Why use pheromone monitoring traps in vineyards?

Why use pheromone monitoring traps in vineyards?

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 growers 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, 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.

Although a wide range of pheromone trap designs are available, in UK and European vineyards, Delta traps are the most common with the pheromone lures also suitable for use in funnel traps for larger pest species of where high pest populations are expected. Andermatt Delta traps are made from red plastic to protect the pheromone lure from weather and make them easier to find within a crop.


What pheromone traps are available for vineyards?

Andermatt are able to supply a full range of pheromone traps, not all of which are detailed on our website. Delta traps are commonly used for smaller caterpillar species such as grape berry moth (Lobesia botrana) and grape vine moth (Eupoecilia ambiguella). Whilst site history will provide a guide on those pests which pose a high risk, because of the effect of weather on pest development, the migratory nature of these pests and the rapid growth in area under grapevine production in the UK, there may be significant year to year differences in pest pressure. Within UK vineyard production the key insect pest pheromone traps are:

  • Grape berry moth (Lobesia botrana)
  • Grape vine moth (Eupoecilia ambiguella)


A range of other monitoring traps and attractants are available for other pests such as Spotted Wing Drosophila (Drosophila suzukii, SWD) (LINK) but these use other attractants, such as plant volatiles, instead of pheromones.


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. Monitoring traps should be used to support decisions of when intervention such as biological control, biopesticide or chemical insecticide treatment is required. Trapping systems such as Andermatt 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 vineyards:

  • 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 plant canopy at head height out of direct sunlight and where foliage does not obstruct insect access
  • Trap location: Place centrally within the crop. Place 1 trap per 5 hectares of a uniform vineyard. In ununiform vineyards (terroir, variety, age etc.) higher density may be advised
  • 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
  • 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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