Why use pheromone monitoring traps in vegetable and salad crops?

Why use pheromone monitoring traps in vegetable and salad 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.

Salad and vegetable crops have a number of pest caterpillars which are migratory and can be unpredictable, arriving in the UK sporadically, and with little notice. Pheromone monitoring traps allows rapid and local identification of their arrival.
• 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, they give an overview of activity from a specific pest within a crop.

Pheromones are one group of semio-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 salad and vegetable crops, small moth species such as Diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella, DBM) can be trapped in Delta traps, whereas larger species such as Silver Y (Autographa gamma) or Cabbage moth (Mamestra brassicae) can be trapped in large funnel traps. 

What pheromone traps are available for vegetable and salad crops?
Andermatt are able to supply a full range of pheromone traps, not all of which are detailed on our website. There are a wide range of crops within salads and vegetables with some being more prone to insect attack than others. Whilst site history will provide a guide on those pests which pose a high risk, because of the migratory nature of key pest insect species such Diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella, DBM), there may be significant year to year differences in pest pressure. Within the UK, in vegetable (brassicas) and salad (lettuce, celery, watercress) the key insect pest pheromone traps are:
- Diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella)
- Silver Y moth (Autographa gamma)
- Cabbage moth (Mamestra brassicae)

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 moth pheromone traps 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 vegetable and salad 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
• Pheromone lures should be stored in a fridge or freezer and should not be removed from foil packaging until required
• Trap placement: Place within the crop area at a height just above the crop.
• 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 trap
• Replace lure as frequently as instructed
• If using a Delta trap, replace white sticky insert at same time as lure, or more frequently if glue becomes filled with insects, scales or dirt
• If using a funnel trap, replace the water and washing detergent in the trap at the same time as the lure or more frequently if it becomes filled with insect, scales and dirt.
• Traps can be used for multiple years. If reused, a trap should be used for the same insect species
Funnel traps can be used for multiple years, Delta traps typically last for two years. Refill sets are available for both trap types. If a trap is reused it should only be used for the same pest species as the previous year to ensure that only one pheromone (and therefore only one pest) is used in a trap.

Benefits to the environment.
Understanding when a pest is present is key to planning an ecologically sound Integrated Pest Management (IPM) 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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