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Pink Bollworm: Trapping

About Trapping

Trapping is the foundation of the Pink Bollworm Program. Early detection of non-sterile adult pink bollworm moths allows program personnel time to adjust sterile release in order to control incipient infestations. Trapping is also the primary tool in monitoring sterile release.

Pink Bollworm Trap

The Delta Trap

The Pink Bollworm Program uses a delta trap made of cardboard that is sticky on all three inside surfaces. A pheromone lure that attracts male pink bollworm moths is stuck to one wall of the trap. The traps are placed over the first cotton plant at the end of a row or the first plant at the edge of the field. The trap is suspended over the cotton plant in a manner that permits the trapper to service it without touching the cotton foliage. Traps are serviced weekly. If they contain moths that are similar to pink bollworm, the trap is replaced and the traps containing specimens are sent to a laboratory for identification by an entomologist.

Trap in Cotton Field

The Pheromone Lure

A pheromone is a substance secreted by an organism to affect the behavior or development of other organisms of the same species. In the pink bollworm, it is a chemical released by the female moth to attract male pink bollworms. The lure used by the Pink Bollworm Program is a synthetic chemical with the same structure and activity as the natural pheromone.

The Trapper

The Pink Bollworm Program trapper is responsible for about 400 traps. All of the traps are serviced weekly, and all of the traps are replaced every five weeks. Trap inspection is never finished. It is mandatory that the trappers check all "serviceable" traps in four (10 hour) working days. Traps are unserviceable when the field is too wet to safely approach the trap or the road is blocked. The trappers are required to return to unserviceable traps later in the week and try again. If these traps are still not accessible, a supervisor is notified.

Maps of the Trapping Zone

The trapper prepares two accurate maps of their trapping zone showing the location and number of each trap. One of the maps is a field copy and the other is a office copy for staff use. The base map used to plot the location of each trap is custom map showing the location and shape of the cotton fields in the trapping zone. The maps are kept current and accurate through the trapping season.

The Map

The cotton fields are crosshatched; the cotton fields that are colored yellow are Pima variety cotton. The Pima cotton is noted when the cotton starts to bloom: Pima cotton has a distinctive yellow flower with a red center. Trap locations are marked with a dot and trap number. The location of the trap is accurate to within 1/10th of a mile. Trap location is recorded by Township, Range, and Section.