Check Pheromone Traps - Twice Weekly!

Monitoring for pests and diseases is a fundamental first step in creating a proper IPM program. Targeting pests at the right time with the right product can save money, make pest management programs more effective, and can help preserve beneficial insects and mites on the farm. There are many ways to monitor for insect pests, and one very popular method involves the use of pheromone traps.

The numbers you record from pheromone traps can tell you when a particular pest is present in the adult form in your area (useful to determine a "BIOFIX" or simply presence / absence of the pest) and/or to generate information on population trends, including peak activity. In either case, this information can help you determine the best timing for applying necessary control measures.

However, the information that you obtain is only as good as the deployment and servicing of traps. Proper use of pheromone traps includes careful storage and handling of lures, consideration of field placement, replacement of traps and lures as required, and consistent monitoring of traps. In summary:

  • Handle and store pheromone lures appropriately or they will not be effective. Lures need to be kept in their sealed packages until ready for use, and should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer as directed by the manufacturer. Use gloves to avoid cross-contamination with lures of different species.
  • Replace lures as directed - they don't last all season!
  • Place traps far enough apart so that they don't interfere with one another, and never place more than one lure in each trap. Make sure you use the recommended numbers to effectively cover the area which is being scouted.
  • Service your traps, and replace them when liners are no longer sticky.
  • Be able to identify your target pest.
  • Monitor faithfully, regularly and keep good records.

It's the last point which we'd like to focus on today. Whether you're monitoring for insect pests in the orchard, vineyard, berry or vegetable crops, pheromone traps should be checked twice weekly and on the same days each time. Checking traps once a week during the pest activity period is NOT often enough, because you will not get a good approximation of peak flights and/or upswings in the adult (breeding) population. Things can happen very quickly in the field. With many of the new, reduced-risk insecticides, timing of application can be even more critical.

To find out more, check out the OMAFRA website.

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For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: Hannah Fraser - Entomologist (Hort Crops)/OMAFRA; Neil Carter - Tender Fruit and Grape IPM Specialist/OMAFRA
Creation Date: 16 May 2005
Last Reviewed: 16 May 2005