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Control Mechanisms

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There are three main methods used for control of invasive species -- biological, mechanical, and chemical.

  • Biological control is the intentional manipulation of natural enemies by humans for the purpose of controlling pests.
  • Mechanical control includes mowing, hoeing, cultivation, and hand pulling.
  • Chemical control is the use of herbicides.

You can also use a combination of these three methods in an integrated management approach which some authorities would consider as the fourth method. See Integrated Pest Management (IPM)


Spotlights

USDA. ARS. Tellus.

ARS entomologist is developing microbial pesticides for the effective control of mosquitoes and the pathogens they transmit.

Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme.

This guide explains how natural enemies (typically invertebrates and pathogens from the native home range of the pest) can be used to control serious invasive weeds in the Pacific. The use of natural enemies is the most cost-effective method of controlling widespread weeds in the Pacific. It is particularly important in the Pacific context where local capacity to manage such widespread problems is limited. For more knowledge resources, please visit the Pacific Battler Resource Base.

United States Department of Agriculture.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today the first update since 2013 of the National Road Map for Integrated Pest Management (IPM) (Sep 21, 2018; PDF | 340 KB). Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a science-based, sustainable decision-making process that uses information on pest biology, environmental data, and technology to manage pest damage in a way that minimizes both economic costs and risks to people, property, and the environment.

Cornell University. Agriculture and Life Sciences.
This guide provides photographs and descriptions of biological control (or biocontrol) agents of insect, disease, and weed pests in North America. It is also a tutorial on the concept and practice of biological control and integrated pest management (IPM). Whether you are an educator, a commercial grower, a student, a researcher, a land manager, or an extension or regulatory agent, we hope you will find this information useful.

National Information System for the Regional IPM Centers.

The four Regional Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Centers serve as a hub for multi-state partnerships and communication networks, linking researchers, growers, extension educators, commodity organizations, environmental groups, pest control professionals, government agencies and others. The regions include: Northern IPM Center, Southern IPM Center, North Central IPM Center, and the Western IPM Center.

Funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture to promote IPM, the Centers also coordinate, enhance, and facilitate the flow of resources and information in integrated pest management on a regional basis, including grants management, data acquisition and sharing, infrastructure development, and the documentation needed to provide accountability for resources used. Each regional center focuses on national efforts while maintaining the regional nature required for effective IPM programs.

Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this subject, organized by source. Or, to display all related content view all resources for Control Mechanisms

Council or Task Force
California Invasive Plant Council.
The goal of this report is to capture the current state of knowledge on the use of fire as a tool to manage invasive plants in wildlands. By providing a more thorough source of information on this topic, we hope this review facilitates improved decision making when considering the use of prescribed burning for the management of invasive plants.
Partnership

University of Alaska - Fairbanks. Cooperative Extension Service.

The Alaska IPM program (AK IPM) addresses the public need for pest management education within the state.

University of Alaska - Fairbanks. Cooperative Extension Service.

The Alaska Integrated Pest Management program wants to recruit YOU as a Citizen Scientist. Our goal is to educate individuals who enjoy observing the natural world and are curious about learning more about what they see. The more citizen scientists looking for insect, plant and disease organisms throughout our state, the better informed we are on current issues that may impact our environment, natural resources and food supply.

Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel.
Contains a compilation of known control methods for selected aquatic and wetland nuisance species.

USDA. ARS. Integrated Weed Management Resource Center.

The Integrated Weed Management (IWM) Resource Center is a place to find helpful, trustworthy resources on using integrated weed management for herbicide resistant weeds. Provides a clearinghouse of reliable educational resources necessary to integrate new weed management practices successfully, from trusted sources throughout the U.S.
See also: Explore questions and answers

University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

DOI. U.S. Geological Survey; Great Lakes Commission; DOC. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Great Lakes Fishery Commission.
Invasive zebra and quagga mussels alter ecosystem dynamics and affect industrial, municipal, and recreational water users. The negative impacts of these dreissenid mussels drove scientists to search for effective control methods beginning in the early 1990s. Since then, researchers have uncovered various control methods, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Both chemical and physical treatments have been developed and used by state and federal agencies in the control of zebra mussels.
Midwest Invasive Plant Network.
Provides information on how to control many invasive plants common to the Midwestern U.S. Information was collected from both scientific literature and expert opinions and summarized by the Midwest Invasive Plant Network (MIPN), in partnership with the Mark Renz lab from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
University of Connecticut. Connecticut Invasive Plant Working Group.
This guide is intended to assist with identification of invasive plants and provide information on controlling these problem plants. Included are both non-chemical means of control as well as information on proper use of herbicides where chemical controls are needed. The choice of control measure depends on the size and nature of the infestation. If dealt with early enough, invasive plant problems can often be eliminated by non-chemical methods. However, a herbicide-based approach may be required to control an infestation that has become well established or widespread.
University of Georgia. Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.

National Information System for the Regional IPM Centers.

Provides a searchable database for various key contacts, coordinators and experts.

United Soybean Board.

