Pheromone traps are very effective tools in the biological fight against parasites that attack the plants of our garden and garden. These traps can be professional or handcrafted and attract harmful insects thanks to the use of pheromones.
It is a remedy that does not introduce harmful chemical pesticides into the environment, but only particular and harmless substances that only the target insects are able to perceive.
It is therefore an indispensable tool for the monitoring and control of parasites, which can be used in the mass capture with the right expedients.
Let us therefore see how pheromone traps work and on which insects they are effective.
Those who practice organic farming, for the management of pests of fruit trees and vegetable crops, use only and exclusively products permitted by Community directives in force. These include pheromone traps.
Insects capable of emitting pheromones do so through the exocrine glands. These release their contents into the external environment.
The pheromone trap only exploits this characteristic in its favor by artificially replicating it. They are mostly activated with pheromones.
Pheromones are also known as semiochemicals, i.e. particular substances that insects use to communicate with each other. These substances are considered harmless both to humans and the environment.
Most insects, in fact, communicate through olfactory stimuli, which regulate important vital activities, such as mating, the choice of host plants, the exact places where to lay their eggs, etc..
Specifically, pheromones are volatile substances released into the environment by an insect and received by others of the same species. In insect receptors they cause a reaction, which may be a certain behavior or physiological process.
The pheromone has an intraspecific effect and may be:
By way of example, let us set a trap in our orchard, where there is a pheromone that attracts the male of the species, that is, it replicates the attractive substances that the female emits in nature.
The male gender insect will be attracted into the trap, from which, once inside, it will not be able to exit. This, in fact, is realized in such a way as to prevent the insect from returning to the environment. Many traps have sheets of glue or liquids in which the target parasite remains trapped.
Attracting the males of the species, the pheromone trap prevents the mating and, consequently, limits the proliferation of the infestation itself.
This mechanism of functioning is also called sexual confusion.
The pheromone is artificially released into the environment, through capsules, vials and dispensers in general. The one present in the trap has a limited duration in time and must be periodically replaced. Obviously in the time frame in which there is a utility to its presence. A pheromone trap of sexual attraction, in fact, is not useful outside the mating period.
The pheromone trap differs from the chromotropic trap in that the attractiveness of the latter is represented by the coloring.
In practice, pheromones are more precise and there is no risk of catching the useful insects that populate the ecosystem of our soil.
It must be said, however, that the two strategies are often used together.
The main function of pheromone traps is to monitor the presence of pests in the garden or organic orchard.
Through precise monitoring of harmful insects, the necessary actions can be taken to avoid crop damage.
Let us take a very common example: the cultivation of the olive tree.
One of the best natural remedies to defend olive trees from pest attacks is kaolin. This, in fact, acts as a protective and deterrent.
The best time for the distribution of this natural clay is at the beginning of summer, but you should not go too far. This is where the pheromone trap comes into play. It acts as a spy and warns us of the presence of parasites. In this way, the olive grower can carry out the treatment before it is too late.
A few traps, strategically placed in the plot of land, are usually sufficient for monitoring. Simply follow the manufacturer's instructions. The cost of this strategy, therefore, is sustainable by anyone, especially in small plots of land.
In addition to monitoring, pheromone traps can also be used for mass capture of pest insects.
Instead of a few traps, however, many must be set. In this way, the environment is saturated with the pheromone and completely prevents the target insect from reproducing.
The limit of this type of biological control, however, is mainly due to the costs. In the case of large orchards and vegetable gardens, in fact, these become very high.
In a small orchard and/or family garden, however, mass trapping with pheromone traps is an option to be considered. It is effective, has no contraindications and is also economically viable.
The great advantage of pheromone traps is that they require little effort in their management: they are limited to controlling and replacing the pheromones themselves.
In addition, of course, to the enormous environmental benefit, since chemical pesticides are avoided.
There are numerous pheromone traps, specific for the parasite you want to monitor and capture. They are produced and distributed by specialized companies and can be found for sale at agricultural shopsPheromone traps.
Traps and pheromones are usually offered for sale separately.
Here we propose a list of the insects for which the specific pheromone has already been developed.
The scientific name of the species is indicated in italics, with the common name alongside.
By combining these indications it is easy to find the right trap.