Pheromone release traps are an effective tool for targeting stored product pests, explains Kevin Parsons, of Globe Pest Solutions

Management of stored product pests can be a challenge. Not only are they difficult to detect, but infestations can be severe, as can the financial impact to the business concerned.

Stored product pests by nature, cause problems in food management businesses. Such businesses are classic sensitive accounts, where the use of chemicals needs to be carefully considered. With the restrictions on chemical use in such accounts becoming ever stricter, the need for integrated pest management (IPM) programs is a must.

Integrated pest management involves modifying the pest environment and using various population control techniques to minimise the use of chemicals. Pheromone traps have been around for a while, but with the heightened sensitivity around chemical use in food establishments, their popularity is increasing. Cidetrak IMM and Storgard traps provide an ideal combination for moth management in commercial accounts.

Cidetrak IMM is a pheromone slow release system that causes mating disruption. The principle is based on flooding a space with the female sex attractant pheromone, which causes sensory overload in the males so that they are unable to locate female moths. As a result, the amount of successful mating drops off dramatically, with a decrease in viable egg production and subsequent significant reduction in population.

A trial carried out in a cocoa bean warehouse in San Francisco highlighted this effect. The warehouse suffered annual infestations from Indian meal moths. In the year prior to the trial, 13 applications of insecticide were used in an attempt to keep populations of Indian meal moths in check. However, trap counts still recorded over 1300 moths per month. In the year of the trial using Cidetrak, the maximum trap count was 75 moths.

Similar effects were found in CSIRO trials at cereal processing sites in Australia. Prior to the use of pheromone mating disruption devices, the moth control program involved Pestigas applications twice a week, along with crack and crevice treatments and sanitation measures. However, these methods were insufficient to reduce the resident population and such heavy insecticide use gives rise to potential resistance issues. Following the installation of pheromone mating disrupters, the population had declined to very low levels (from over seven moths/trap/day to close to zero), to the extent that Pestigas use was suspended for one season with no adverse effect.

Cidetrak IMM works on a range of pest moths: Indian meal moth (Plodia interpunctella), Tobacco moth (Ephestia elutella), raisin moth (Cadra figulilell), almond moth (Cadra cautella) and mediterranean flour moth (Ephestia kuehniella). Installation of Cidetrak IMM at the start of the season may well negate the need for any insecticide treatments, or at least facilities can significantly reduce insecticide use.

However, successful management of stored product pests and indeed an IPM program also requires regular monitoring of the target pest. The Storgard product line provides early-warning detection of potentially damaging insect infestations during processing, transport, warehousing and marketing of foods, and other commodities.

Storgard traps use pheromones to attract the moths, using pheromones at a lot lower level than in Cidetrak IMM. The Storgard II Trap targets the same moths as Cidetrak IMM and the Storgard Dome traps target stored product beetle pests.

Use of monitoring systems is important for record keeping but also allows problem areas to be identified and of course is key in determining when to implement a control measure. When a moth problem is detected or anticipated, Cidetrak IMM disrupters can be installed.

IPM management of stored product pests in commercial accounts allows pest managers the opportunity to demonstrate both their knowledge and how control can be achieved using their expertise and low impact pheromone products, rather than relying solely on chemicals. However, it is important to work with the client to ensure in-house training and record keeping is in place.

Cidetrak IMM and Storgard are available from Globe Pest Cidetrak mating disruption device Solutions.

Kevin Parsons, National Operations & Key Account Manager, Globe Pest Solutions