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February 2012


As a fruit grower one of your primary goals should be to reach harvest with a full crop of fruit that is free of insect or disease damage. Your loss to the bottom line due to insect damage mounts quickly. The expense involved in making a pesticide application (labor, equipment, and pesticide) is minor when a grower considers the value of his crop. 


What is the decision process you follow when considering a spray for your orchard?


  • How do you know that you need to spray? 
  • Does your entire orchard need covered? 
  • If you’re an apple or pear grower, how do you determine when a cover spray is due for your orchard? 
  • Do you need a second generation Twig Borer spray? 
  • What about a second Crown Borer treatment? 


Not having the answers to one of the above questions can prevent you from reaching your harvest with clean fruit.


Would a few dollars and a bit of your time be worth spending to keep a crop clean?  If your answer is yes, then this season start a trap line in your orchard.  A few pheremone traps placed throughout your farm can help you determine when to spray, what level of pressure you’re facing, and prevent late season surprises.  Last season a single trap alerted a grower to the need of a second twig borer cover and prevented what could have been a disaster.  The grower told me it had been eleven years since he’d had a PTB problem.


Trapping is easy once you know the basics and should be considered standard practice in every orchard.

The trap design that has become most widely used for fruit insects in general is the large plastic delta trap. This trap is quick to set up and easy to maintain.  The sticky trapping surface is provided by an exchangeable card that slides in and out quickly and easily. If you put the trap in your barn at the end of the season, you can get multiple years use from each trap.

For all the moths typically monitored using sticky pheromone traps, the trap must be baited with a pheromone lure -- usually a small piece of rubber or plastic containing a synthetic blend of chemicals that is very similar to compounds used by female moths (her scent) to attract males. When traps capture male moths, it serves as an indication that females are also present, and mating and egg-laying are occurring. When you order pheromone traps, you also must order lures for the specific insect(s) you wish to monitor. Remember that although you may use the same type of trap to monitor different pests, you must use only a single lure per trap . One trap, one species.  It does not work to put lures for codling moth and peach twig borer in the same trap. Depending on the pest species, lures usually last 2 to 8 weeks.  Call Dan or I if you don’t know the effective life of the lure.




  • Install traps prior to biofix (the first sustained moth catch in the spring), timing varies with species.
  • Bias trap placement to known problem spots, borders, and at least one in the center of the block.
  • Traps should be placed from waist high to the top of the canopy depending on the pest.
  • Make sure the trap entrance isn’t blocked.
  • Pheremone lures need to be replaced according to the manufactures recommendation.
  • Replace dirty trap bottoms
  • Once a biofix is established check traps on a weekly basis, clean trap bottoms and record catch number.
  • Continue trapping up to harvest.




  • Determine a biofix – used to track population development for the season. This is key to knowing when to spray.
  • Determine the population level.  This is key to knowing if you need to spray.
  • Determine the effectiveness of control measures.
  • Determine the need for late season control measures



So what is all the stuff in my trap?   First, sort out the obvious items that don’t belong.  Bird feathers, entire birds, the remainder of someone’s burrito, plastic water bottles, etc….   How do you identify all the insects?  It’s not uncommon  for non-target species, or one with a similar pheromone makeup to blunder into your trap.  Here’s a few suggestions for ID’ing (I think that’s a new word) your bugs.  If you don’t have the 2012 edition of “Utah-Colorado Commercial Tree Fruit Production Guide”, CSU’s new pest book, then for a lot of reasons pick one up at the Orchard Mesa site.  It has great info on all of the pests that can reduce your pack-out this year and it’s free.  Put this website at the top of your “favorites” tab.  I use this regularly to ID pests. .  Call Dan or I, we will be happy to stop by and help you sort out the catch.



Don’t be late with a spray timing…or miss one altogether!  I have trapping records for all the major fruit pests going back ten years for each of the growing areas in Western Colorado.  If you need to know when to look for a pest event in your area, give me a call and I’ll do my best to dial you in.






“I wish it were possible to obtain a single amendment to our Constitution. I would be willing to depend on that alone for the reduction of the administration of our government; I mean an additional article taking from the Federal Government the power of borrowing.”

- Thomas Jefferson to John Taylor, 1798.



This sounds like fruit growing:

“Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.”    

Sir Winston Churchill


We look forward to answering your question!

Larry Traubel 970-234-3424

Dan  Kroll     480-254-3025

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