Pest and Pesticide Management

Principles and practices

The following are general principles for using integrated pest management in the design of programmes:

1.  Use an ecosystem approach to prevent and or/suppress harmful organisms and anticipate potential pest problems. To reduce crops losses, control strategies   should take advantage of beneficial species of pest predators, parasites and competitors.  The production system should use, for example: 

  • a diverse range of pest-resistant crop varieties
  • crop rotations
  • intercropping
  • optimized planting times
  • weed management (minimum tillage)
  • field sanitation and hygiene methods (remove affected plant or plant parts)

2.   Undertake contingency planning when credible evidence of a significant pest threat emerges. Use pesticides only when no other effective alternatives are available. Contingency planning includes:

  • Investing in seed systems to support deployment of resistant varieties
  • Identifying selective pesticides with adequate regulatory supervision

3.   Analyse the nature of the cause of the pest outbreaks when problems occur, and develop strategies accordingly. This includes:

  • modifying current practices with priority given to sustainable, biological and physical, provided that they supply satisfactory pest control
  • identifying methods of biological control or disease suppression
  • determining if pest control campaigns or activities should be established

4.  Undertake surveillance to track pest patterns in real time, and adjust response. This includes:

  • undertaking observations in the field where possible, or implementing georeferenced tracking systems
  • establishing warning, forecasting and early diagnosis systems


There is a wide variety of techniques that can be applied under the IPM approach. Applicability of individual techniques depends on various factors, including: crop type, cropping system, pest complex, climatic and agro-ecological conditions, etc.

Generally, more than one technique is applied. Some examples of such techniques include:

Monitor pest population

  • Trapping (e.g. pheromone trapping, sticky traps, water traps)
  • Counting eggs, larva/nymphal instars, pupae, adults (sweep nets) etc.

Prevent buildup of pests or decrease their pest status

  • Pest-resistant or highly competitive crop varieties
  • Field sanitation, use of quality seeds and seed bed sanitation
  • Crop rotation
  • Inter-cropping
  • Management of sowing, planting or harvesting dates
  • Water/irrigation management
  • Soil and nutrient management (including mulching, zero/low tillage, fertilizer management, proper irrigation)
  • Hand-picking of pests or hand-weeding
  • Traps or trap crops
  • Mechanical/physical controls (including barriers, crushing devices and use of heat)
  • Post-harvest loss prevention

Manage pest populations using biological inputs
(Biological pest control agents are naturally occurring agents that are distinguished from conventional chemical pesticides by their unique modes of action, low use volume, and target species specificity.)

  • Biological control through release of predators, parasites or pathogens
  • Biological control through fish, ducks, geese, goats, etc.
  • Release of sterile male insects
  • Bio-pesticides
  • Biological preparations (e.g. natural plant extracts)

Manage pest populations using chemical inputs 

  • Chemicals that disrupt insect behavior (e.g.: pheromones)
  • Induced resistance activating compounds
  • Growth-regulators
  • Conventional pesticides