IPM Methods:  Using Pheromone and Yellow Sticky Traps


Pheromone Traps

Female moths release a pheromone scent to attract males for mating, and the scent is specific to each species or group.  Pheromone traps use lures loaded with a synthetic version of the pheromone scent for the target insect.  They are placed on a sticky liner that slides into a triangular Delta trap.

Although slightly more expensive, orange Delta traps are easier to use and last longer than wing-style traps.

Pheromone Traps that All Growers in the Intermountain West Should Hang, Check Weekly, and Record Catch

Trap When to Hang Where to Hang Expected Biofix
Longevity of Lure
codling moth (CM) apple first pink upper tree canopy apple full bloom 30 days (regular)
60 days (L2 or LL)
peach twig borer (PTB) mid to late April upper tree canopy early to mid May 30 days (regular)
60 days (L2 or LL)
greater peachtree borer (GPTB) peach shuck fall lower tree canopy late June to early July 30 days
obliquebanded leafroller (OBLR) mid-May mid tree canopy late May to mid June 30 days

When hanging traps, make sure the trap entrance is parallel to the prevailing wind and clear of twigs, leaves and fruit (to prevent birds from hopping into trap).

Hang at least two traps per species in each orchard.  Orchards greater than 20 acres should have one trap every 10 acres.

Hang at least one trap on the edge and at least one near the center of the orchard to determine if moths are immigrating from outside sources and/or overwintering within the orchard.  Suspected “hot spots” need additional traps.

Check traps every 1 to 2 days until the first consistent moth catch (1 to 2 moths caught two nights in a row).  Record this date; it is called the biofix and is used in insect phenology models.

After biofix, check traps weekly, record the number of moths, and then remove them from the sticky liner.  They can be removed using a twig from the orchard floor. Change pheromone lures based on manufacturer’s recommendations and change sticky liners after debris has collected on the surface.

Essentials of Pheromone Lures and Traps

Traps are sold as “large plastic delta” or “wing-style.” We recommend the delta traps for ease of use (sticky liners easily slide in and out) and durability (reusable for several years). Do not use white-colored traps, as these attract bees.


lures range from $1.20 each (for 30-day) to $5.00 each (for long-life and specialty lures); Wing-style traps are approximately $2 each, and delta traps, $5.00.


Delta traps last up to 5 years, wing-style traps last less than 1 season. Lures last 30 to 60 days, depending on the type purchased (CM and PTB are available as “long life” lures).

Label each delta trap with the insect lure used and do not use it for another species to avoid cross-contamination.

Some lures (codling moth) are designed to be used in conjunction with mating disruption.


Store lures in the freezer at all times until deployment in the field or they will lose effectiveness.  Properly stored lures last 2 years.

Yellow Sticky Trap for Western Cherry Fruit Fly

yellow sticky trap


Fruit flies are attracted to the yellow color of the trap, and AC (ammonium carbonate) increases the effectiveness. AC is purchased separately, and sold in small containers or Ziploc pouches. They are attached to the yellow trap with a twist-tie or staple and last about 2 weeks.


Traps are approximately $2 each, and additional baits are $1 each.

Hang Traps

Before flies are expected, which is the yellow-green stage of fruit development.

Place Traps

On the southern side of trees to catch the earliest emerging flies, at least 6 feet high, in the upper third of the tree canopy.  Remove fruit, leaves, and twigs within 6 inches of the trap.

A minimum of two traps should be placed in each orchard, in the border and interior.  Suspected “hot spots” should be monitored separately.

Maintain and check traps weekly throughout the fruit development period.  Change traps every 3 to 4 weeks or when they become covered with debris.

Keep a record of trap catches for each location within an orchard and for each orchard.