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Backyard Pests0

Sometimes it’s tough to enjoy your own backyard amidst the wildlife that wanders into it. This includes everything from slugs and beetles to your neighbor’s exuberant mutt.

Integrated pest management (IPM) is a comprehensive strategy that incorporates a full range of methods for controlling pests in a cost-efficient and environmentally safe manner. IPM is most often used as an entire pest management program in production agriculture but some of the principles are applicable to the homeowner’s backyard, as well.

Mechanical controls can be used to prevent or reduce infestations of pests. An example of this is hand picking slugs off your prized hosta leaves. Or using netting to keep birds off your nicely ripening, plump blueberries. Then there’s the fence you put up to keep ranging deer out of your vegetable patch. All of these will help lessen the detrimental impact insects and animals can inflict on your yard.

Cultural controls are another strategy to help fend off unwanted visitors to your yard. Rotating where you plant certain vegetable crops will break a cycle of soil-borne diseases. Destroying diseased plants properly will prevent diseases from spreading around the garden. Varying the time of planting certain vegetables will limit their exposure to particular insects that are likely to infest the crop at a specific time in the growing season.

What you do about your neighbor’s dog is up to you though. I don’t think they’re addressed in the IPM literature.

text and photos by Ann D. Travers

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