Insect trap

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A hanging bucket trap for the Mediterranean fruit fly K7779-1.jpg
A hanging bucket trap for the Mediterranean fruit fly
An insect trap mounted onto a pickup truck, for collection of nocturnal species. An insect trap mounted onto a pick-up truck - ZooKeys-235-041-g003.jpeg
An insect trap mounted onto a pickup truck, for collection of nocturnal species.

Insect traps are used to monitor or directly reduce populations of insects or other arthropods, by trapping individuals and killing them. They typically use food, visual lures, chemical attractants and pheromones as bait and are installed so that they do not injure other animals or humans or result in residues in foods or feeds. Visual lures use light, bright colors and shapes to attract pests. Chemical attractants or pheromones may attract only a specific sex. Insect traps are sometimes used in pest management programs instead of pesticides but are more often used to look at seasonal and distributional patterns of pest occurrence. This information may then be used in other pest management approaches.


The trap mechanism or bait can vary widely. Flies and wasps are attracted by proteins. Mosquitoes and many other insects are attracted by bright colors, carbon dioxide, lactic acid, floral or fruity fragrances, warmth, moisture and pheromones. Synthetic attractants like methyl eugenol are very effective with tephritid flies.

Trap types

Insect traps vary widely in shape, size, and construction, often reflecting the behavior or ecology of the target species. Some common varieties are described below

Light traps

Light traps, with or without ultraviolet light, attract certain insects. Light sources may include fluorescent lamps, mercury-vapor lamps, black lights, [1] or light-emitting diodes. [2] Designs differ according to the behavior of the insects being targeted. Light traps are widely used to survey nocturnal moths. Total species richness and abundance of trapped moths may be influenced by several factors such as night temperature, humidity and lamp type. [3] Grasshoppers and some beetles are attracted to lights at a long range but are repelled by it at short range. Farrow's light trap has a large base so that it captures insects that may otherwise fly away from regular light traps. [4] [5] Light traps can attract flying and terrestrial insects, and lights may be combined with other methods described below.

Adhesive traps

Sticky traps may be simple flat panels or enclosed structures, often baited, that ensnare insects with an adhesive substance. Baitless ones are nicknamed "blunder" traps, as pests might blunder into them while wandering or exploring. [6]

Sticky traps are widely used in agricultural and indoor pest monitoring. [1] [7] Shelter traps, or artificial cover traps, take advantage of an insect's tendencies to seek shelter in loose bark, crevices, or other sheltered places. [8] Baited shelter traps such "Roach Motels" and similar enclosures often have adhesive material inside to trap insects.

Flying insect traps

These traps are designed to catch flying or wind-blown insects.

A sticky insect trap used to monitor pest populations InsectTrap.JPG
A sticky insect trap used to monitor pest populations

Flight interception traps or are net-like or transparent structures that impede flying insects and funnel them into collecting. Barrier traps consist of a simple vertical sheet or wall that channels insects down into collection containers. The Malaise trap, a more complex type, is a mesh tent-like trap that captures insects that tend to fly up rather than down when impeded. [1]

Pan traps (also called water pan traps) are simple shallow dishes filled with a soapy water or a preservative and killing agent such as antifreeze. Pan traps are used to monitor aphids, wasps, and some other small insects. [1] Pan traps are often yellow, but different colors including blue, white, red, and clear can be used to target different species. [9]

Bucket traps and bottle traps, often supplemented with a funnel, are inexpensive versions that use a bait or attractant to lure insects into a bucket or bottle filled with soapy water or antifreeze. Many types of moth traps are bucket-type traps. Bottle traps are widely used, often used to sample wasp or pest beetle populations. [1]

Terrestrial arthropod traps

Conical roach trap on platform. Conical shaped roach trap - DPLA - d9c85a2cccc6f3ffb29d62025dfb69a0.jpg
Conical roach trap on platform.

Pitfall traps are used for ground-foraging and flightless arthropods such as Carabid beetles and spiders. Pitfall traps consist of a bucket or container buried in soil or other substrate so that its lip is flush with the substrate. [1]

A grain probe is a type of trap used to monitor pests of stored grain, consisting of a long cylindrical tube with multiple holes along its length that can be inserted at various depths within grain. [1]

Soil emergence traps, consisting of an inverted cone or funnel with collecting jar on top, are employed to capture insects with a subterranean pupal stage. [1] Emergence traps have been used to monitor important disease-vectors such as Phlebotomine sandflies. [10]

Aquatic emergence trap Emergenzfalle Westhavelland.jpg
Aquatic emergence trap

Aquatic arthropod traps

Aquatic interception traps typically involve mesh funnels or conical structures that guide insects into a jar or bottle for collecting. [1]

