What is IPM?
IPM combines different techniques such as use of resistant plant varieties, adjustment of cultural practices, protection of natural enemies, biological control, habitat modification, and when needed, the use of pesticides. An IPM program uses common sense strategies to discourage pests by reducing sources of shelter, food, and water. Monitoring pests is a key component in an IPM program. Observation and recording of pest populations over time help IPM practitioners decide what steps are necessary in controlling the pest. Pest-control treatments are tailored to remove only the targeted organism. Pest-control materials are selected and applied in a manner that minimizes risk to human health, non-target organisms, and the environment.
UNH IPM Protocols
The following protocols are in place in the university’s IPM Program and are used by UNH Facilities to determine the appropriate action when an insect pest is detected.
- As part of the Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system, UNH Facilities does not use pesticides to maintain the campus with the exception of target spraying with a species-specific insecticide to quell an outbreak of a new turf pest in 1999.
- Instead, UNH utilizes an IPM system to control pests in an environmentally responsible, sustainable manner. When a major pest outbreak does occur and spraying is warranted, the most environmentally friendly method is used that will still be successful.
- Any insecticide used on campus grounds is biological. Biological insecticides are based on living entomopathogenic (infecting insects) organisms, usually bacteria, fungi or viruses, or which contain entomopathogenic products from such organisms. They are often the least toxic species-specific option for controlling insect pests.
Exception - the European chafer
- Between 1979 and 1999, damage from insect pests was low enough so as not to exceed threshold levels of insect damage, therefore requiring little insecticidal spraying. However, in 199, the European chafer, a turf pest relatively new to New England, arrived on the grounds of UNH. The immature (grub) stage of this beetle is very destructive to turf. Grubs feed mainly on the roots of grasses, often killing the plant.
- A UNH Cooperative Extension specialist and a UNH Facilities staff member worked together over the past 8 years on an IPM Program specifically to control the European chafer. A large amount of grounds on the UNH Durham campus are covered with turf (the core campus is about 395 acres which includes paved areas, woods, and turf). The monitoring aspect of the program involves constantly updating maps of UNH grounds where European chafer grub damage has occurred. Maps from past and present years are then compared to determine where treatment may be necessary. Unfortunately, because the European chafer is highly destructive in turf, an insecticide is the only effective control measure. Facilities personnel use the least-toxic effective material available to treat for the insect. The use of the detailed maps showing turf damage enables a timely application of this less toxic pesticide, preventing use of a more toxic material that would be required for control later in the insect’s life cycle.
- Since 2004, UNH Cooperative Extension Specialist Stanley Swier has also conducted research with DuPont on a new low-risk insecticide that will be available for use soon. The insecticide, called Acelepryn, contains a new active ingredient and mode of action that will offer turf professionals consistent performance and low application rates, along with an excellent toxicological and environmental profile. Acelepryn has been classified as a reduced risk insecticide by the EPA, which dictates that there is extremely low mammalian, honeybee, fish, and bird toxicity. Through Stanley Swier’s work with DuPont, UNH may well be one of the first universities to use Acelepryn to reduce European chafer grubs on campus grounds as part of our IPM program.
- Overall, these efforts to control the European chafer in as sustainable a manager as possible has allowed UNH Facilities crews to choose the least-toxic effective material for control and time the applications to minimize the amount of material required. As a result, fewer chemicals were released into the ground, the water supply, and the air.