Integrated Pest Management




Dr. Jaime Pinero,,  (413) 545-1031

Research interests: Integrated Pest Management, Insect Sensory Ecology (focus: vision and olfaction), Insect-Plant Interactions, Insect Behavior, Biological Control.

Class Description

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course will deal with the theory and application of principles of arthropod, disease, and weed pest management, with emphasis on insects. Major focus will be on pest prevention and identification, life cycles, economic impact, sampling strategies, pest-control decision processes and management tactics, including biological, behavioral, cultural, plant resistance, and pesticidal approaches to control.

Students will learn that IPM is the basis (and a requirement) for organic agriculture. Ways in which IPM protects pollinators and other beneficial arthropods thereby enhancing biological pest control via farmscaping will be discussed.

This course includes hands-on activities to promote experiential-based e-Learning.  Students will receive  an ‘IPM kit’ by mail, containing insect identification guide, magnifier, sticky cards, and other materials that students can use to implement IPM at their farms or home gardens.

Course Objectives

1. Recognize the importance of Integrated Pest Management both within and outside the US

2. Identify causes and symptoms of common plant and animal diseases

3. Understand the importance of pest identification, action thresholds, and pest monitoring tools and techniques

4. Learn about the biology and management options for pest arthropods, weeds, and plant pathogens

5. Identify the components of a state-of-the art IPM program including biological control, behavioral control, physical and cultural control, host plant resistance

6. Understand the importance of ecologically-based IPM and conservation of pollinators and other beneficial organisms

7. Learn concepts of pest eradication and area-wide IPM

8. Analyze specific crop / pest scenarios and evaluate the best IPM strategies that can be implemented

Course Format

The course will be offered online through PowerPoint presentations, videos, hands-on activities (to be conducted at students’ own pace) and online discussions.

Course Requirements

Readings. There is no assigned text for this course. For reading assignments and discussion sessions, PDF copies of articles will be provided. All lectures will be made available in PDF in advance of each class. Each student is expected to take good lecture notes and to complete all reading assignments. Topics covered in lectures but not covered or covered superficially in the assigned readings or handouts are fair game for examination material. Some of the reading assignments may not be fully discussed in the classroom but the student is still responsible for being familiar with those readings.

Exams: The class has two midterm exams (100 points each) and one final exam (100 points). Exams will not be cumulative, so questions will be based solely on material covered since the previous exam.

Question formats will include a combination of (1) true/false, (2) written definitions, (3) multiple choice, (4) matching), (5) short answer, and (6) fill in the blank. For the final exam, a list of essay questions will be handed out one week before the exam, and one or two essay questions will be selected from this list.

Quizzes. Throughout the course, there will be 12 weekly quizzes. Each quiz will be worth 10 points, for a total of 120 quiz points.

Forum sessions. There will be four discussions sessions (on weeks 3, 6, 9, and 12). All forums will be based on relevant IPM-related articles. Each forum will be worth 25 points.

Assignments. There will be six assignments (one every other week), each worth 25 points.  The first three assignments will be made immediately available to students. The remaining three assignments will be accessible after each student has taken the mid-term exam. Assignments will involve actual hands-on activities, some of them to be conducted in the field. A couple of assignments will involve processing actual research data collected from field and laboratory experiments by the instructor. One assignment will involve the recording of a short IPM video.

Insect collection. Each student will submit an insect collection with a minimum of 5 insect species (10 points per insect = 50 points) representing 5 different orders. Each specimen should be identified to the order level and at least one specimen ought to be identified at the SPECIES level.  Instructions about what to collect, as well as collection and pinning procedures will be given during week 1. Pinning materials will be mailed to each student. Collection grade will be based on the number of specimens identified correctly to the Order level and the quality of curation (condition of specimens, collection data and correct label format).

For students who are unable or unwilling to collect and process insects for the collection, an alternative assignment will be discussed and implemented.

Other Course Policies

Services for Students with Disabilities. UMass is committed to providing equal opportunities to persons with disabilities in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. 

Plagiarism and cheating. This course adheres to the University policies for undergraduate rights and responsibilities listed in the Student Conduct Code, Article II: Prescribed Conduct, concerning (but not limited to) academic dishonesty and disruption or obstruction of teaching.

Sexual harassment. This online class is committed to upholding a policy prohibiting sexual harassment and this behavior will not be tolerated or condoned in any form between students and/or student/instructor. Violation of this policy may be grounds for class dismissal, or grade reduction. All matters involving sexual harassment complaints are taken seriously and will be investigated. If you feel you have been subjected to sexual harassment and need information about what to do, contact me immediately. Complaints will remain confidential to the extent possible.

Missed work policy. Students with excused absences for missing an exam will be provided an opportunity to make up the exam as stated in the University Academic Regulations guidelines

Weekly Content

Week 1: Pests and their Impacts

  • What is a pest?
  • Pest categories
  • Careers in entomology and pest management
  • Information on how to prepare an insect collection
  • Quiz #1

Week 2: Ecosystem Biodiversity and Insect Ecology

  • IPM is ecology in action
  • Basic versus applied ecology
  • Ecosystem services
  • Quiz #2

Week 3: Insect Sensory Systems and Applications for Pest Management

  • Visual and chemical ecology
  • Behavioral pest control
  • Attract-and-kill systems
  • Quiz #3
  • FORUM #1

Week 4: Integrated Pest Management: Basic Concepts

  • Insect identification
  • Monitoring techniques
  • Quiz #4
  • FIRST EXAM (includes materials covered in weeks 1-3)

Week 5: Pest management decisions

  • Sampling techniques
  • Economic thresholds
  • Quiz #5

Week 6: Cultural controls

  • Trap cropping systems
  • Cover crops, intercropping
  • Sanitation, and other cultural practices
  • Quiz #6
  • FORUM #2

Week 7: Biological control

  • Principles of biological control
  • Classical, conservation, and augmentation biological control
  • Promoting natural enemies on farms
  • Examples of successful biocontrol programs
  • Entomopathogenic nematodes and fungi
  • Quiz #7

Week 8: Insecticides and their Impact

  • History and impact of pesticides
  • Overview of commonly used pesticides
  • Quiz #8
  • SECOND EXAM (includes materials covered in weeks 4-7)

Week 9: Bio-pesticides and Organic Pest Management

  • Organic agriculture and IPM: Working together for sustainability.
  • Both IPM and organic methods for pest management address environmental and human health concerns
  • Biopesticides
  • Organically-approved materials
  • Quiz #9
  • FORUM #3

Week 10: Plant Resistance to Insects and Pest Resistance to Pesticides

  • Host Plant Resistance and genetic manipulations
  • Resistance, Resurgence, and Replacement
  • Quiz #10

Week 11: Farmscaping, IPM, and Native Pollinator Conservation

  • Habitat manipulation
  • Farmscaping and its benefits for biological pest control
  • Insectary plants
  • Quiz #11

Week 12: Basics of Weed and Disease Management

  • Life systems of plant pathogens
  • Weather-based spray advisory systems for disease control
  • Principles of weed classification and management
  • Quiz #12
  • FORUM #4
  • FINAL EXAM (includes materials covered in weeks 7-12)
  • Insect collection (or alternative assignment, as arranged with the students) due


  2 Mid-term lecture exams (100 points each) 200
12 Quizzes (10 points each)  120
  4 Forums (25 points each) 100  
  6 Assignments (25 points each)150
      Insect collection with at least 5 specimens50
      Final exam100
                                                                                                                   TOTAL  720
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