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Beyond sticky traps: New developments in attractants, repellents, and smart trapping

Dr Clare Sampson's presentation was one of many from GLAS 2017. Photo credit: Joseph Keogh.

Improvements in colours, patterns, scents, and now with Smart Alert traps, long gone are the days of sticky traps.



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14 September 2017

It is now nearly two months since GLAS 2017 took place. GLAS 2017 was one the most successful GLAS to-date with over 1,000 people attending. According to the exit polls 94% of traders who attended noted their experience as worthwhile or very worthwhile, and 99% of visitors noted their experience as worthwhile, or very worthwhile.

For those of you who attended you will remember the Bord Bia sponsored Learning Theatre; where consummate professionals from all areas of the leisure horticulture sector presented a talk to a sold-out crowd.

For those who couldn’t make it to GLAS 2017 or weren’t able to secure a seat, you will be able to read below, Dr Clare Sampson to offer ever-evolving environmentally-friendly pest control using innovative  pheromones bio-rationals trapping digital systems. Dr Sampson now works as Horticultural Development Manager at Russell IPM.

Improved Sticky Traps breaks down into three sectors:

  • Colours
  • Patterns
  • Scents


Improved colours resulted in greater pest attraction, leading to a 67-98% reduction in adult whitefly.


  • White pattern increased thrips trap catch by 25%.
  • Frankliniella occidentalis and Thrips major.
  • This was confirmed in pepper and strawberry located in the UK and Morocco.


2016 results

  • Adding western flower thrips pheromone to roller traps
  • 30-100% increase in trap catchScents1

2017 developments

  • Field testing micro-encapsulated pheromone for longer release
  • Addition of capsid attractants to make a multi-species trap


Integrated solutions: thrips control

Blue Optiroll patterned pheromone traps:

  • Reduced adult thrips per flower (53-87%).
  • Increased class 1 fruit (from 67% to 92%).thrips1
  • Increased grower returns (> €2.3k/ha).
  • Reduced insecticide treatments.
  • No interruption of pollination or predators.
  • Combined use of predatory mites and traps prevented major damage.

Repellents, Background

Can general repellents be used to reduce the damage caused by insect pests?


  • Often widely available.
  • Generally safe.
  • Repel a range of species.
  • Do not draw pests into an area.
Repellent Result

Small plot (3.5 m x 4 m) proof of principle trials. Results and Photo: Dr Charles Whitfield, NIAB EMR.

Repellents, 2016 results

Repellents reduced pest numbers by 23-55%:

  • Delia radicum
  • Plutella xylostella
  • Aleyrodes proletella
  • Brevicoryne spp.
  • Dasineura pyri
  • Psylla pyri


Repellents, Next Steps

2017 Field Trials

Formulation for a longer release, sprayable application:

  • Strawberry – Spotted wing drosophila
  • Tomato – Tuta absoluta
  • Brassicas – Caterpillars, aphids, cabbage root fly, whitefly
  • Apple / Pear – Leaf curling midge, pear sucker

Smart Traps

Russell IPM is also developing autonomous, stand-alone traps that count and identify pest species in real time, allowing growers and advisers to go straight to problem areas in the field, heralding a new generation of smart traps. These are the first traps for apple moth pests and fruit flies.

The process of these traps are as follows:

  1. Counts and identifies.
  2. Data sent to computer.
  3. A customised report is sent to your phone.

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