Integrated Pest Management

Okanagan College follows a four-tiered approach to integrated pest management. (see below)

This is executed in conjunction with our horticultural partners and as a result, we use virtually NO harmful herbicides or pesticides.

All campuses are located within the greater Thompson Okanagan Region of the Southern Interior of British Columbia. All plants, shrubs and trees are purchased according to their compatability to hardiness zones 44a, 5a 5b & 6a. Preference is given to native plants and drought tolerant species. The college works closely with the city and regional districts in monitoring seasonal infestations. Having adjoining green space it is important all neighbors work collectively to manage common pests.
Prior to 2005 it became very evident, especially on school/college properties that the public were ready to accept broadleaf weeds in the lawns in exchange for the removal from use of chemical herbicides. Turf areas are treated with granular corn gluten for annual seed germination suppression. Alfalfa – maize 5-1-5 and sea kelp extract are used as fertilizers. “Zeba” a moisture retention product is used in planters and overly arrid areas. In conjunction with sunshine, horticultural vinegar is used to control weeds in paved areas. Additionally annual aeriation and top dressing using organic mulch help to sustain the turfed areas. Trees are monitored by the certified arborists from the two companies listed.
In 2007 a specimen tree value report was compiled. At that time the total value of the trees at the college campus locations was a staggering $1,752,760. It is important to maintain such a growing investment. The spring of 2010 saw an infestation of aphids populating the maple trees this was treated using water sprays where feasible and ladybugs on the trees in the courtyard.

4 Tiered IPM Approach

Set Action Thresholds – Before taking any pest control action, IPM first sets an action threshold, a point at which pest populations or environmental conditions indicate that pest control action must be taken. Sighting a single pest does not always mean control is needed. The level at which pests will become an economic threat is critical to guide future pest control decisions.  

Monitor and Identify Pests – Not all insects, weeds, and other living organisms require control. Many organisms are innocuous, and some are even beneficial. IPM programs work to monitor for pests and identify them accurately, so that appropriate control decisions can be made in conjunction with action thresholds. This monitoring and identification removes the possibility that pesticides will be used when they are not really needed or that the wrong kind of pesticide will be used.  

Prevention – As a first line of pest control, IPM programs work to manage the crop, lawn, or indoor space to prevent pests from becoming a threat. In an agricultural crop, this may mean using cultural methods, such as rotating between different crops, selecting pest-resistant varieties, and planting pest-free rootstock. These control methods can be very effective and cost-efficient and present little to no risk to people or the environment.  

Control – Once monitoring, identification, and action thresholds indicate that pest control is required, and preventive methods are no longer effective or available, IPM programs then evaluate the proper control method both for effectiveness and risk. Effective, less risky pest controls are chosen first, including highly targeted chemicals, such as pheromones to disrupt pest mating, or mechanical control, such as trapping or weeding. If further monitoring, identifications and action thresholds indicate that less risky controls are not working, then additional pest control methods would be employed, such as targeted spraying of pesticides. Broadcast spraying of non-specific pesticides is a last resort.