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Captures of boll weevils (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) in relation to trap orientation and distance from brush lines

Dale W. Spurgeon
Journal of economic entomology 2016 v.109 no.2 pp. 676-683
Anthonomus grandis grandis, insecticides, monitoring, pheromone traps, probability, trapping, vegetation, wind direction, wind speed, Texas
Eradication programs for the boll weevil (Anthonomus grandis grandis Boheman) rely on pheromone-baited traps to trigger insecticide treatments and monitor program progress. A key objective of monitoring in these programs is the timely detection of incipient weevil populations to limit or prevent re-infestation. Therefore, improvements in the effectiveness of trapping would enhance efforts to achieve and maintain eradication. Association of pheromone traps with woodlots and other prominent vegetation are reported to increase captures of weevils, but the spatial scale over which this effect occurs is unknown. The influences of trap distance (0, 10, and 20 m) and orientation (leeward or windward) to brush lines on boll weevil captures were examined during three noncropping seasons (October to February) in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Differences in numbers of captured weevils and in the probability of capture between traps at 10 or 20m from brush, although often statistically significant, were generally small and variable. Variations in boll weevil population levels, wind directions, and wind speeds apparently contributed to this variability. In contrast, traps closely associated with brush (0 m) generally captured larger numbers of weevils, and offered a higher probability of weevil capture compared with traps away from brush. These increases in the probability of weevil capture were as high as 30%. Such increases in the ability of traps to detect low-level boll weevil populations indicate trap placement with respect to prominent vegetation is an important consideration in maximizing the effectiveness of trap based monitoring for the boll weevil.