Pheromone lure and trap color affects bycatch in agricultural landscapes of Utah

L. R. Spears
C. Looney
H Ikerd
J B. Koch
T Griswold
J P. Strange
R A. Ramirez, Utah State University


Aerial traps, using combinations of color and attractive lures, are a critical tool for detecting and managing insect pest populations. Yet, despite improvements in trap efficacy, collection of nontarget species ("bycatch") plagues many insect pest surveys. Bycatch can influence survey effectiveness by reducing the available space for target species and increasing trap screening time, especially in areas where thousands of insects are captured as bycatch in a given season. Additionally, bycatch may negatively impact local nontarget insect populations, including beneficial predators and pollinators. Here, we tested the effect of pheromone lures on bycatch rates of Coccinellidae (Coleoptera), Apoidea (Hymenoptera), and nontarget Lepidoptera. Multicolored (primarily yellow and white) bucket traps containing a pheromone lure for capturing one of three survey target species, Spodoptera litura (F.), S. littoralis (Boisduval), or Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner), were placed in alfalfa and corn fields, and compared to multicolored traps without a pheromone lure. All-green traps with and without H. armigera lures were employed in a parallel study investigating the effect of lure and trap color on bycatch. Over 2,600 Coccinellidae representing seven species, nearly 6,400 bees in 57 species, and >9,000 nontarget moths in 17 genera were captured across 180 traps and seven temporal sampling events. Significant effects of lure and color were observed for multiple taxa. In general, nontarget insects were attracted to the H. armigera lure and multicolored trap, but further studies of trap color and pheromone lure specificity are needed to better understand these interactions and to minimize nontarget captures.