Integrated Pest Management

Pollinator butterfly—Photo credit: MG Gia Parsons   

Photos by MGs Gia Parsons and Heidi McKibbin (adult ladybug)

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

How can you identify bad bugs versus beneficial ones? Nature is full of “good bugs” — flying and crawling creatures whose diet includes pests that ravage our precious food plants. Learn to identify these beneficial insects and attract them to your garden with plants like spearmint, feverfew, fennel, and parsley. We don’t want to mistake the good guys for the thug bugs. Ladybug larvae may look ugly (large bug in middle photo above), but they eat even more pests than the adults (right photo above). This class covers good pollinator and predatory insects, crop-damaging bad bugs, crop diseases, and crop rotation. Below are resources to enhance your learning.

  • Beneficial Insects, Spiders, and Other Mini-Creatures in Your Garden — WSU Extension Publication EM067EE, a free 20-page download PDF, has numerous color photos of beneficial predatory bugs, with brief descriptions of their habits and life cycles.
  • Pacific Northwest Pest Management Handbooks are Pacific Northwest Extension Publications put together by Washington State University, Oregon State University, and University of Idaho. They include online handbooks for identifying and managing insects and plant diseases. A Quick Find feature allows users to type in the plant name to find a list of diseases or insects that impact it. You will find a description of the disease/insect as well as photos for positive identification, symptoms, and cultural as well as chemical controls.
  • Pollination and Protecting Bees and Other Pollinators  — WSU Extension Publication FS174E,a free 9-page download PDF covers the mechanics of pollination, the decline in honey bee populations, and ways to reduce pesticide hazards for bees.
  • Washington Bumble Bees in Home Yards & Gardens — WSU Extension Publication FS263E, a free 8-page download PDF, helps readers recognize bumble bees, understand their general life cycle, and suggest things people can do to encourage these beneficial insects.
  • Lady Beetles: Should We Buy Them for our Gardens?  — WSU Extension Publication FS268E, a free 6-page download PDF, discusses the drawbacks to using purchased lady beetles and suggests some alternatives for attracting and retaining local species.
  • Pest Control in Home Vegetable Gardens — WSU Extension Publication EM009E, a free 7-page online publication, provides a list of vegetables, their common pests and registered pesticides, with cautions about environmental protection.
  • Row Covers  — WSU Snohomish County Extension, Community Horticulture Fact Sheet #19, is a 2-page online publication describing the confirmed benefits of row covers.
  • How to Install a Floating Row Cover — WSU Extension Publication FS089E, a free 3-page download PDF, describes the different types of row covers, how they protect crops, and how to install them.
  • Using Crop Rotation in Home Vegetable Gardens — WSU Snohomish County Extension’s free online publication that lists vegetable plant family classifications, explains crop rotation and why it is important, and shows a crop rotation plan for home gardens.



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