With these steps, the IPM is best described as a continuum. Many, if not most, agricultural producers identify their pests before spraying. A smaller subset of producers use less risky pesticides, such as pheromones. All these producers are on the IPM continuum.
The goal is to move producers further along the process to use all appropriate IPM techniques. The cornerstone of an effective IPM program is a schedule of regular inspections. For food processors, weekly inspections are common, and some plants inspect more frequently. These routine inspections should focus on areas where pests are most likely to appear: receiving docks, storage areas, employee break rooms, recent ingredient spill sites, etc.
As regular inspections reveal vulnerabilities in your pest control program, take steps to address them before they cause a real problem. One of the most effective preventive measures is exclusion,. By physically keeping pests away, you can reduce the need for chemical countermeasures. Similarly, sanitation and maintenance will eliminate potential sources of food and water, thus reducing pest pressure.
By identifying problem species, pests can be eliminated more efficiently and with the least risk of damage to other organisms. Professional pest management always starts with the correct identification of the pest in question. Ensure your pest control provider receives rigorous training in pest identification and behavior. Since pest control is an ongoing process, constantly monitoring your facility for pest activity and operational changes to facilities can protect against infestation and help eliminate existing ones.
Since your pest control professional will most likely visit your facility biweekly or weekly, your staff should be the daily eyes and ears of the IPM program. Employees should be aware of sanitation issues affecting the program and should report any signs of pest activity. You don't want to waste a day when it comes to reacting to the real presence of a plague. Let's face it, the visit of the food safety auditor can make your business fail or succeed.
Since pest control can account for up to 20 percent of your total score, it's imperative that your IPM program is ready to show when it's time for the audit. Up-to-date pest control documentation is one of the first signs to an auditor that your facility is serious about pest control. Important documents include scope of service, pest activity reports, service reports, corrective action reports, trap design maps, lists of approved pesticides, pesticide use reports, and applicator licenses. Senator Calls for Greater FDA Food Facility Inspections and More Transparency in Reporting Violations.
Misuse of pesticides can result in the death of all insects vulnerable to the active ingredients, leaving only the strongest to mate and reproduce. It is important to accurately identify the pest to determine if population levels will increase until food sources are depleted or if weather conditions could limit population growth. Pesticide applications can also cause secondary pest outbreaks and can adversely impact non-target organisms that feed on insects or leaves contaminated with pesticides. It is imperative that the selected chemical be labeled both for the management of the offending pest and for use in the specific type of plant on which it is to be sprayed.
Physical management includes removing pests with vacuums and traps or destroying them by freezing or heating them. Monitoring after treatments is how you know how effective the treatment was and if pest populations are now at acceptable levels. The life cycle of the pest, possible damage, natural enemies and climate effects, among other factors, are considered before implementing a control plan. Some pests have several generations a year, while others have a few generations or only one generation.
Resistant cultivars are those that repel, are unattractive, or are not suitable as food for certain pests or that resist the feeding of certain pests with little reduction in yield or quality. When using a scary device, it is important to consider the ability of the pest to see or hear the stimulus. Other potential problems with chemical management include direct hazards to the user and secondary exposure of family, friends and pets to pesticide residues. Pest control materials are selected and applied in a manner that minimizes risks to human health, beneficial and non-target organisms and the environment.
Since IPM is a complex process of pest control, not just a series of practices, it is impossible to use a definition of IPM for all foods and all areas of the country. Some evidence indicates that healthy plants resist pest infestation better than plants with low vigor. . .