Light Trap Systems for Lepidopteran Pest Monitoring

Light traps are widely used for monitoring moth pests in agricultural crops. They consist of four metal baffles with a fluorescent black light bulb, ballast, and a metal cone that funnels captured moths into a killing agent-filled container. In North Carolina, they are operated from July to September. However, their current florescent light/ballast system is unreliable and they must be connected to a standard 120v plug, restricting trap placement. To improve monitoring outcomes, a more reliable and portable trap system is needed, allowing full exposure to moths in wide-open agricultural areas.


Principle Investigators

Rachana Gupta
Jeremy Edmondson

More Details

Light traps are an important monitoring tool for moth pests of agricultural crops worldwide. These systems are composed of four metal baffles that house a fluorescent black light bulb and ballast. Below the baffles is a metal cone facing downward into a metal container to catch moths (typically containing a killing agent). In North Carolina, these traps are operated continuously to capture several species of economically important agricultural moth pests from July to September Each morning researchers empty the bottom of the trap and count the moths. The problem with this system is twofold: 1) current traps use a florescent light/ballast system that is not durable, 2) traps require access to a standard 120v plug which limits the location of traps. These two issues are related to inconsistent trapping and poor trap placement that reduce exposure to moths. An ideal system would be portable and could be placed in wide-open agricultural areas with full exposure.