Integrated Pest Management (IPM) in urban entomology
Brannon, Sonja Lavette
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Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a site-specific decision-making process that includes accountability (record-keeping) aimed at sustainable reductions in pest damage. For over 60 years, IPM has been identified as the calling card to reduce the use of pesticides. IPM has its genesis in agriculture, this philosophy was developed due to the insecticide resistance problems farmers faced using DDT and other pesticides. Urban entomology, concerns the management of pests in and around structural habitats. This dissertation focuses on the training, education and regulation of urban entomology as it relates to IPM. The Structural Pest Control Section (SPCS) in the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) regulates pesticide use in schools and residential areas. In 2007, SPCS inspectors began reviewing the pesticide use records (PURs) in Georgia schools. Over the course of two years, the SPCS collected over $800,000 in fines and several companies lost licensure due to violations associated with the PUR review program. I analyzed the PURs to find areas of training needs for the pest management industry. Results indicate that the Specific Areas Treated (spa) proved to be largest area of concern. Overall 66% of pesticides used were pyrethroids and less than 1% of PUR’s were in compliance. My second project included developing a training tool for the eight steps of IPM. I incorporated eight steps that outline the process of IPM into a dichotomous key format for introducing practitioners to the concept of urban IPM. The key is intended to be a practical guide for instructors, property owners and practitioners interested in understanding and implementing the IPM process. The third project included creating IPM lesson plans for Georgia schools. Focusing on the pesticide users of tomorrow, I developed eight kid-friendly activities that describe the foundational lessons needed to implement IPM, identify pests and reduce pesticides. The fourth project involved development of an IPM plan for the Chattahoochee River National Recreational Area. Information from site inspections conducted in the park were compiled into a guide that can be used to implement IPM within the 14 land-units that make up the park management area.