Jeff Green | Dec 15, 2005
Feature Article - December 15, 2005
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Feature ArticleDecember 15, 2005
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Did you know?Box traps do not control Gypsy Mothsby Gray Merriam
Those green cardboard box traps for Gypsy moths were never intended to control the moth populations. The box traps give off pheromones (+disparlure) that female European Gypsy Moths use to attract males for mating. In the 1980’s our region had one of the most intense outbreaks of the moths in Ontario. The box traps were originated as a means of getting an estimate of the size of the moth population so that warning of such outbreaks could activate spray programs to control the irruption.
Use of the traps without reporting the catches to a central agency would not give such a warning.
Current methods for controlling Gypsy Moth use ‘pheromone saturation’ of the forest. By putting enough pheromone in the upper canopy where most mating occurs, the males become totally confused and very little mating actually happens. In the United States, pheromone saturation is done by aerial drops of flakes that stick to the leaves in the upper canopy and give off pheromone for long periods. In Canada, the flakes are not approved but instead long tapes are tied as high as possible in the branches and give off pheromone that rises into the canopy to confuse the male moths.
By upsetting the mating of the moths while they are still at a low population, irruptions producing damaging outbreaks can be avoided and spray programs can be unnecessary.