Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Pheromone traps for monitoring pecan nut casebearer

   We use a rope and pulley system to install pecan nut casebearer traps up into the canopy of our pecan trees (photo at right). Since these insects spend their entire life cycle in pecan trees, we need to place the traps in a location where casebearers are flying. Male casebearer moths enter our traps when they detect the female sex pheromone being released from a small rubber septum placed inside the trap. The moth then gets stuck in the sticky goo spread on the inside floor of the trap (see photo below).
    We usually capture our first male moths during the middle of the pollination season and we found one moth last night. In the photo at left, the casebearer moth is pointed out by a red arrow. This arrow also points to the ridge of scales on the wings that helps to identify this small, gray moth as a pecan nut casebearer. You can also see the grey rubber septum that emits the female sex pheromone.  The rubber septum is roughly 3/4 inch in length and the casebearer moth is 3/8 inch long.