by David Mueller, BCE
How do you set up a pheromone trapping program in a warehouse?
Since most pheromone trapping programs are designed for monitoring or early detection of pest insects, the traps should be placed on a simple natural grid. Use the vertical support beams that are set in a grid that are usually 60′ x 40′ or 60′ x 60′. The Indianmeal moth, Warehouse beetle, and Cigarette beetle sex attractant pheromones will pull male insects from a 30-50 foot radius. The warehouse in the illustration needs 50 pheromone traps with 50 Indianmeal moth lures, 50 Warehouse beetle lures, and 5 outdoor pheromone traps with 10 lures. It should take about 60 minutes to inspect the traps once a week.
One way to increase the efficiency of a pheromone-trapping program is by using two or more lures in one trap. Two stored product insect pheromones commonly used in the same trap for monitoring purposes are the Indianmeal moth and Warehouse beetle. They both fly and are often found in the same locations. By using this method you can significantly reduce the amount of time you spend checking your pheromone traps. A third lure often used in these traps is for the Cigarette beetle. The sex-attractant pheromones are so powerful that they don’t interfere with the effectiveness of the total trap catch. The Pantry Patrol™ traps from Insects Limited, Inc. utilize five different pheromones in one corner trap (3 beetles and 2 moths). Over 20 different species of insects have been captured in this unique liquid-baited pheromone trap.
How high should I place the traps? Place the traps a little above eye level on the vertical support beam and not the racking. If the warehouse is full all the time you may have to get inventive and place them in the channels of the vertical support beams marked with a yellow marking ribbon placed high on the beam to help locate the trapping locations You may want to hang the traps high with a long pole and hook to help retrieve it. When the warehouse is full, I prefer to place traps near the fire extinguishers/fire hoses that are required to be left open. Sometimes the traps get buried and you just have to make a note of this on your log.
In order to make sticky pheromone traps last longer, clean out the insects after recording the catch. This works especially well in areas that catch small numbers of insects. Bring a Popsicle stick or coffee stirrer and a paper towel with you to inspect raps. Use the stick to remove the insects, and wipe them on the paper towel. This will allow the extraction with minimum mess and helps make it easier to keep track of catches from one week to the next. When replacing lures in traps that don’t need to be replaced, it isn’t necessary to pull out the old lures. Just add the new one to the trap. This can enhance the effectiveness of the lures if any pheromone is still left. Write the date when the new lures were added to help you keep track of when they will need to be replaced. Most pheromone lures last for 8-10 weeks indoors.
Remember the key is to save time and be efficient when you check these traps. Make the path simple and accessible. Don’t forget to take time to look around the warehouse for other signs of problems (e.g. mouse droppings, excess spider webs, door sweeps missing, temperature gradients, poor personnel practices, old code dated product, insect webbing, spills, and excess weeds, etc.).