What is Integrated Pest Managment (IPM)?
Originally Integrated Pest Management (IPM) was created by those wishing to use natural methods, biological controls and culture methods as the first line of choice for handling weed and insect problems. However, a clear definition was never arrived at for what was meant to say one is following an IPM approach. Those who wished to rely on pesticide use often continued their dependence on chemicals while claiming they were following IPM.
Since the advent of pesticide bylaw movement in Canada, the landscape industry has more or less co-opted the concept of IPM and talked a good deal about sustainable methods, and healthy soils and distributed glossy pictures of green gardens, all the while advocating a continued reliance on chemicals and lobbying for policies that allow landscapers to use pesticides whenever they choose to.
Fox in charge of the henhouse with IPM accredited Lawn Care Operators (LCO)s
One industry expert with over 30 years involvement in the pesticide and fertilizer industries both in Canada and the US pointed out to City Council in London, Ontario that:
"LCOs [Lawn Care Operators] will not be scouting lawns - they need to get paid for every stop! Lawn care IPM is not prevention. Also, usually 1 person within the company gets the IPM accreditation which allows them to put the stickers on all their trucks - but the applicators are not necessarily accredited! IPM creates a book-keeping exercise and you must show a decrease in chemical usage year to year to maintain this accreditation. This means that LCOs who now do not use synthetic pesticides in their operation cannot be IPM accredited! A problem system.
The Ontario IPM committee is made up of all chemical companies with NO interest in applying preventative practices to the turf industry which would result in reduced sales. Having IPM accredited LCOs make your spray decisions is like having the fox in charge of the henhouse. LCOs will not go out of business."
For more on the above quote, click here:
Many in the community feel it is critically important to keep industrys IPM initiatives out of Canadian pesticide bylaws and opt for pesticide-free bylaws for the following reasons:
IPM relies on pesticides. Incorporating it in our bylaw will weaken the bylaws ability to protect public health.
Under IPM, the use of pesticides can actually increase rather than decrease.
Better and more consistent sustainable methods already exist and are readily available from knowledgeable organic landscape consultants. (e.g., see http://versicolor.ca/lawns )
Industry appears to be eager to inform other municipalities contemplating bylaws whenever existing bylaws have been weakened by IPM.
If your goal is a pesticide-free community, avoid building Integrated Pest Management (IPM) into your pesticide-free bylaw.
For the Top Ten Reasons Why IPM Doesn't Work, please click here.
Spring is a time of rejuvenation and rebirth, but it also has a darker side. It's the start of pesticide season in Canada. Every spring, people across the country purchase vast quantities of toxic chemicals and spray them on lawns and gardens to remove undesired insects and weeds like pesky dandelions. In Canada alone, sales of insecticides, herbicides and fungicides top $1-billion annually.
Considering the unnecessary added risk many of these chemicals pose to us and our ecosystems, a few dandelions on the lawn may not be so bad after all.