Aquatic emergence traps are cage-like or tent-like structures used to capture aquatic insects such as chironomids, caddisflies, mosquitoes, and odonates upon their transition from aquatic nymphs to terrestrial adults. Aquatic emergence traps may be free floating on the water's surface, submerged, or attached to a post near shore. [11]

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pest control</span> Control of species that are harmful to health, economy or ecology

Pest control is the regulation or management of a species defined as a pest; any animal, plant or fungus that impacts adversely on human activities or environment. The human response depends on the importance of the damage done and will range from tolerance, through deterrence and management, to attempts to completely eradicate the pest. Pest control measures may be performed as part of an integrated pest management strategy.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Malaise trap</span>

A Malaise trap is a large, tent-like structure used for trapping, killing, and preserving flying insects, particularly Hymenoptera and Diptera. The trap is made of a material such as PET (polyester) netting and can be various colours. Insects fly into the tent wall and are funneled into a collecting vessel attached to its highest point. It was invented by René Malaise in 1934.

A fly-killing device is used for pest control of flying insects, such as houseflies, wasps, moths, gnats, and mosquitoes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Indianmeal moth</span> Species of moth

The Indianmeal moth, also spelled Indian meal moth and Indian-meal moth, is a pyraloid moth of the family Pyralidae. Alternative common names are weevil moth, pantry moth, flour moth or grain moth. The almond moth and the raisin moth are commonly confused with the Indian-meal moth due to similar food sources and appearance. The species was named for feeding on Indian meal or cornmeal, and does not occur natively in India. It is also not to be confused with the Mediterranean flour moth, another common pest of stored grains.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Light brown apple moth</span> Species of moth (Epiphyas postvittana)

The light brown apple moth is a leafroller moth belonging to the lepidopteran family Tortricidae.

Non-pesticidal Management (NPM) describes various pest-control techniques which do not rely on pesticides. It is used in organic production of foodstuff, as well as in other situations in which the introduction of toxins is undesirable. Instead of the use of synthetic toxins, pest control is achieved by biological means.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Olive fruit fly</span> Species of fly

The olive fruit fly is a species of fruit fly which belongs to the subfamily Dacinae. It is a phytophagous species whose larvae feed on the fruit of olive trees, hence the common name. It is considered a serious pest in the cultivation of olives.

Mating disruption (MD) is a pest management technique designed to control certain insect pests by introducing artificial stimuli that confuse the individuals and disrupt mate localization and/or courtship, thus preventing mating and blocking the reproductive cycle. It usually involves the use of synthetic sex pheromones, although other approaches, such as interfering with vibrational communication, are also being developed.

Roach Motel is an American brand of a roach bait device designed to catch cockroaches. Although the term is the subject of a trademark registration by the insect control brand Black Flag, the phrase roach motel has come to be used as a reference to all traps that use a scent or other form of bait to lure cockroaches into a compartment in which a sticky substance causes them to become trapped. Introduced in late 1976 in response to the success of d-CON's roach trap, the Roach Motel quickly became a successful entrant in the industry. By 1979, New York magazine reported, "On the strength of its whimsical packaging and an aggressive ad campaign, the Roach Motel now dominates the market, outselling the closest competition by as much as three to one in some cities."

<i>Synanthedon myopaeformis</i> Species of moth

Synanthedon myopaeformis is a moth of the family Sesiidae and the order Lepidoptera. In Europe it is known as the red-belted clearwing and in North America as the apple clearwing moth. The larvae create galleries under the bark of fruit trees, especially old trees with damaged trunks. During this process, the larvae cause significant damage to host trees. Particular attention has been paid to the damage they cause to apple trees. Their status as a pest of apple orchards has led to many research projects aimed at controlling populations of the moth. This moth is native to Europe, the Near East and North Africa. Recently, the moth was introduced into North America, being first detected in Canada in 2005. There are several organisms that threaten the larvae, including parasitoids, nematodes, and bacteria.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pitfall trap</span>

A pitfall trap is a trapping pit for small animals, such as insects, amphibians and reptiles. Pitfall traps are a sampling technique, mainly used for ecology studies and ecologic pest control. Animals that enter a pitfall trap are unable to escape. This is a form of passive collection, as opposed to active collection where the collector catches each animal. Active collection may be difficult or time-consuming, especially in habitats where it is hard to see the animals such as thick grass.

<i>Phyllocnistis citrella</i> Species of moth

The citrus leafminer is a moth of the family Gracillariidae. It is also known as CLM in agriculture. It was first found in Florida in 1993, but is now found all over the world, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, Corsica, Costa Rica, Cuba, India, Israel, Madeira, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, the Philippines, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka and other parts of the United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pheromone trap</span> Type of insect trap that uses pheromones to lure insects

A pheromone trap is a type of insect trap that uses pheromones to lure insects. Sex pheromones and aggregating pheromones are the most common types used. A pheromone-impregnated lure, as the red rubber septa in the picture, is encased in a conventional trap such as a bottle trap, Delta trap, water-pan trap, or funnel trap. Pheromone traps are used both to count insect populations by sampling, and to trap pests such as clothes moths to destroy them.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Flight interception trap</span> Insect trapping device

A flight interception trap is a widely used trapping, killing, and preserving system for flying insects. It is especially well-suited for collecting beetles, since these animals usually drop themselves after flying into an object, rather than flying upward. Flight Interception Traps are mainly used to collect flying species which are not likely to be attracted to bait or light.

