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National Roadmap for Integrated Pest Management

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a science-based, decision-making process that identifies and reduces risks from pests and pest management related strategies. IPM coordinates the use of pest biology, environmental information, and available technology to prevent unacceptable levels of pest damage by the most economical means, while minimizing risk to people, property, resources, and the environment. IPM provides an effective strategy for managing pests in all arenas from developed agricultural, residential, and public lands to natural and wilderness areas. IPM provides an effective, all encompassing, low-risk approach to protect resources and people from pests.


Pest management systems are subject to constant change, and must respond to a variety of pressures. Pests may become resistant to chemical pesticides, crop rotation, or trapping methods. Regulatory agencies may restrict or phase out certain pesticides when their risks outweigh benefits. Environmental concerns, consumer demands, and public opinion can significantly influence pest management practices. New and invasive plant, disease, and insect pests arrive on our shores more regularly as global trade and travel increase, and adaptation to climate change is a growing concern for maintaining effective pest management systems. IPM practitioners must strive to implement best management practices, using tools and strategies that work in concert with each other to achieve the desired outcome while posing the least risks. Current and evolving conditions signal the need for the increased development and adoption of IPM practices. The National IPM Road Map serves to make these transitions as efficient as possible.


The goal of the IPM Road Map is to increase nationwide communication and efficiency in IPM practices through information exchanges among federal and non-federal IPM practitioners and service providers including land managers, growers, structural pest managers, and public and wildlife health officials. The IPM Road Map is a living document that will evolve over time, being periodically updated as the science and strategy of IPM evolves, with continuous input from numerous IPM experts, practitioners, and stakeholders.

The Road Map for the National IPM Program identifies strategic directions for IPM research, implementation, and measurement for pests in all settings throughout the Nation. This includes pest management for a broad range of areas including agricultural, structural, ornamental, turf, museums, and all pests including public and wildlife health pests, terrestrial, and aquatic invasive species.


The goal of the National IPM Program is to improve the economic benefits of adopting IPM practices and to reduce risks to human health and the environment caused by the pests themselves or by pest management practices. The components of the goals for IPM are further described below.

IPM originally began in the agricultural arena; however, using knowledge from IPM successes in agricultural settings, federal and state governments have broadened their focus on the interface between pests, pest management, and the human environment, including residential, recreational and institutional facilities and natural wild land areas. Through state and federal cooperation, a successful IPM in Schools program exists. The impact of exotic invasive species in natural environments received national attention and Federal support when Executive Order (EO) 13112 on Invasive Species was signed by President Clinton in 1999. This EO established the National Invasive Species Council to ensure that Federal programs and activities to prevent and control invasive species are coordinated, effective and efficient (see www.invasivespecies.gov). Federal and state agencies are coordinating efforts and developing programs and policies towards this effort. IPM programs are under development at all levels to mitigate the impact of pest organisms. The National IPM Program focuses its efforts in three areas- production agriculture, natural resources, and residential and public areas. At the core of each area lies a requirement for building and maintaining research, education, and extension programs that focus on the priorities of the National IPM Road Map.


Production agriculture

IPM experts, practitioners, and stakeholders expect that systems will be further developed for food, fiber and ornamental crops that harness the full diversity of cost effective pest management tactics, and improve their efficiency and effectiveness. By implementing practices that prevent, avoid, or mitigate pest attack, these IPM systems have reduced negative impacts on the production areas and associated environments by minimizing impairments to, among other areas, water quality. An important priority is the development and implementation of economical, effective, and environmentally sound IPM systems for crops and commodities consumed by humans for food and fiber. Fruits, vegetables and other specialty crops make up a major portion of the human diet and require high labor input for production. IPM programs in these agricultural systems will help maintain high quality produce, and at the same time protect agricultural workers by keeping pesticide exposures within acceptable safety standards. The priority in this area is to develop alternative pest management tactics that have major economic benefits, while also protecting public health, agricultural workers, and the environment.

Natural resources and recreational environments

Our nation’s forests, national parks, wildlife refuges, natural areas and public land resources and ecosystems are under constant pressure from native pests, encroaching non-native invasive species and climate change. Invasive species diminish habitat quality, diversity for wildlife, suitable grazing for livestock, and other uses of public lands and natural areas. Additionally, Americans spend large amounts of leisure time in natural and recreational environments such as lakes, streams, and parks. Greater efforts are required to develop and quantify the impact of IPM programs in these environments. It is critical to protect public health and ecosystem function and minimize adverse environmental effects on natural areas associated with invasive species and the management options available, while maintaining functional and aesthetic standards.

Residential and public areas

The greatest general population exposure to pests and the tactics used to control them occurs where people live, work, attend school, and play. IPM programs for schools and public buildings have already been very successful and are excellent examples of education and implementation programs designed for institutional facilities. Priorities in this area include enhanced collaboration and coordination to expand these programs to other public institutions. Residential/structural environments require different tools and educational materials than schools. Multifamily public housing structures present particular challenges. Expanding IPM programs in these areas would reduce human health risks posed by pests and mitigate the adverse environmental effects of pest management practices. Preventing and controlling bed bug infestations in multifamily and other public housing and other built environments is a high priority.


Improve cost-benefit analyses when adopting IPM Practices

Improving the overall benefits resulting from the adoption of IPM practices is a critical component of the National IPM Program. Conducting a cost-benefit analysis of proposed IPM strategies is not based solely on the monetary costs. It is based on four main parameters: monetary, environmental/ecological health and function, aesthetic benefits, and human health protection.

