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About Us House Fly head

History of IPM Florida


This Web site will help link Florida's research, extension, teaching, regulatory, administrative, and clientele communities involved in integrated pest management (IPM) and biological control (BC), regardless of their employing institution, geographical location or area of activity, i.e., agriculture, natural resources, and urban environments. This IPM-BC web site also provides a point of contact for linking Florida within the region, across the U.S., and throughout the world. It is justified because Florida has a major, ongoing investment in IPM and its base BC strategy. However, most of the work is accomplished by individuals who develop and pursue independent projects, rather than by coordinated, multidisciplinary and multi-organizational teams. This fragmentation has limited the visibility, financial support and effectiveness of IPM and BC in Florida, particularly highly promising large-scale projects. As a result, potentially valuable IPM and BC research projects are often delayed, reduced to a very limited scale, or not undertaken. Associated extension programs consequently lack the demonstration projects necessary to implement new, reliable, cost-effective IPM and BC technologies. Educational efforts similarly are forced to rely on concepts and historical examples, without the benefit of very stimulating contemporary successes.

The Web site is designed to assist extension specialists, county extension faculty, master gardeners, master naturalists, receptive producers and land managers, and urban constituents with the education and training process by making information on new pest management technologies more accessible. To develop site-specific IPM and BC technologies more rapidly, and encourage their adoption at the local or grassroots level is a major challenge facing Florida. These technologies are needed because of increasing concerns about environmental contamination, food safety, and human and animal health resulting from the indiscriminate use, and often misuse, of pesticides in Florida. Additionally, chemical pesticides have become too expensive for use in many cropping systems and ineffective in others, particularly if there are outbreaks of non-indigenous or secondary pests. The cost of purchasing and applying pesticides has escalated, new worker protection laws have extended reentry periods, pesticide registrations are becoming more limited, phytotoxicity destroys crops, target species are evolving resistance to pesticides, and unacceptable non-target effects are more detectable than in the past. By accelerating the development and implementation of alternative technologies, we can maximize current and emerging agricultural productivity in an increasingly competitive global market, protect Florida's fragile ecosystems, conserve our natural resources, and assure environmental safety.

TickWe combined IPM and BC at this Web site because biological control is practiced within the context of IPM. IPM is an ecologically based approach to pest prevention and elimination that depends on natural controls, pest exclusion, and chemical pesticides, as needed. Natural controls include crop management, weather, host resistance, and the use of biological control agents. R. Smith and R. van den Bosch defined IPM (Integrated Control) as the use of "all suitable techniques either to reduce pest populations and maintain them at levels below those causing economic injury or to so manipulate the populations that they are prevented from causing such injury." We can make maximal use of natural controls by understanding the limitations and liabilities of pesticides, determining economic injury thresholds for priority crops, scouting and maintaining surveillance to determine pest status, developing and implementing precision technologies for using pesticides, and increasing the availability and use of natural controls, emphasizing BC. BC is the use of living predators, parasites, pathogens, antagonists and competitors to reduce the damage caused by pest populations.

Immediate Objectives of the Florida IPM-BC Program

Determine needs and opportunities for IPM-BC in Florida

  • Identify key crops, commodities, pests and natural enemies
  • Develop shared objectives for rapid progress
  • Increase financial support for IPM and BC research and education
  • Survey Florida for systems that can advance IPM and BC
  • Describe successful IPM and BC projects in Florida
  • Submit the CSREES IPM 5-year plan
  • Interface the UF/IFAS, IPM-BC program with the Florida First Initiative

Foster interdisciplinary collaboration in IPM-BC

  • Establish coalitions of entomologists, plant pathologists, weed scientists and others
  • Facilitate partnerships among colleagues focused on IPM-BC, including user groups
  • Enhance research projects to derive efficacy data
  • Build institutional partnerships to increase efficiency and effectiveness
  • Institute a competitive IPM-BC mini-grants program

Enhance IPM-BC communication

  • Identify expertise in specific crops, commodities, pests and natural enemies
  • Establish a responsive IPM-BC office
  • Develop and maintain an IPM-BC Web site
  • Establish an advisory committee and conduct semi-annual meetings
  • Maintain state, regional, national and international IPM linkages

Increase the delivery of IPM-BC

  • Emphasize county extension programs
  • Incorporate IPM and BC options into the pest management guides
  • Collaborate with authors to publish IPM and BC information
  • Advance commercial IPM and BC in Florida
  • Enhance teaching of IPM and BC


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