Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a tiered strategy that uses a combination of methods for preventing and controlling common household pests while minimizing the risks to people and the environment. Preferred IPM methods include barriers and other types of physical controls, and biological and cultural methods -- only deploying targeted chemical control as a last resort. IPM can be used to manage all kinds of pests such as weeds, insects, and rodents; taking into account the type of pest, its biology, and environmental factors to determine the most appropriate management strategy. The following links provide a wealth of information on IPM, many of them from the experts at UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources:

Identifying Pests – The first step in Integrated Pest Management is being able to identify your pests. Use these links to help identify and learn about the particular pests that may be causing a nuisance in your home or garden and quick tips for eliminating or controlling them. 


Tips on Managing Pests Using IPM Once the pest has been identified, there are a suite of methods that can be applied to control and manage the problem before resorting to the use of pesticides. Click here to learn more about the techniques below and applying IPM in Your Home and Landscape.

  • Prevention techniques aim to avoid a pest problem before it occurs by using methods such as eliminating the things pests need to thrive (i.e., food, water, shelter);  
  • Cultural controls are methods to discourage pests from inhabiting a home or garden and becoming a problem in the first place. These could include using pest resistant plants and proper maintenance of existing landscaping as explained in this Guide to Healthy Lawns Using Little or No Pesticides;
  • Physical controls include methods such as:   
    • Mulching for weed management;
    • Placing a ring of sticky barrier (such as Tanglefoot®) around the trunk of citrus trees to control ants and other types of scale insects;
    • Plugging entry points into crawl spaces and attics with wire mesh or steel wool to exclude rodents;
    • Caulking around the house to prevent smaller pests and insects from entering;
    • Using mechanical traps for capturing pests such as mice;
    • Soil solarization or heat treatments to control diseases that reside in the soil;
  • Biological controls help manage pests by encouraging the establishment of beneficial organisms (or natural enemies to pests) that naturally control pest populations. Read here to learn how to encourage natural enemies in your home garden.


Explore these Additional Resources: