• blueberries ripening on bush

IPM News Updates

  • 2021 IPM Annual Report is Available
    The 2021 IPM Annual Report is available. The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program is a collaboration between UConn Extension and the Department of Plant Science & Landscape Architecture. Since its inception in 1980, the UConn IPM Program has made great strides in developing and implementing sustainable methods for pest control throughout Connecticut. Integrated Pest Management […]
  • The 2020 IPM Team Annual Report is Available
    The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program is a collaboration between UConn Extension and the Department of Plant Science & Landscape Architecture. Since its inception in 1980, the UConn IPM Program has made great strides in developing and implementing sustainable methods for pest control throughout Connecticut. Integrated Pest Management applies multiple tactics in a variety of […]

The UConn Extension IPM Program Educates People in Connecticut

The UConn IPM program educates growers and the general public about the judicious and safe use of organic and synthetic pesticides and alternative pest control methods. The program incorporates all possible crop management and pest management strategies through knowledgeable decision-making, utilizing the most efficient landscape and on-farm resources, and integrating cultural and biological controls. Program objectives include maintaining the economic viability of agricultural and green industry businesses, enhancing and conserving environmental quality and natural resources, educating participants on pests (life cycles, damage, management options, etc.) and on the effective use of cultural practices to mitigate pest problems, of biological control agents, and educating pesticide users about bee and other pollinator safe materials, least toxic options, and the safe use and handling of organic and synthetic pesticide products.

IPM educational programs provide information on pest management alternatives through field training, conferences, workshops, and publications. Regular pest alerts are also provided through email and the IPM Web site. IPM partners and collaborators include State and Federal agricultural and environmental/non-governmental agencies and organizations; State, New England, and Northeastern fruit, greenhouse, grounds keepers, nursery, turf, landscape, and vegetable associations; industry suppliers/dealers; regional universities; educators; schools and municipalities; individual growers, farmers, and producers; Master Gardeners; and the general public.

What is Integrated Pest Management (IPM)?

Integrated pest management (IPM) is a sustainable approach to the management of plant pests (diseases, insects, mites, weeds (including invasive plants), and wildlife). IPM is holistic and science-based, emphasizing long-term solutions that are effective, economical, ecologically viable, and socially acceptable. IPM begins prior to planting a landscape or an agricultural or horticultural crop through education to understand the key factors that promote healthy plants and help to reduce future potential pest problems. Through sound cultural practices, IPM practitioners base decisions on information that is collected systematically, to minimize risks to human health and the environment.

IPM promotes the use and integration of multiple practices, such as cultural controls, biological controls, host plant resistance, behavioral modification, physical and mechanical controls, and chemical control. Tools to manage pests are selected so that they pose the least risk to the
environment and to human health. The principles of IPM can be applied to a variety of locations, such as agricultural production, urban landscapes, residences, commercial properties, forests, parks and recreational areas, and other managed ecosystems.

In an IPM program, emphasis is placed on prevention of the pest problem (e.g., using mesh screening in greenhouses or in homes to prevent insect pest entry) and on control by natural enemies of the pest organism, such as aphids being killed by ladybird beetles. Steps may be taken to promote the action of pests' natural enemies and methods to protect them.

Broader adoption of IPM practices enhances responsible pest management and reduced management and production costs; minimizes adverse environmental and economic effects from pests and pest management; results in improved ecosystem quality and plant performance; and improves plant health, quality, yields, and aesthetics.

Cultural Controls

Cultural controls involve the manipulation of the pests' biological and physical environment to make it less suitable. Examples include proper planting, pruning, maintaining proper soil pH, crop rotation, sanitation, and irrigation/water management.

Biological Control

Biological control is the use of living organisms, such as parasitoids (parasites), predators, or pathogens to suppress a pest population. Ladybeetles are common examples of predators employed in biological control. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is a well-known bacterial insect pathogen employed in many IPM programs.

Host Plant Resistance

Host plant resistance involves the use of plant cultivars that have inherited characteristics that defend the plants against pest attack. The use of resistant cultivars is an important step in plant pathogen, nematode, and insect pest management.

Behavioral Modification

Behavioral modification tactics involve the use of visual, chemical, or auditory stimuli to influence or disrupt normal pest behavior. Examples range from scare tactics, such as the old-fashion scarecrow, to the modern uses of sex pheromone mating disruption for insect pest

Physical and Mechanical Controls

Physical controls involve the use of physical barriers to deter or kill a pest, such as exclusion netting, and kaolin clay. Mechanical control includes the use of sticky traps, fences, row covers, machinery, or manual labor (i.e., for weeding).


Chemical pesticides play a role when other preventive steps fail to avoid damage to the managed resource or to protect human health. Economic thresholds have been established for many pests. Pesticides are used only after documenting that they are needed according to established guidelines.

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) defines pesticides as any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any insects, rodents, nematodes, fungi or weeds, or any other forms of life declared to be pests.
It also includes as pesticides any substance or mixture of substances intended for use as a plant regulator, defoliant, or desiccant. Horticultural oil, insecticidal soaps, and minimum risk products are also regulated as pesticides under FIFRA. The use of pesticides requires a careful
assessment of organic or synthetic chemicals and biorational pesticides. Those which pose the lowest risk to human health, non-target species, and the environment, while achieving effective control, are chosen.

Regulatory Control

Regulatory control refers to state and federal regulations that prevent the spread of pest organisms. It may include quarantine programs or mandated bans.