you need to evaluate how well your IPM toolkit is working.
Recognizing pest problems
If you are new to gardening, it may be hard to determine if the plant growing in your yard is a weed or a cultivated plant. There are many resources at your local library and online to help you determine if the plant is a weed. The same holds true for insects and some animals (invertebrate and vertebrate pests). It may be hard to determine whether an insect or animal is responsible for damaging your trees, flowers or lawn. As well, you be able to recognize beneficial insects, to avoid harming them when you deal with other pests. The City has prepared an extensive list of damaging pests, weeds and beneficial insects found here in Regina.
Responding to your pest problem
Once you recognize you have a pest problem and know what is causing it, you can determine how to respond. First, you should ask yourself if you can live with the problem or if you need to do something about it. Some pests cause only cosmetic damage. Other times, the damage is only temporary during a certain part of the pest's life cycle. If you feel you can live with the pest, then simply monitor the pest's activities. If you feel you need to do something about the pest, then use any or all of the 4 tools in the IPM toolkit (beneficial insects & animals, physical tools, preventative tools or chemical tools) to keep pests to a level you're comfortable with. The City of Regina suggest you try the first 3 tools first before resorting to chemical tools since the goal of IPM is to reduce pests with minimal effect on the environment.
Evaluating your efforts
Once you have used one of these tools, you need to evaluate its usefulness. Evaluation is an essential part of every IPM program because it helps you to:
- Determine what worked and what didn't.
- Identify ways to improve your IPM tool kit.
- Assess the costs and benefits of your IPM tool kit.
- Identify possible changes to site design and management practices to prevent future problems.