Pests & Diseases



Integrated Pest Management

What is IPM?

Integrated pest management (IPM) is the term used for a wide range of tactics to prevent pests of all kinds from reaching damaging levels in crops. A pest can be an insect, mite, vertebrate such as birds, a disease, or weed.

IPM tactics fall into the following categories:

  • Biological - the conservation or release of natural enemies that attack or feed on pests such as parasitic wasps, predators and pathogens
  • Cultural - such as crop rotation, trap cropping, removal or destruction of diseased plants
  • Chemical - use of pesticides as a last resort only and favouring those products that conserve natural enemies
  • Physical or mechanical - barriers such as covers and screens plus vacuums
  • Genetic - pest resistant plant varieties. 

Why use IPM?

With new effective chemicals the question often asked is 'Why bother with IPM?' IPM results in the strategic use of products that reduce health risks to producers, their families and staff as well as consumers. It also minimises the chance of pests developing resistance to chemicals. In addition, no chemical provides 100% control. Practicing IPM integrates strategies that control pests in different ways. For example, by conserving beneficial insects, they're more likely to kill pests hiding in the places where insecticide coverage is poor.

Why was IPM developed?

The catalyst for modern IPM began in the 1950s when over-reliance on chemicals in the field led to catastrophic results. It showed that the sole reliance on chemicals for pest problems in horticulture is not a long-term solution. Diamond back moth holds the distinction of being the first insect pest to develop resistance to DDT, and Bt in the field. It has also developed resistance to synthetic pyrethroids, and organophosphates.

Who is IPM for?

IPM benefits growers, the environment and consumers. It is equally about both the economic and social sustainability of growing food for the benefit of all.

Growers who implement IPM as part of their farming practice have the potential to save money, produce a quality crop, and reduce their hours spent on the tractor.

Benefits of IPM

There are numerous benefits from using IPM. These include:

  • Early detection of potential problems as a result of regular crop monitoring
  • Maintaining effectiveness of chemicals by delaying resistance
  • Encouraging natural enemies to help manage pests
  • Development of a more robust cropping system since it doesn't rely on one control method
  • Saving money while producing a high quality product

What is needed for IPM to work?

Successful IPM requires growers and their consultants to have knowledge of key components in the field that will guide sound decisions and forecasts.

These include:

  • Accurate pest and natural enemy identification
  • Understanding of pest lifecycle, biology and ecology
  • Understanding the effects of pest damage on crop quality
  • Knowing how different pest control measures will affect the pests and natural enemies.

Where to find more information

Websites (external links)

Books & Guides

  • Field Guide to Pests, Diseases and Disorders of Vegetable Brassicas
  • CD: Integrated Pest Management for Brassicas

Both the Field Guide and the CD can be ordered through:

Crop Health Services Bookshop
Agriculture Victoria
Phone 03 9210 9356
Fax 03 9887 3166

More Diamondback Moth Information

Description and enemies
Crop monitoring
Impact of insecticides chart
Insecticide resistance management
Diamondback Moth Newsletters
Useful websites