Why use pheromone monitoring traps in tree crops?

Why use pheromone monitoring traps in tree crops?

Pheromone monitoring traps are a key tool to understand the risk posed by a specific pest population and to support crop management decisions. Trap catch numbers can be directly linked to action thresholds to guide agronomists and farmers on when pest management steps are required. Additionally, in combination with an understanding of the target insect development, they allow improved timing of pesticide treatments for when a specific life-stage is present.  

Pheromone monitoring traps are a relative low cost input and have minimal labour needed for recording and maintenance. Their use supports more cost efficient use of insecticides by optimising their time of use to when the pest is present. With the number of treatment options decreasing, those remaining being more expensive and newer technologies often being more specific in their target activity, insect monitoring traps are becoming ever more important.   

  • Identify which pests are present and active
  • Understand risk to the crop and when an action threshold is reached
  • Use insecticides more efficiently
  • Provide local scale monitoring to compliment broader monitoring and forecasting


What are pheromone monitoring traps?

Pheromone traps attract and catch specific insects, their gives an overview of activity from a specific pest within a crop.

Pheromones are one group of semi-chemicals naturally produced by insects to communicate. Pheromones are chemical compounds produced to communicate information relating to reproduction, for example attracting a mate. They are typically, but not exclusively, produced by female insects to attract males and are species specific. Monitoring traps use manufactured pheromone which are carried in a material designed to give gradual and constant release over a period of time. The material used to carry the pheromone will vary depending on the pheromone molecule, but is typically a rubber septa.

There are a wide range of trap designs available, with the optimal product depending on the pest species, pest population and cropping system. For tree crops such as apple, pear and plum the most commonly used traps are Delta traps. These are made from red plastic to protect the pheromone lure from weather and make them easier to find within a crop. For larger moth species or when very high populations are expected a funnel trap can be used.


What pheromone traps are available for tree crops?

Andermatt are able to supply a full range of pheromone traps, not all of which are detailed on our website. The traps suitable for use will vary between sites for numerous reasons and site history should be used as a guide to the risk posed from a specific pest. Within the UK, in pome fruit (apple, pear) and stone fruit (plum, cherry, apricot) the key insect pest pheromone traps are:

How to use pheromone monitoring traps in an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program?

Monitoring for a pest is a cornerstone of an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. It allows early identification of the presence of the pest and the risk posed to the crop. Trapping systems such as Andermatt pheromone trap should be used alongside other management practices including good crop hygiene, crop scouting, management of beneficial predator populations and use of Plant Protection Products (PPP).

Best practice for using pheromone traps in tree crops:

  • Mark on the trap the target pest being caught
  • Use 1 trap per target species
  • If using multiple traps for multiple species within the same crop space traps at least 50 m apart
  • Trap placement: Place within the crop area at head height. Place out of direct sunlight and where foliage does not obstruct insect access
  • Trap location: Place centrally within the crop
  • Trap counting frequency: Once or twice per week
  • Use ‘Trap Catch Record’ to record catches and archive to further understand site history
  • After recording the number of insects trapped, remove insects from the sticky insert
  • Replace lure as frequently as instructed
  • Replace white sticky insert at same time as lure, or more frequently if glue becomes filled with insects, scales or dirt
  • Traps can be used for multiple years. If reused, a trap should be used for the same insect species


Benefits to the environment.

Understanding when a pest is present is key to planning an ecologically sound integrated pest management strategy. Identifying adult pest activity and planning future action is better for both the environment and the user rather than reactive action when the more destructive stages of the life cycle are present. Pheromone traps are specific in their action only attracting specific insect species.


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