Chapter 20

Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management Control Tactics

A successful integrated pest management (IPM) program incorporates a variety of pest management control tactics such as cultural, mechanical/physical, biological, biorational, and chemical control tactics individually or in combination. All are equally important in implementing a successful IPM program. Costs, benefits, timing, labor force and equipment as well as economic, environmental and social impacts all have to be taken into consideration. Each control tactic, discussed below, employs a different set of mechanisms for suppressing pest populations.

Cultural Pest Control

The goal of cultural control is to alter the environment, the condition of the host, or the behavior of the pest to prevent or suppress an infestation. It disrupts the normal relationship between the pest and the host and makes the pest less likely to survive, grow, or reproduce. Many cultural practices influence the survival of pests. Grape diseases are often promoted by high humidity or water sitting on vine tissues. Therefore, vine management that promotes faster drying will decrease disease incidence. Sloping ground promotes airflow through the vineyard; trees or other structures inhibit airflow, block sunlight, slow drying conditions and promote disease.

Biological Pest Control

Biological methods are the use of beneficial organisms that can be used in the vineyard to reduce insect pest populations. Biological control of insect and mite pests can be achieved through release of bio-control agents like predatory mites, pirate bugs, soil-dwelling mites, and parasitic insects. Biological control agents (natural enemies or beneficials) typically will not entirely eliminate the target insect or mite pest.

Biorational Pest Control

Unlike conventional synthetic pesticides, which are classified on the basis of their chemistry, biorational pesticides are grouped on the basis of some shared characteristics. For example, they pose minimal to no risk to the environment due to their chemical makeup, rapid degradation, or the small amounts required to effect control Biorationals in general have a narrow target range and a very specific mode of action.


Biopesticides, as defined by the EPA, are certain types of pesticides derived from such natural materials as animals, plants, bacteria, and certain minerals. Categories of biopesticides include: (1) biochemical pesticides, which are naturally occurring substances that control pests by non-toxic mechanisms, such as sex pheromones that interfere with mating and scented plant extracts that attract insect pests to traps; (2) microbial pesticides, which consist of a microorganism (e.g., a bacterium, fungus, virus or protozoan) as the active ingredient; and (3) plant-incorporated-protectants (PIPs), in which pesticidal substances are produced by crop plants as a result of genetic material being added to the plant (e.g., Bt insecticidal protein).

Biorationals Approved for Organic Crop Production

Most biorationals are approved for organic crop production, thus they are a logical fit for managing pests in organic crops. However, some formulations are not approved, which can be due to inert materials or synthetic additives. Some biorationals are not allowed under National Organic Program (NOP), for example phosphorus acids and genetically engineered PIPs.

Chemical Pest Control

Conventional pesticides (i.e., synthesized by the agrochemical companies) are man-made and are the largest group of pesticides used by growers. There are many classes of synthetic pesticides. The main classes consist of organochlorines, organophosphates, carbamates, and pyrethroids. The synthetic compounds include most of the insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides. If all other integrated pest management tactics are unable to keep an insect pest population below an economic threshold, then use of a pesticide to control the pest and prevent economic loss is justified.

Chemicals Allowed for Organic Crop Production

Organic farmers can use chemicals derived from natural sources and synthetic substances within the regulations of the USDA NOP if other strategies and cultural management practices fail to control pests and diseases. The National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances managed by the NOP, identifies substances that may or may not be used in organic crop production.

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