Integrated pest management (IPM) has the goal of combining several control methods that reduce populations of pest insects and their damage to tolerable levels and thereby reduce the use of costly pesticides that may harm the environment. Insect populations can be monitored during the season to determine when the densities exceed an economic threshold that requires treatment, often as an insecticide application. We developed a simulation model where insect populations varied in exponential growth in fields and dispersed to adjacent fields each day of a season. The first model monitored populations of individual fields in a grid of fields and treated any field with insecticide if it exceeded a threshold population (asynchronous model) as done in traditional IPM. The second model treated the entire grid of fields with insecticide when the average population of all fields exceeded the threshold (synchronous model). We found that the synchronous model at all growth and dispersal rates tested had average field populations during a season that were significantly lower and required fewer treatments than the asynchronous method. Parameters such as percentage of fallow fields, number of fields, and treatment threshold had little affect on relative differences between the two models. The simulations indicate that cooperation among growers in areawide monitoring of fields to obtain an average population estimate for use in treatment thresholds would result in significantly less insect damage and fewer insecticide treatments. The synchronous method is more efficient because population refugia are precluded from which dispersal could reintroduce insects.
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Vol. 98 • No. 6