Bottle trap is a name used for several different objects. Among these are a device used in bathroom plumbing, as well as various traps that are made out of empty plastic bottles and which are used to trap animals as different as beetles, mice, fish and octopuses. This article is about the use of modified bottles to trap flying insects.

Seed traps are used in ecology and forestry to capture seeds falling from plants, allowing seed production and dispersal to be quantified. They come in several forms, including funnel traps, sticky traps, nets and pots exposed in the field.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Moth trap</span>

Moth traps are devices used by entomologists to capture moths. Most use a light source. Pheromone traps are also used.

Integrated pest management in museums, libraries, archives and private collections is the practice of monitoring and managing pest and environmental information with pest control methods to prevent pest damage to collections and cultural property. Preserving cultural property is the ultimate goal for these institutions. The pests come in many different forms: insects, mites, rodents, bats, birds, and fungi and the two most common types are insects and fungi. It is widely recommended that every museum have some form of pest control in place and monitoring system to protect their collection and that museums review their storage and museum facilities to determine how to best control and prevent pest infestations while utilizing an Integrated Pest Management plan.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pollination trap</span>

Pollination traps or trap-flowers are plant flower structures that aid the trapping of insects, mainly flies, so as to enhance their effectiveness in pollination. The structures of pollination traps can include deep tubular corollas with downward pointing hairs, slippery surfaces, adhesive liquid, attractants, flower closing and other mechanisms.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pan trap</span> Insect trap type

A pan trap is a type of insect trap used to sample the abundance and diversity of insects, primarily used to capture small Hymenoptera. Pan traps are typically constructed with a bowl with shallow sides filled with water and soap or a preservative and killing agent. Yellow is the most commonly used color, but other colors including blue, white, and red are used to target different insect species.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Nancy D. Epsky, Wendell L. Morrill, Richard W. Mankin (2008). "Traps for Capturing Insects" (PDF). In Capinera, John L. (ed.). Encyclopedia of Entomology. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 3887–3901. ISBN   978-1402062421.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  2. Price, B.; Baker, E. (2016). "NightLife: A cheap, robust, LED based light trap for collecting aquatic insects in remote areas ". Biodiversity Data Journal. 4 (e7648): 1–18. doi:10.3897/BDJ.4.e7648. PMC   4822069 . PMID   27099554.
  3. Jonason, Franzén and Ranius (2014) Surveying Moths Using Light Traps: Effects of Weather and Time of Year. PLoS ONE, 9, e92453.
  4. Farrow, R. A. (1974). "A modified light-trap for obtaining large samples of night-flying locusts and grasshoppers". Australian Journal of Entomology. 13 (4): 357–360. doi:10.1111/j.1440-6055.1974.tb02214.x.
  5. Robinson, H. S. (1952). "On the behaviour of night-flying insects in the neighbourhood of a bright source of light". Proceedings of the Royal Entomological Society of London A. 27 (1–3): 13–21. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3032.1952.tb00139.x.
  6. Harmon, James D. (1993). Integrated Pest Management in Museum, Library, and Archival Facilities. Harmon Preservation Pest Management. p. 78. ISBN   9780963816108. They have earned the nickname "blunder traps" because the insects blunder into them and get stuck. Blunder traps are good for monitoring ingress of crawling pests into a room or building.
  7. "What is a sticky trap?" . Retrieved January 26, 2015.
  8. Robert Arnold Wardle, Philip Buckle (1929). The Principles of Insect Control. Manchester University Press. p. 212.
  9. Buffington, Matthew L.; Garretson, Alexis; Kula, Robert R.; Gates, Michael W.; Carpenter, Ryan; Smith, David R.; Kula, Abigail A. R. (2021). "Pan trap color preference across Hymenoptera in a forest clearing". Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata. 169 (3): 298–311. doi:10.1111/eea.13008. ISSN   1570-7458. S2CID   231929465.
  10. Casanova, Cláudio (2001). "A soil emergence trap for collections of phlebotomine sand flies". Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz. 96 (2): 273–275. doi: 10.1590/S0074-02762001000200023 . PMID   11285509.
  11. Davies, I. J. (1984). "Sampling Aquatic Insect Emergence" (PDF). In J.A. Downing; F.H. Rigler (eds.). A Manual on Methods for the Assessment of Secondary Productivity in Fresh Water. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications. pp. 161–227.

Further reading