Take Action is a farmer-focused education platform designed to help farmers manage herbicide, fungicide and insect resistance. The goal is to encourage farmers to adopt management practices that lessen the impacts of resistant pests and preserve current and future crop protection technology.

Federal Government

Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service.

There are two basic approaches to limiting the spread of invasive species: a species-by-species assessment of the risks or benefits of admitting or excluding species, and a policy based on controlling pathways of entry in which vigilance is maintained on incoming ballast tanks, cargo holds, packing materials, and similar vehicles for unwanted organisms. These two approaches may complement each other. Policymakers also may emphasize prevention over post hoc control or vice-versa, or they may adopt a combination of the two approaches. Congressional Research Service Report R44011.

BugwoodWiki.
Published by: USDA. Forest Service. Publication FHTET-2002-04.

USDA. FS. Forest Health Protection.

The FHAAST biological control program (FHAAST-BC) is part of the broader Forest Service's National Strategic Framework for Invasive Species Management as well as regional plans dealing with invasive species. The focus of the FHAAST-BC is to demonstrate a strong leadership role in the development and implementation of biological control technologies to manage wide spread infestations of invasive species and to use biological control as a viable component for integrated invasive pest management efforts.

USDA. National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

NIFA partners with researchers and educators in the Land-Grant University System and the private sector to develop and implement new ways to address these complex pest management issues. NIFA provides funding to support extension IPM implementation and pesticide applicator safety programs in 50 states and six territories, the Minor Crop Pest Management Program (IR-4), four regional IPM centers, and numerous grants programs. Each of these investments contributes to the development of safe and effective IPM systems that increase farm profitability, reduce environmental and human health risks, and protect natural resources.

USDA. APHIS. Plant Protection and Quarantine.

The goal of biological control activities within APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) is to safeguard America's agricultural production and natural areas from significant economic losses and negative impacts caused by insects, other arthropods, nematodes, weeds, and diseases of regulatory significance to the federal government, state departments of agriculture, tribal governments, and cooperators within the continental United States and on American territories through the use of biological control agents.

USDA. FS. Invasive Species Program.

Published by: USDA. FS. San Dimas Technology and Development Center; National Forest System Invasive Species Program, DOT, Federal Highway Administration; DOI, Fish and Wildlife Service. This video will help maintenance crews recognize and control noxious weeds along roadsides. Road crews that maintain any type road, from interstate highways to aggregate roads, are the frontline in preventing the spread of invasive plants.

United States Department of Agriculture.

The Office of Pest Management Policy is responsible for communicating across federal agencies to promote the development of pest management strategies that reduce the economic, environmental, and public health risks from pests as well as from the methods used to control them in agricultural and natural resource environments.

DOI. NPS. Common Learning Portal.

Throughout 2021, the National Park Service's Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, in collaboration with the NPS invasive species programs, is embarking on an ambitious project to host weekly webinars. The presenters currently slated include NPS and other DOI agency employees, DOI contractors, USDA/USFS employees, and university professors. They will be presenting on topics such as Invasive Species, Pesticide Safety, the Pesticide Use Proposal System (PUPS), and Museum Management. The webinar series is open to all DOI employees and partners.
See also: Archived Integrated Pest Management webinars

Environmental Protection Agency.

International Government

Government of British Columbia.

Transport Canada.

State and Local Government

New Hampshire Department of Transportation.

To address mounting concerns over invasive plants and the role NHDOT activities play in the spread of these plants along roadsides, Best Management Practices (BMPs) have been developed with input from Maintenance Districts, the Roadside Development Section, the Bureau of Construction, and the NH Department of Agriculture. Implementation of these BMPs will help prevent the spread of invasive plants caused by maintenance and construction activities.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

The Department is required by the Pesticide Control Act of 1973, as amended in 1987, to educate all pesticide applicators about Integrated Pest Management (IPM) control methods as a part of license recertification requirements.

In addition, Pennsylvania is a signatory party to the Chesapeake Bay resolution which encourages the promotion of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices to citizens as a method to reduce toxics in the Bay.

Academic

Kansas State University. Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service.

See also: Weed Management Publications for more resources
University of Idaho. Rangeland Ecology and Management.
Prepared by: American Sheep Industry Association

Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

University of Alaska - Fairbanks. Cooperative Extension Service.

The Alaska IPM program (AK IPM) addresses the public need for pest management education within the state.

University of California. Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The University of California Statewide IPM Program (UC IPM) helps residents, growers, land managers, community leaders, and other professional pest managers prevent and solve pest problems with the least unintended impacts on people and their surroundings.

Colorado State University. College of Agricultural Sciences.

University of Connecticut. College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a sustainable and scientific approach to managing pests. IPM practitioners base decisions on information that is collected systematically as they integrate economic, environmental and social goals. This approach applies to any situation, agricultural or urban, and is flexible enough to accommodate the changing demands of agriculture, commerce and society.

The University of Connecticut IPM Program staff members work directly with and provide educational outreach to commercial growers, natural area managers, groundskeepers, educators and the general public in Connecticut. In addition, they conduct research and offer extension programs in these areas: Fruit, Greenhouse, Invasive Species, IPM Curriculum, Nursery, Turf & Landscape and Vegetables.

