Starting Early on IPM for the Season

Posted: May 1, 2013

Late winter and the promise of spring brings with it the beginning of new growth. That includes bugs and rodents on the farm. Depending on how well you ventilated during the winter, conditions could be right for a bug bloom of epic proportions that may not be seen until you pull manure or litter out of your housing. The method of integrated pest management or IPM can help reduce the impact of the first few weeks of spring and certainly prior to manure movement from the farm.

A walk through the pit or litter storage will tell a lot about where you stand with house flies. As flies hatch, they climb walls and posts to dry their wings. You will see them clustered about two feet off the ground. If you walk manure storage as much as I do, you begin to pick up color variations in the manure that forms a clue that fly breeding is taking place. If you find wet areas that look like dark coffee grounds, treat these areas with a growth inhibitor. Use a surface fly spray and spray posts and walls only with a residual spray to help knock down any emerging adults. As with any chemical, follow all label instructions and precautions. Bait in areas were possible with a light dusting of fly bait where adults are found.
Moisture in the manure plays a pivotal role in fly management. The dryer the manure, the lower the chance for house fly breeding. With cold dry air entering the house, it is actually easier for the air to absorb water than the wetter warm air in the building. Be sure to run house fans to help remove this wet air as soon as it warms up. Also, check equipment to keep water leaks from wetting the manure.
Mice become more active as the days become longer and the weather warms. Keeping grass and vegetation low around the house is important. Replenish rock beds around the house foundations to at least three feet away from the walls. Ensure bait stations are filled around the house, and keep filling stations more frequently if you happen to find an empty station. With open housing (e.g. organic), it is important to have traps set near building doors to prevent mice from getting in during open door periods.
By following proper IPM protocols and controlling house moisture, spring will be something everyone can enjoy.

Dr. Gregory Martin is the Penn State Cooperative Extension Educator for Poultry serving Adams County and the commonwealth.  Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce.  Penn State Extension in Adams County is located at 670 Old Harrisburg Road, Suite 204, Gettysburg, PA  17325, phone 717-334-6271 or 1-888-472-0261, e-mail