Fifty Years of the Integrated Control Concept: Moving the Model and Implementation Forward in Arizona

Pest Manag Sci. 2009 Dec;65(12):1267-86. doi: 10.1002/ps.1861.


Fifty years ago, Stern, Smith, van den Bosch and Hagen outlined a simple but sophisticated idea of pest control predicated on the complementary action of chemical and biological control. This integrated control concept has since been a driving force and conceptual foundation for all integrated pest management (IPM) programs. The four basic elements include thresholds for determining the need for control, sampling to determine critical densities, understanding and conserving the biological control capacity in the system and the use of selective insecticides or selective application methods, when needed, to augment biological control. Here we detail the development, evolution, validation and implementation of an integrated control (IC) program for whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Genn.), in the Arizona cotton system that provides a rare example of the vision of Stern and his colleagues. Economic thresholds derived from research-based economic injury levels were developed and integrated with rapid and accurate sampling plans into validated decision tools widely adopted by consultants and growers. Extensive research that measured the interplay among pest population dynamics, biological control by indigenous natural enemies and selective insecticides using community ordination methods, predator:prey ratios, predator exclusion and demography validated the critical complementary roles played by chemical and biological control. The term 'bioresidual' was coined to describe the extended environmental resistance from biological control and other forces possible when selective insecticides are deployed. The tangible benefits have been a 70% reduction in foliar insecticides, a >$200 million saving in control costs and yield, along with enhanced utilization of ecosystem services over the last 14 years.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arizona
  • Ecosystem
  • Hemiptera* / drug effects
  • Hemiptera* / physiology
  • History, 20th Century
  • Insecticides / economics
  • Insecticides / history
  • Insecticides / pharmacology
  • Models, Biological
  • Pest Control / economics
  • Pest Control / history*
  • Pest Control / methods*
  • Pest Control, Biological / history
  • Population Dynamics


  • Insecticides