California Sea Grant.
These materials are provided for educational purposes only. They are intended to provide a general overview of what is required for implementing tactics to eradicate and control aquatic invasive species (AIS). Although prevention is the best approach, it also is important to be prepared and respond quickly to new infestations and to reduce risks posed by existing infestations.

University of Idaho. Extension.

The goal of the University of Idaho Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Center is to provide educational information and resources for the pest management needs of Idaho. We strive to help the people of Idaho reduce risks to human health, the environment and the economy caused by pests and pest management practices.

University of Illinois. Extension.

The Illinois Integrated Pest Management Program areas of emphasis include Specialty Crops, School IPM, Pest Diagnostics and Area Wide Monitoring.

Iowa State University.

University of Kentucky. Entomology.

University of Massachusetts - Amherst. Extension.

The University of Massachusetts Extension Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Program is a systems-oriented educational program that involves an interdisciplinary approach to ecosystem management, agricultural crop production and community pest management. This approach incorporates mechanisms for accurate estimation of both pest and beneficial insect populations, includes both economic and environmental cost and benefit assessments, and prescribes a combination of strategies for control of pest problems.

Michigan State University.

The IPM Program collaborates with faculty and Extension educators to develop diverse information serving growers of many crops, the landscape/turf “green” industry, and those looking for home and garden pest solutions.

University of Missouri-Columbia.

Integrated pest management (IPM) is a sustainable approach to managing insect, pathogen, and weed pests through a coordinated decision-making/action-taking process. The goal of IPM is to mitigate pest damage while protecting human health, environmental quality, and economic viability. The MU IPM program is partially funded by a federal grant. It is multidisciplinary and involves a large team of scientists and extension specialists.

Montana State University. Extension Service.

Working to reduce health and environmental risks from pest management, as well as improve practices, and increase Integrated Pest Management (IPM) adoption. Our focus areas involve tactics and tools for plant protection, enhancing agricultural biosecurity, and IPM for sustainable communities.  The program encompasses four areas; agronomic crops, communities, pest diagnostic facilities, and pesticide education.  The overall goal of the Integrated Pest Management program is to develop and deliver information on IPM practices in Montana.

University of New Hampshire. Cooperative Extension.

North Carolina State University. Extension.

Oregon State University. Extension Service.
This handbook is intended as a ready reference guide to the control and management tactics for the more important plant diseases in the Pacific Northwest. The specific cultural, biological, and chemical recommendations are intended to manage a specific plant disease but may not always be appropriate under all production circumstances. The synthesis of a specific management recommendation should be done by a qualified individual. For this reason, this book should be used by—and has been expressly written for—county Extension agents, consultants, field and nursery people, and chemical industry representatives. Information in this publication is in a state of constant change.

University of Florida. IFAS. Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants.

Comprehensive site why and how aquatic plants are managed in Florida waters. These five sections (why manage plants; overview of Florida waters, control methods, developing management plans, and research and outreach) will guide you through the many factors considered by Fish and Wildlife Conservation commission (FWC) biologists when developing aquatic plant management plans for Florida waters. Our priority is to manage invasive plants while also conserving and enhancing our unique aquatic habitats and wildlife communities.

Clemson University. Cooperative Extension.

The mission of the Clemson University IPM program is to develop interdisciplinary, research based information, and provide it to the public in efficient and accessible formats. The goals of the IPM program are driven by the needs of stakeholders, who have an integral part in developing the priorities of the program.

University of the United States Virgin Islands. Cooperative Extension Service.

Washington State University Extension.

The Washington State Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Extension Implementation Program is a coordinated outreach effort by a team of Washington State University Extension Specialists to bring IPM knowledge to agricultural and urban pest managers across the state of Washington. Our ultimate goal is to increase adoption of IPM practices, toward a pest management paradigm that reduces human health risks, minimizes adverse environmental impacts, and maximizes economic returns and sustainability.

University of Wisconsin. Extension.

The University of Wisconsin Nutrient and Pest Management Program (NPM) and Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM)—work to bring research-based information regarding Wisconsin farm profits, water quality, pest management, pesticide use practices, and nutrient management planning to Wisconsin farmers and landowners.

Professional

Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Foundation.

This third edition has been specifically designed with water resource managers, water management associations, homeowners and customers and operators of aquatic plant management companies and districts in mind. The goal in preparing this handbook is to provide basic, scientifically sound information to assist decision makers with their water management questions.

National Academies. Transportation Research Board.
National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP Synthesis 363). This synthesis reviews federal, state, and regional approaches; prevention, early detection, and rapid responses; identification of aspects of operations and risks; statewide inventories; and information management. In particular, this report synthesizes the state of the practice in developing Integrated (Roadside) Vegetation Management, along with physical, chemical, biological, and cultural control mechanisms.

IPM Institute of North America.

IPM Institute of North America is a non-profiit formed to focus on improving sustainability in agriculture and throughout communities.

Oregon State University. National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC).