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  • Writer's pictureChelle Hartzer

What’s Bugging Me (AKA: Back on my soapbox)

I always say that entomologists notice the little things. Get it: insects are little? I visit a lot of different facilities, particularly food processing and food storage facilities. During these visits, I tend to notice a lot of little things that may seem very minor and not worth bringing up. However, these “little” things can actually have a big impact. Here’s three of my biggest little things:

Crappy trap placement
Seriously? What good is this trap doing?
  1. Multi-catch traps are not flush up against the wall. Listen, I get it: people kick them out of place, forklifts clip the edges, sweepers shift them around. It happens. Once it happens, put them back! It may seem petty that it’s not right up against the wall; maybe it is half an inch off (or more). That tiny space that is now between the trap and the wall is now a direct run-way for mice to run right between the trap and the wall. Never going into the trap. Think about it: you are a tiny mammal whose vision isn’t all that great and there are lots of big scary things all around you. You want to scrunch up next to the nice safe wall where you feel protected. You won’t come off that wall, even a half inch, if you don’t have to. So when those trap openings aren’t directly on the wall, you’ve just created a little tunnel for the mouse to run behind and further into a site. Push the traps flush against the walls.

Insect covered trap
One day? Six months? Who knows!

2. Glueboards aren’t dated. I get a lot of pushback on this one because it takes time to get a sharpie and scribble a date on the back. That’s obviously a lot of work for many people. With no dates, there is no information on how long the traps have been out. Consider this: an ILT has a glueboard that is absolutely covered in flying insects. The question is, did that happen in a day, a week, or a month? An insect glueboard has a few German cockroaches on it, but without knowing when that glueboard was placed out, there’s no information on when the issue started. It’s not a bad thing for glueboards to sit out for months without being changed, as long as the glue is still sticky and can catch insects. It’s not good to not know when the last time it was put out or checked. This is particularly important if it is an audited account.

NO!!! Limp, half closed, ineffective!

3. Pheromone sticky traps (AKA diamond traps) don’t have the “wings” pushed in. Look at these cardboard glue traps and you notice a fold mark on the bottom. By folding these edges in, you accomplish two things that make the trap much more effective at catching Indian meal moths and other flying stored product insects. The first thing: you make the trap more structurally sound and it is actually much more open and the pheromone wafts out better. The second thing: it gives the insects (particularly IMM) a landing zone. Research has found that by putting those wings up and providing a landing zone, IMM were much more likely to actually enter the trap. More catches equals better information on populations. This is one of my biggest complaints because it is so easy to put those wings up, but so often I see just the trap pulled open and hanging there limply.

YES!!! Good structural integrity + landing pad

It's habit for me to nudge multi-catch traps flush up to the walls as I walk by them. As an inspector, I’m constantly checking glue traps to find out how much has been captured over what period of time. My biggest issue is definitely seeing pheromone diamond traps hanging limply. So do me a favor… WINGS UP!!!

How is your program looking: have you noticed any of these situations? If you want help evaluating your current program and how it may be done better, give us a contact here!


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