Proper Trap Placements for Summertime Pests
By Gregory Covello A.C.E.
Summer is finally here and as our gardens flourish so do the pests that invade them. Throughout my travels I often encounter do-it-yourselfers trying to eliminate a variety of pests using various traps. Many times I can’t help to notice the poor placement of pest traps. I would like to share some tips on proper placement of various traps to affectively capture your target pest.
One of the most common trap placement blunders that I encounter is placements of lure traps near areas where humans will congregate. I have witnessed a countless number of yellow jacket traps place near pool yards and picnic tables. There are a variety of yellow jacket and wasp traps commercially available to reduce the number of these stinging insects without using pesticides. These traps utilize either a commercially prepared lure, or a beverage or your choice (extra sugary sodas or beer would be my recommendation) to attract the insect to the trap. When you place these traps on or near the picnic table that you are eating at, you are actually enticing the stinging insects towards you. Stinging insect traps should be placed away from the areas that you are trying to protect. Traps should be placed by hanging them from trees, poles, or fences where people will not be spending time. Try to establish a perimeter of these traps along your property line, not near your home or garden.
In similar fashion to the stinging insect trap, there are commercially available mosquito traps. Most of the mosquito traps that are available utilize a propane tank that fuels a unit that is designed to emit carbon dioxide that will attract mosquitoes within a certain radius. You do not want the center of the attraction zone to be your garden. If you choose to invest in one of these units, once again, keep it away from areas frequented by people such as gardens, and outdoor dining areas.
One of the most common summer garden pests also has a commercially available lure trap. The Japanese beetle trap, often easily recognized by the hanging bag full of bugs is another attractant type trap. Most of these traps are actually sold with pole type stand to hang the trap from. The lures available with these traps are highly attractive to Japanese beetles making it once again extremely important to place these traps away from you roses and veggies. Japanese beetle traps should be placed upwind of your garden, not in it. Also, follow the labeled instructions for the number of units you should use. Often, multiple units may be necessary to get a desired level of control.
Traps are not only for insect pests. Another common summertime invader is the groundhog. There are various types of live traps available to get rid of this common excavator. The common box style live trap can be an effective tool if placed correctly. Sometimes you have to study your target a little before placing a trap. Often I see traps placed directly next to a groundhog burrow. Although you will occasionally trap a groundhog with trap placement near the burrow, a better solution is to place the trap where the groundhog is feeding. Leave a trail of bait leading up to the trap. Make sure bait is place behind the trigger plate, not in front of or on the trigger. Be creative with you bait choices when trapping a groundhog. As a general rule, use whatever the groundhog may be damaging or eating out of your garden. If your tomatoes are getting eaten, using a tomato as bait is probably a good choice. I have successfully used apples, tomatoes, and dark leafed lettuces that stand up well in the high summertime temperatures. I have heard of successes using cantaloupe and other fruits, however, I cannot share any personal success stories with cantaloupe. Unless the trap you have is specifically designed to place directly over the burrow, try not to place the cage too close to the burrow as to not alarm the animal.
Best of luck to you with your trapping endeavors.