While there may be many benefits from adoption of IPM practices, if new IPM programs do not appear to be as economically beneficial as practices already in place, they are not likely to be adopted. Risks and benefits also need to be defined and determined. A major factor in the adoption of IPM programs is whether the benefit to humans and the broader natural systems outweighs the cost in implementing an IPM practice. Evaluation of the short- and long-term risks and benefits is needed.

Reduce potential human health risks from pests and related management strategies

IPM plays a major role in human health protection. Public health is dependent upon a continual supply of affordable, high quality food. IPM protects human health through its contribution to food security and safety by reducing potential health risks and enhancing worker safety. IPM also protects human health directly by providing a framework for successful public health protection strategies for disease vectors. Success in reducing the health risks from pest management practices were historically measured by tracking changes in the annual amount of pesticides used in the United States. While pesticide use information is relatively easy to collect in some instances, it is a poor indicator of human health risk when used alone. In other cases (e.g., public health pesticides), such data are lacking. Both situations call for more advanced systems of measurement.

Minimize adverse environmental effects from pests and related management strategies

IPM programs are designed to protect agricultural, urban and natural resource environments from the encroachment of native and non-native pest species while minimizing adverse effects on soil, water, air, and non-target organisms. IPM practices in agriculture promote a healthy crop environment while conserving organisms that are beneficial to those agricultural systems, including pollinators and natural enemies. By reducing off-target impacts, IPM also helps to maximize the positive contributions that agricultural land use can make to watershed health and function. IPM practices are used to suppress invasive species in natural wetlands ecosystems; the non-native invasive purple loosestrife, for example, is managed using a spot application of low risk herbicide application for short-term control in conjunction with the release of biological control agents for long-term management.


In order to continue IPM development and adoption it is critical to enhance investment in: 1) new strategies and tactics for pest management, 2) public and private education infrastructure, and 3) adoption and implementation of IPM.

Research Needs

Research needs in IPM range from basic investigations of pest biology to the development of new pest management strategies. For example, the Federal Bed Bug Strategy will be consulted to identify areas of strategic collaboration, such as creating a mechanism for tracking bed bug infestations across the Nation. The following list illustrates some of the research needs for the National IPM Program:

Technical Development

While there has been dramatic improvement in pest management practices during the last four decades, there continues to be a critical need for new options that provide effective, economical and environmentally sound management of pest populations. A parallel need is to provide science-based information concerning the risks and benefits of IPM to the public. Meeting this need will facilitate support and informed discussion and involvement from stakeholders and consumers who understand the benefits of public investment in IPM programs.


A diverse and evolving pest complex requires a cadre of trained individuals with enhanced management skills that ensure human health and environmental protection. It is important for practitioners to acquire new skills to conduct research and implement IPM strategies using new technologies, including genetic engineering, reduced risk pesticides, cultural practices, and biocontrols.

A Federal Agency IPM Training Program should be implemented. This program would provide state-of-the-art training to Federal IPM Practitioners equipping them with basic IPM principles as well as advanced skills through courses in various technical categories.

Significant effort is also needed for IPM education programs at U.S. universities to ensure training for the next generation of IPM scientists and practitioners.

Implementation and Adoption of IPM

Agricultural producers, natural resource managers, and homeowners must willingly adopt IPM practices for these programs to reach their full potential. Concurrently, the public must have information to fully understand these programs. The following activities will contribute to the adoption of IPM:


Government at the federal and state levels through policies, directives, rules, regulations, and laws is placing high priority on the development and implementation of accountability systems. Such systems are based on performance measurements, including setting goals and objectives and measuring achievement. Accordingly, federally funded IPM program activity performance must be evaluated.

The establishment of measurable IPM goals and the development of methods to measure progress toward achieving the goals should be appropriate to the specific IPM activity undertaken. Performance measures may be conducted on a pilot scale or on a geographic scale and scope that corresponds to an IPM program or activity. Examples of potential performance measures are as follows:

Outcome: The adoption of IPM practices improves economic benefits to users.

Performance Measures:

Outcome: Potential human health risks from pests and the use of pest management practices are reduced.

Performance Measures:

Outcome: Unreasonable adverse environmental effects from pests and the use of pest management practices are reduced.

Performance Measures:


The National IPM Program is a partnership of governmental institutions working with stakeholders on diverse pest management issues. Leadership, management, and coordination of these IPM efforts occur at many levels to more completely address the needs of program stakeholders.

At the federal level, the IPM program is a multi-agency effort that demands coordination and collaboration. The Federal IPM Coordinating Committee will provide oversight of the federally funded programs. This committee will be comprised of representatives from major participating federal agencies and departments. The role of the committee will be to establish overall goals and priorities for the program. To achieve this, the Federal IPM Coordinating Committee will require a dynamic system of information flow and feedback that provides an up to date, accurate assessment of the status of IPM and the evolving requirements of numerous IPM programs. Stakeholder input to the Federal IPM Coordinating Committee will occur through the USDA Regional IPM Centers.

USDA Regional IPM Centers will continue to play a major role in gathering information concerning the status of IPM, and in the development and implementation of an adaptable and responsive National IPM Road Map. These Centers will have a broad, coordinating role for IPM and they will invest resources to enhance the development and adoption of IPM practices.