A new insect trap network is now in place across Alabama, providing farmers and producers with a valuable tool in their battles against insect pests.

An entomologist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System says the primary goal is to monitor about a dozen critical pests of both field crops and vegetables with this network of insect traps using pheromones.

“Insect pheromone traps can complement crop scouting that farmers and crop advisers do in order to make treatment decisions based on the principles of integrated pest management,” says Ayanava Majumdar, who serves as Extension’s peanut entomologist.

He explains that pheromones are gender- and species-specific scents released in minute quantities by an insect to elicit a response from other members of its species.

“The commercially available insect pheromone traps are variously shaped and include a synthetic lure,” says Henry Fadamiro, Alabama’s state IPM coordinator who is also providing leadership for the project. “The overall technology has become very affordable over the last few years.”

The first-year project will monitor insects such as stink bugs, beetles, rootworms, armyworms, cutworms, corn borers and loopers along the I-65 (north-south) corridor and I-10 (east-west) corridor.

Majumdar says as new pheromone lures become available commercially, the project will expand to include other insect pests. Currently, a team of Extension professionals who work closely with producers in row crops and commercial horticulture are overseeing trap placement and checking them every two weeks.

The project is funded with grants from the Extension Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Coordination Program and the Southeastern Peanut Research Initiative.

“We may be able to add more personnel in coming years, as we are able to expand the program,” says Majumdar.

Results from the insect monitoring program are being reported continuously on a Web site https://sites.aces.edu/group/commhort/vegetable/Vegetable/alabama_IPM_trap_network.aspx and by periodic news releases such as Timely Information (Alabama Cooperative Extension publication) and Alabama Pest Alert on AgFax.com.