Welcome to the Texas IPM Foundation.

Urban Life

Austin, Texas  
Downtown: Austin, Texas.  

You don't have to live in the country to understand the impact of plant and insect pests on our daily lives. Urban areas can be infested by such pests as mosquitoes, flies, termites, fire ants, spiders and stinging wasps. Our urban parks may have poison oak or poison ivy. And various weeds invade our yards and landscapes each year.

The principles of IPM are just as important in our cities as they are in the rural countryside. By using the right mix of available IPM tools, we are able to control unwanted plant and insect pests without compromising the safety of our environment.

Mosquitoes are responsible for the spreading of many illnesses. They can be attacked with several tools from the IPM tool box, and there are cultural alternatives available to combat the pest. Drain areas where water may accumulate and stay stagnant for a period time. Drain pet dishes and landscape ponds frequently, and refill with clean water. Mosquitoes need standing water to breed and multiply. Pesticides can be used to augment cultural practices when needed. Reducing the number of mosquitoes through cultural methods means that we will not have to rely as heavily upon chemical pesticides for their control.

Termites can destroy a wood frame house over a relatively short period of time. In addition to having your home inspected on a routine basis by a licensed exterminator, there are things you can do to help protect your home from termites. For instance, in those homes where there are wood burning fireplaces, be sure you store firewood away from the house, and try to use all your available wood during the season. Restock your wood just prior to the fall and as cold weather approaches.

  Texas two-step.
  Fire ants bugging you? Learn how IPM can help rid you of this pesky pest.

The fire ant is an invasive species that inflicts painful stings upon their victims. An invasive species defined as “an alien species whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health…‘Alien species’ means, with respect to a particular ecosystem, any species…that is not native to that ecosystem.”

The impact of red imported fire ants in the state of Texas is estimated to be $1.2 billion annually. Red imported fire ants are pests of urban, agricultural and wildlife areas and can pose a serious health threat to plants and animals. The goal of the Texas Imported Fire Ant Research and Management Project is to find effective methods to eliminate this invasive species as a major economic and medical pest. The Texas AgriLife Extension Service has developed a simple tow-step method for the control of fire ants in urban yards. The concept is based on sound IPM principles.

Herbicides and fertilizers should be applied only at the rate and times indicated on the label. Using more chemical than is needed is costly, inefficient and poses additional risks to the environment.

For additional information upon how you can implement IPM in your home, lawn or garden, contact your local county AgriLife Extension Agent. The Texas IPM Foundation cooperates the the Texas Structural Pest Control Association and AgriLife Extension in helping to fund research and education for IPM implementation to address urban pest problems.

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Texas IPM Foundation, Inc.
Lubbock, Texas