Friday, August 15, 2008

Pheromone traps for cucurbits

Indiscriminate use of chemical pesticides has done more harm than good in recent times. The toxic residue found in vegetables these days have reached alarming proportions. Therefore an alternate to using harmful chemicals was needed. The use of pheromone traps in controlling the most destructive Daucus dorsalis and Cucurbitae flies in gourds has been beneficial to farmers both in terms of cost effectiveness & zero chemical usage.

a typical pheromone trap

Following are the methods in the use of pheromone traps


· Pheromone lure provided by the horticulture expert

· Bait buckets with openings and cover

· Sugar solution and pure water

· Rope to tie

· Pole or support to hang the bucket

The lures can sometimes come in 3 forms. Either in the form of a lure plug, or liquid in small plastic sachets, or solid embedded with pheromone in plastic sachets.


Open the protective cover of the pheromone lure, & place them in the specialized buckets provided to catch the pest.

The bucket must be filled with water & sugar solution to half its full capacity making sure that the lure does not come into contact with the water

trap bait bucket suspended using support

The cover of the bucket has a hook to which the lure is suspended.

The bucket is placed at strategic points in the vegetable field, or where pest incidence is highest.

The bucket can be tied to a movable pole with rope or can be suspended in the air , or at times can be kept at ground level in case of gourds whose vines run on land ex. Pumpkins, ash gourds, bottle gourds etc

pest of cucurbits

dorsalis has a sting which it uses to bore the tender fruits. cucurbitae does not have sting

Results can be seen in a few hours or sometimes even in a few minutes.

The pheromones attract the pest, which enters the bucket thru the openings. Once it enters, it is highly attracted to the lure & will spend hours trying to figure out a way to get inside it.

Tired and intoxicated, the insect then gives up the effort & falls to the water below. Death to the insect is caused by drowning.

pest attracted to another type of lure. pheromone plug

Some pheromones are pre treated with certain chemicals which intoxicate the pests when it comes in contact. The intoxicated insect falls in the water & drowns.

The water in the buckets must be discarded & fresh water must be added every week. This is done to prevent the water from becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Also the under side of the bucket cover becomes hosts to spiders & even that must be cleaned.

the pest attracted to lure

This is the most effective method to control large areas of vegetable patches & requires absolutely no usage of harmful chemicals. Each pheromone trap can cover up to 2 acres & the effectiveness of the lure lasts for approximately 2 to 4 months.

The pheromone lures should not be subject to high temperatures or the effectiveness is greatly reduced. In such places, shade must be provided to the lures.

click link below to watch the video below. press the play button

Photos and content by Pritham 'Heavy metal farmer' denzil dsouza


  1. hello Pritham,
    i have just visited your site and find it fascinating as i am planning to retire soon and would like to go in for agriculture, organic is the best way i am convinced. where can i get these pheromone traps and buckets, i am from Mangalore,
    best regards
    jayant bhat

  2. Hello,
    I also find your site fascinating, I keep trying to check you videos out put they are all private.. But still lots of wonderful information.
    Thank you so much for sharing..