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Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a process used to solve pest problems that focuses on the long-term prevention of pests and their damage. IPM uses ecosystem based strategies that work to minimize the risks to people, beneficial animals, and the environment.

The five key steps to utilizing IPM

May contain: plant, food, fruit, citrus fruit, orange, grapefruit, and produce
Photo by Kenneth Ray Seals
  1. Set an Action Threshold – Determine the level at which pests pose an economic or health threat. Pests are often present in the environment but do not necessarily pose a threat until a certain threshold or population level is reached.
  2. Pest Identification – Determine the type of pest present. Pests damage or interfere with desirable plants, damage structures or homes, or impact human or animal health. Pests can be plants, vertebrates, invertebrates, nematodes or pathogens.
  3. Monitoring and assessing pest numbers and damage– Determine how many pests are present and the extent of their damage before taking any control action. This could be as simple as visually observing the amount or number of pests or can be very accurately measured through a rigorous survey protocol.
  4. Preventing Pest Problems – Prevention should be the first line of defense before other control methods are used.
  5. Control – Once the above actions are taken, use the most effective combination of control methods to limit threats.

IPM Control Methods

  • Biological Controls: Biological control is the use of natural enemies—predators, parasites, pathogens, and competitors—to control pests and their damage.
  • Cultural Controls: Cultural controls are practices that reduce pest establishment, reproduction, dispersal, and survival. For example, changing irrigation practices can reduce pest problems, since too much water can increase root disease and weeds.
  • Mechanical/Physical Controls: Mechanical and physical controls kill a pest directly or make the environment unsuitable for it. Physical controls include mulches for weed management, steam sterilization of the soil for disease management, traps for rodents, or barriers such as screens to keep birds or insects out.
  • Chemical Control: Chemical control is the use of pesticides. In IPM, pesticides are used only when needed and in combination with other approaches for more effective, long-term control. Also, pesticides are selected and applied in a way that minimizes their possible harm to people and the environment.

IPM Resources

Agricultural Pests



Asian Citrus Psyllid

Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri) (ACP) is an invasive pest that threatens all varieties of citrus trees. Native to Asia, ACP was first detected in Florida in 1998 and was found in San Diego County in 2008. Currently, ACP has been detected and confirmed in 13 California counties. When the pest is found, a quarantine is put in place to restrict the movement of citrus plants, fruit and clippings in an effort to stop the spread of ACP.

May contain: invertebrate, animal, and insect
Asian citrus psyllid - brown adult, yellow nymph, and white wax.

ACP feeds on new leaf growth which twists and curls young leaves and kills or burns back new leaf shoots. In addition, ACP is a vector of the bacterium Candidatus liberibacter asiaticus, associated with the fatal citrus disease huanglongbing, or citrus greening disease. Huanglongbing can kill a citrus tree in as little as five years and there is no known cure. Preventing the spread of the disease is crucial. If you think you have found the insect, contact the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Exotic Pest Hotline at 1-800-491-1899. CDFA staff will tell you if you are in an area that is new to the psyllid or if it is common in your area.

Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer

The Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer (Euwallacea fornicates) (PSHB) is an invasive plant that originated from Southeast Asia. PSHB was first found in Los Angeles County in 2003. It now has established populations in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, and San Diego Counties. In 2014, a single beetle was found in Santa Cruz County.

PSHB attacks a wide range of trees (up to 200 varieties), including native oak trees, ornamental trees, and horticultural trees such as avocados. PSHB drills into trees and brings with it a pathogenic fungus (Fusarium euwallacea) as well as other fungal species that may to help establish PSHB colonies. The fungus attacks the food and water conducting systems of the infected tree causing stress and dieback. To prevent the spread of PSHB, do not transport infected wood or clippings. If you suspect you have found this insect, contact the County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office at 858-694-2739 and/or submit the the following form to the University of California, Riverside, Eskalen Lab.

Female Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer

Tree Injury and Mortality Associated with the Polyphagous

May contain: invertebrate, animal, and insect
Female Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer