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New Traps “Bust” Dust–and Indoor Insect Pests / February 23, 2001 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

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New Traps “Bust” Dust–and Indoor Insect Pests

By Linda McGraw
February 23, 2001

Two new dust-resistant traps developed by Agricultural Research Service scientists and cooperators will help target indoor insect problems by using chemical lures to catch the pests.

Dust resistance is a key component to the new traps because dust often clogs the chemical lures that attract insects. Keeping dust out makes the traps more effective.

One trap discreetly “de-bugs” storage warehouses and food processing facilities to help food manufacturers keep the goodwill of their customers. ARS entomologists Michael A. Mullen and Alan K. Dowdy in Manhattan, Kan., developed the trap that is baited with an insect lure called a pheromone. The trap can be placed out of sight under shelves in retail stores, warehouses, food processing facilities and home pantries. Developed in cooperation with Trece, Inc. of Salinas, Calif., the trap will soon be sold commercially under the name “Discreet Trap.”

Because it can’t be seen by consumers, the “Discreet Trap” is expected to increase the use of monitoring devices in retail areas and, at the same time, reduce the need for pesticides by pinpointing infestations, according to Mullen, based at ARS’ Grain Marketing and Production Research Center in Manhattan.

Mullen and Oklahoma State University scientists developed the second trap by adding dust resistance to an existing trap. They modified the FLITe TRA--developed and patented by Mullen in 1992--by adding a dust cover. This trap is being marketed by Trece under the name “Dome Trap.”

Food products most often become infested with insects while stored in warehouses. Pheromone-baited traps allow warehouse and food processing managers to make better management decisions about the timing and targeting of control practices. These include heat treatments, sanitation and crack-and-crevice sprays. These controls can be more cost-effective and have a smaller environmental impact than widespread use of conventional insecticides.

This research is important because food manufacturers are under increasing restrictions for using pesticides, but they still need to keep packaged foods insect-free until consumed.

ARS is the chief scientific research agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Scientific contact: Michael Mullen, ARS Grain Marketing and Production Research Center, Manhattan, Kan., phone (785) 776-2782, fax (785) 537-5584,

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