San Juan Capistrano, CA Integrated Pest Management Policy

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San Juan Capistrano, CA, US

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Type: Policy

Status: In effect

Source File:


To protect public health and the environment, the City of San Juan Capistranouses integrated pest management (IPM) on all City property. YOU CAN TOO!

Integrated pest management is the blending of all effective, economical, and environmentally sound pest control methods into a single but flexible approach to manage pest populations within acceptable limits. Those who practice IPM take the first step by deciding on the nature and the source of the pest problem. They can rely on a range of preventive and treatment strategies which can be cultural, physical, mechanical, or biological. Only the least-toxic chemical pesticides should be used, as a last resort.

An IPM Program contains the following Key Components:

  • Identification. Identify the pest and/or the problem.
  • Monitoring & Recordkeeping. Observe the plants, or site, for potential pest problems at regular intervals. Keep records of what is seen, decisions made, actions taken, and results.
  • Establish Tolerance Levels. Determine when the pest problem is likely to become serious enough to require some action.
  • Least-Toxic Treatments. In an IPM program, the object of treatment is to suppress pest populations below their injury level, but not to eradicate them. Select control strategies that are easy to carry out effectively, long-lasting, and least disruptive to the environment.
  • Evaluation. Inspect after treatment action has been taken. Write down what you learn. Has the treatment been effective? How can the whole process be improved to achieve the overall objectives of the program?

Treatment Strategies

Cultural Controls. Many cultural practices can reduce pests by making their environment less favorable. Here are a few examples:

  • Sanitation is one of the most important steps in pest management. Every pest found in the home, garden, or office represents a breakdown of sanitation procedures. Proper disposal of garbage, clearing up clutter in offices and basements, and removing weeds in gardens all contribute to removing food and shelter for pests.
  • In the garden, crop rotation replaces a crop that is susceptible to a serious pest with another crop that is not susceptible, on a rotating basis.

Physical Controls. Several practices physically keep insect pests from places where they're not wanted.

  • Barriers, such as window screens, will help exclude health and nuisance pests like flies, mosquitoes, and aphids from buildings and greenhouses.
  • Various traps can be used to catch a variety of pests, including cockroaches, ants, and mice.

Mechanical Controls. Mechanical controls are direct measures that either kill the pest or make the environment unsuitable for their entry, dispersal, or survival.

  • Cultivation or tillage exposes many soil insects to drying out or being eaten by birds and predatory insects.
  • Hand-picking can be used to get rid of snails and slugs, caterpillars, and tomato hornworms.
  • A strong spray of water will dislodge aphids and mites from plants in the green house and garden, and from houseplants.

Biological Controls. Virtually all species, including all types of pests, have natural enemies. The most common ones are predators and parasites.

  • Predators, such as ladybugs and lacewings, feed on aphids, caterpillars, and beetle larvae.
  • Parasites such as mini-wasps and flies are important in the fight against aphids, scale insects, and whiteflies.

Chemical Controls. Only the least-toxic chemicals should be used for controlling pests. If they are used, be sure to read the instructions carefully and wear appropriate protective equipment and clothing.

  • Chemical pesticides should only be used when less dangerous methods and techniques have failed to manage the pest.
  • Chemcial pesticides should be used for spot treatments rather than for broadcast applications. (Spot treating means treating only the specific problem plants, rather than broadcasting chemicals over a large area.)
  • Choose chemical pesticides that are selective and apply them only when the pest is present and at a susceptible stage.