Bee City USA affiliates commit to create and adopt an integrated pest management (IPM) plan designed to prevent pest problems, reduce pesticide use, and expand the use of non-chemical pest management methods.
While the majority of invertebrates fulfill essential functions in healthy ecosystems, including controlling pests, pollinating flowering plants, and providing food for other wildlife, a small number are considered pests. Unwanted species of plants, animals, and microbes are often controlled with pesticides (an umbrella term that includes—but is not limited to—insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and rodenticides). Pesticides often negatively impact beneficial species in addition to those they aim to control. Contamination resulting from the extensive use of pesticides has been tied to the decline of species important to ecosystems, including pollinators. One of the biggest problems with relying on pesticides is that, in most cases, very little of the pesticide actually reaches the target, and instead ends up in the air, water, soil and affecting wildlife and people. Rather than focusing on one species, Ecologically-Based IPM considers the entire web of life within the ecosystem, working with natural processes to keep populations of all living things, including pests, in balance.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a long-term approach to maintaining healthy landscapes and facilities that minimizes risks to people and the environment by:
Emphasizing prevention first and seeking to eliminate the underlying causes of plant diseases, weeds, and insect problems rather than only attacking the symptoms (the pests).
Discouraging pests by altering habitat conditions, employing physical controls, and enhancing pests’ natural enemies.
Avoiding routine use of pesticides. Pesticides are acceptable if other methods fail to keep pests at acceptable levels. Any applications must minimize unintended consequences, such as harm to people and pollinators.