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Pheromone Traps for Fruit Trees

One of the basic tenets of organic and sustainable pest control is using organic defenses efficiently, instead of applying synthetic chemical pesticides. Pheromone-based pest traps are utilized to track pest population maturity times in order that the proper therapy can be applied at the ideal moment. In U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 through 10, most fruit tree insect pests have several breeding cycles annually, since warmer climates encourage prolonged pest activity. Tracking the cycles is a powerful way to decrease pesticide usage and to control costs. You can buy pheromone traps at major garden supply centers or from agricultural providers to assist you monitor the insect pests in your home orchard.

How They Work

Insect traps have been lures. They use bait to attract insects to them, and the secret is to find a bait special to a particular pest control. Pheromone pest traps exploit the Sex attractants given off completely by each species to attract mates. Pheromone lures contain replaceable rubber septa that take the pheromone substances. Lures are applied to the trap, which includes a sticky layer. Insects investigating the lure simply stick to the surface and cannot escape. By examining traps about twice a week, you can monitor the developmental progress of the species and track the phases of the breeding cycle. Lures typically need to be replaced about once a month to maintain effectiveness. Remove insects from the traps each time you check them, and stir the sticky layer to freshen it.

When to Use

Really early spring — February through early March — would be the best time to place traps to find out the first breeding cycle in your area. Insects mature in accordance with “level days,” or days the temperatures are warm enough for them to develop. Recording daily high and low temperatures helps you to maximize trap usage. By tracking insects’ development to adulthood, you can disrupt mating during each life-cycle through the season by using suitable treatments, thereby reducing egg-laying and the resulting hatch of larvae.

Trap Placement

Hang pheromone traps at the northeast side of trees about 6 feet from the floor and approximately 100 feet in from the edge of the orchard. Place traps for various insects no closer than 300 feet apart, so that they won’t interfere with one another. Because pheromones are released to the air from the lure, they sink — because they are heavier than air. Placing the traps at the top third of trees takes advantage of the natural dispersal.

Home Orchard Use

If you have only a few fruit trees in your yard, you may not want to have visible traps littering your landscaping. A pheromone lure placed at the corner of a shed or along a backyard wall can capture a sampling of the insects in your yard. After noticing the insects’ stages of development, you can prevent large infestations by applying suitable treatments.

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