Thinking about put out a glue trap to get rid of moths and beetles? That’s wishful thinking in most cases as the traps won’t eliminate an entire population, and certainly won’t kill eggs, larvae and pupae. Sure you can capture a few male adults, but eliminating the life stages is a whole different process.
Glue traps for flour moths and grain beetles are only designed to “monitor” the infestations levels. They are not designed and can never eliminate the infestation. That’s because the infestation (eggs. larvae, pupa for instance) is almost always contained in a food source that is in a box or bag in your pantry. Unless you find the source of the infestation and get rid of it, you will always find evidence in the traps and think that the traps are not working. But actually they are working. If you find an insect in the trap, then the trap is doing it’s job. It’s captured something.
The whole idea of using glue traps to get rid of moths, beetles and other insects is misunderstood by many. Most people think that using traps will kill off entire populations with no other treatment necessary. That’s impossible in most cases, because in order to kill off entire populations the eggs and the entire life cycle has to be eradicated. How will a trap eradicate eggs? It won’t!
glue traps are monitoring devices plain and simple. If you use it as such, then it makes your control efforts much easier. It can also alert you to a potential population explosion letting you take action to prevent it before it happens.
Glue Trap or Bait Device?
The popular “Roach Motel” is a perfect example of a trap. It is a glue board type box that traps cockroaches. It does not contain anything to attract them. No pheromones, no attractant other than glue, which they like to eat. Cockroaches simply wander into the box and get stuck. They can’t leave. Like the old song goes, “you can come inside, but you never leave”.
Most insect traps for moths, beetles and cockroaches are simply cardboard, glue and in some cases an attractant or pheromone. This age old invention works well when used properly and as part of an overall treatment plan. There are many different glue traps for insects available. Many contain misleading advertising that confuses the buyer and appears to be their magical solution.
Bait devices often called “stations” or “disks” contain an insecticide laced bait. These products are often confused with traps. Some people even refer to a bait disk as a trap. Bait disks are not traps.
Bait devices come in a variety of shapes, sizes and brands. They only contain bait. They do not contain glue. So when the cockroach or ant wanders inside the device, it has the luxury of a fine last meal. But it can also leave and in most cases go back to the nest.
Most bait products sold over the counter also contain confusing information. In most cases, they can work, but the effectiveness totally depends on the amount of bait used and the overall population size. We will cover this in another article later…..
The bottom line is that insect traps capture and monitor insects. They can use an attractant, but they don’t contain any insecticide laced baits. Makes perfect sense.
How Glue Traps Work
Most glue traps on the market, even professional traps contain what is called a “pheromone” attractant. Some only contain simple attractants like vanilla or peanut butter. Some contain nothing.
This pheromone is usually a female sex attractant that attracts males. The pheromones in almost all traps sold over the counter and on the professional market are also synthetically made. They are not “natural” attractants derived from the insect themselves. For this reason, some insects can capture a wide variety of bugs. Naturally derived “pheromones” for some specific insects are available commercially, but can be very expensive.
The glue trap itself is usually a cardboard or paper flat or fold-up. Some traps can be hung from the ceiling with a thumb tack and string, others stuck to walls or cabinets with double sided tape. Almost all glue traps can be placed flat on surfaces. The glue surface simply captures the “male” insect for your inspection.
A word of caution when using pheromone insect traps indoors. They can attract flying moths and flies from outdoors. The sex attractant pheromones contained in the traps is very strong to most insects and can be “sensed” from outdoors, even when the traps are indoors. So in some cases, the bugs you captured might have come from outside.
Glue Traps as Part of Treatment Plan
Glue traps only trap male insects in most cases. They don’t kill infestations. Usually, they are used as a “monitoring” device and as part of an overall treatment strategy. When used this way, glue traps for moths, beetles, and even cockroaches can be very useful. Areas such as cabinets, pantries, closets and even entire rooms can be “monitored” with traps.
Here is an example of a basic treatment plan for flour moths and grain beetles using glue traps:
1. Completely remove all food products and items from the areas where they are found. Open and inspect any food item that is grain or spice based. If the beetles are found, throw the food away. Don’t freeze it or try to save it. Just throw it away. Any foods that are suspect such as whole wheat flour, rice, etc – place inside a plastic container or one that is “safe” from the beetles.
2. Vacuum and clean the area such as shelving, etc extremely well. Be sure to vacuum inside cracks beside shelving etc. Remove all food crumbs, debris and make sure the area is clean.
3. Spray the area – especially cracks and crevices with a product such as Demand CS. There has to be some residual insecticide applied to this area to kill beetles, moths etc that reappear and come from inside walls, etc. Let this area dry and then replace everything that was removed. DO NOT USE STICKY SHELF LINING. A shelf liner is ok, but make sure that it is not sticky and does not contain any glue.
4. Use traps to “monitor” beetle and moth infestations. These traps contain a pheromone that attracts male insects. It does not attract the females. These traps are used to capture the males and determine if there is any more evidence of the insects. By counting the number of insects captured, an overall estimation can be made as to how bad the infestation is. For instance, if you find 5-6 beetles and then perform everything above, and the next week find only 1 or 2, then that tells you your treatment is working. The goal is to get to ZERO beetles or moths over a 30 day period.
Make it Easy.
Just remember – using glue traps to kill an infestation won’t work, as they are designed to “aid” in your control efforts, not be the control solution. If you put out a trap and expect that it is going to do all the work for you, you are in for a big disappointment. Any insect glue trap work like this. It doesn’t matter if they are for cockroaches, moths, silverfish, beetles, etc. Even rat and mouse traps are used to “monitor” rat and mouse populations.
Once your control plan has succeeded, check the traps on a regular basis to determine if the population has re-established itself or if you caught a “straggler”. Using simple charts to keep records of where you placed the traps, when you inspected them and how many critters you captured can be extremely important in your control efforts. Most commercial facilities such as hospitals, food processors and some manufacturing plants and schools keep detailed records of where and when they found the tiny intruders. They use this information to determine if any treatment is needed or of an all out assault is necessary.
Using glue traps to monitor insect infestations is also part of what is called “Integrated Pest Management” or “IPM”. IPM is simply using inspection tools first before using pesticides. Insect glue traps play an important part in this. So regardless of where you want to use them – a closet, pantry or surgical room, glue traps can help and be part of your war on bugs.