Specific colors are attractive to some day-flying insects. For example, yellow objects attract many insects and are often used in traps designed to capture winged aphids and adult whiteflies. Red spheres and yellow cards attract apple maggot flies. Like other attractants, colored objects can be used in traps for monitoring or mass trapping. |
Yellow plastic tubs filled with water, for example, are used to monitor the flights of aphids in crops where these insects are important vectors of plant viruses. Aphids attracted to the yellow tub land on the water and are unable to escape. Yellow, sticky-coated cards or plastic cups are widely used in mass trapping programs to help control whiteflies in greenhouses. Although recommended trap densities in greenhouses are based on studies involving only a few crops, recommendations of 1 trap per 5 square yards or 1 trap every 3 to 4 feet along benches are common. Yellow sticky traps capture adult whiteflies, not wingless nymphs.
Both yellow cards and red spheres (and red hemispheres attached to yellow cards) coated with adhesives are used to attract and capture apple maggot flies in orchards. A chemical attractant is incorporated in the adhesive applied to commercially available yellow cards. Apple maggot traps are most often used to detect the movement of adult flies into orchards from nearby overwintering sites. To do so, traps should be placed in trees along the perimeter of the orchard, with no more than 150 feet between traps. The timing of insecticide applications can be based on the results of such a trapping program.
Research indicates that red sphere traps and chemical attractants can be used to "trap out" apple maggot flies and limit damage to fruit. For mass trapping programs to work, traps must be in place before flies begin to move into orchards (in early June), and a great number of traps must be used (one every 15 feet in the trees at the perimeter of the orchard). Mass trapping for apple maggot control is still an experimental approach, and commercial producers should not adopt a mass trapping program if complete control of apple maggot damage is necessary.
Traps used to capture stable flies around livestock and outdoor recreation facilities are constructed of alsynite, a translucent building material similar to fiberglass. It is attractive to stable flies apparently because of its specific reflectance. Alsynite panels coated with adhesive are used to determine stable fly abundance, and their effectiveness in mass trapping is under investigation. Although these traps can provide some control of stable flies in isolated sites, their value in feedlot and dairy situations has not been established. If alsynite traps are to be effective in these settings, producers will need to use many traps (an adequate number has not been determined). Other Traps
Several unique types of traps are used for the control of various species of flies. House fly traps containing foods or chemical attractants lure house flies to a reservoir from which they cannot escape. These traps capture thousands of house flies around livestock facilities, but the overall population in such areas is usually not reduced by a meaningful level unless a great number of traps are used. The effectiveness of such traps must be judged not by the number of flies in the traps by the number of flies still present in the area. (These traps do not capture stable flies, the biting flies that are most annoying to livestock.)
Because house flies commonly land and rest on narrow, vertical objects, hanging sticky "fly strips" is somewhat effective in small, closed areas where fly populations are low. Although these strips quickly become coated with flies where flies are numerous, they can be useful on a closed porch or similar indoor area. Because flies often land near other flies, strips that have captured a few flies and strips that bear pictures of flies may be more effective than clean strips. (Strips should be hung so that people do not inadvertently contact them; the adhesive combined with dead flies is an unpleasant addition to hair or clothing.)
Other traps designed to control certain pasture flies can be constructed from commonly available materials. Walk-through traps for horn fly control can reduce horn fly infestations on cattle by 50 to 70 percent. Box or canopy-type traps rely on the horse fly's attraction to dark silhouettes. Although horse fly traps are impractical where horses or cattle graze in large pastures or extensive rangelands, they can reduce horse fly numbers in small pastures.
One other type of trap useful to gardeners and farmers is the pitfall trap . Perhaps its best known use is in slug control. Bowl, cups, or other containers are set into the soil surface. Beer or a fermented mixture of flour, sugar, yeast, and water is added to the container to attract slugs; slugs that enter the container are unable to escape and "drown" in the liquid. Similar pitfall traps containing a preservative (not an attractant) are sometimes used to sample populations of insects active at the soil surface. Relatively new pitfall traps are now available for detecting beetle infestations in stored grains. These traps can be used with or without an attractant to provide a very sensitive measure of insect presence in warm grain.
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