How to optimize trap capture of insects

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November 24, 2021

Pat Kelley, president, Insects Limited

Pat Kelley, president, Insects Limited

Getting insects to enter monitoring traps can be challenging, but the right attractant lure and other factors can provide enough incentive for them to approach the trap, enter and ultimately be captured.

To optimize trap capture, consider the following factors:

  • Are you using the correct sex pheromone or aggregation pheromone for the species that you want to capture?
  • Is the quality of the pheromone in the lure high enough to draw in the insects?
  • Has the life of the lure expired, in respect to the length of time the pheromone remains effective?
  • Is the food attractant lure fresh and odorous? Can it withstand the food competition at the account?
  • Is the food attractant actually attractive to the specific species you want to capture?
  • Are you using an appropriate floor trap for crawling insects, instead of a hanging trap that is only good for flying insects?
  • Does the trap’s ramp prevent insects from climbing into pitfall-style traps?
  • Is the glue on the sticky trap capable of grabbing onto and holding the species you want to capture?

You can draw an insect right up to a trap, but if you can’t get it to take that last step inside, it is useless. Different traps work better with different insects. Crawling insects need to be “invited” inside floor traps, without having to do too much work on their part to enter. Hanging traps for flying insects need to have a large enough opening to allow direct flight inside. Some glues do not work well for some insect species.

The bottom line: Optimizing trap choice and placement will help ensure success.

About the Author

Pat Kelley, BCE, president, Insects Limited

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